The queues to charge the electric car fuel "autonomy anxiety"

The long lines of electric cars waiting their turn, with waits of more than two hours, to plug in at a Tesla supercharging point seen this Easter in Albacete or Cuenca are the worst propaganda for this emerging automotive sector.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
03 April 2024 Wednesday 10:21
6 Reads
The queues to charge the electric car fuel "autonomy anxiety"

The long lines of electric cars waiting their turn, with waits of more than two hours, to plug in at a Tesla supercharging point seen this Easter in Albacete or Cuenca are the worst propaganda for this emerging automotive sector. Mainly among those drivers prone to suffering from what is known as range anxiety, which is nothing other than the fear of running out of battery.

A fear, so the surveys say, expressed by many drivers when considering the transition to electric vehicles. Everything is based on a belief – still very widespread today, despite the advances of this industry – about a lack of charging points or the insufficient capacity of these batteries for long trips.

So those photos of cars, mostly Tesla brand, lined up single file and standing at those charging stations have done this business a disservice. These scenes went viral on social networks with messages that invited us to imagine those drivers stranded hours later on the road, in the middle of Easter, due to the impossibility of recharging their batteries.

And the obligatory question. Is there a general problem in the electric charging of these vehicles or are these photos just a reflection of a specific moment in a few days of high mobility?

The answers are disparate. If one pays attention to some messages – the most belligerent ones – published on the networks by drivers trapped in these stations, one might think that there are hundreds of charging points missing in Spain, that many poles at these stations are inoperative or that the power in those dispensers Electricity is usually less than that advertised at these stations, which prolongs the load.

On the contrary, the Business Association for the Development and Promotion of Electric Mobility (Aedive) states, when referring to what happened in Cuenca or Albacete, that "there has not been such a collapse due to lack of charging points, but rather a poor planning by some electric vehicle users, in a traffic operation on vacation, who insisted on going to recharge at a station that was saturated, with other high-power charging points nearby along the N- 3 and without queue problems.”

This is stated by the general director of this association, Arturo Pérez de Lucia, who does not hide his surprise (not to say anger) at this information that has spread through networks, “when the vehicle of the people who have complained (the majority are Tesla ) allows the driver to dynamically know the occupancy status of the supercharger network and therefore, he could know in advance of his arrival if the station was jammed and opt for another point.”

Gustavo Ruiz de Villa, industrial engineer, is one of those Tesla drivers who posted in X the photo that accompanies this information taken last Saturday at a station in Albacete.

He had to wait for that supercharge point to collapse. Ruiz de Villa stated yesterday to La Vanguardia that his intention in publishing that scene “was not to imply that there is chaos and general collapse when it comes to recharging the batteries,” as was implied in dozens of messages that later gave their opinion on those photos.

Yes, there were, this Easter, “specific problems at these stations in Cuenca and Albacete – he acknowledges – but that is not the norm.” This engineer wanted to alert Tesla that in these stations, already old, "these collapses can occur, if it is not guaranteed that all the poles work and that the charging power is not distributed between different electrical suppliers when they are all plugged in." And nothing more, he insists.

Ruiz de Villa is, however, more critical when denouncing that "at the moment there are charging points in Spain ready to operate, but they are not operational due to bureaucratic obstacles."

He repeats that the administrations, which so like to boast about this clean mobility, "have to guarantee after these announcements the greatest possible supply of charging points."

Regarding autonomy anxiety, this driver with 150,000 kilometers in Tesla in the last 7 years, does not deny that it exists, but assures that this “evil” is quickly cured when “the reliability of the batteries is checked and you learn to schedule recharges.” on long outings.” And he confesses that he would never “go back to the thermal car.”

Arturo Pérez de Lucia states on this topic that “the biggest problem in Spain, around electric mobility, is not autonomy anxiety, but rather ignorance and misinformation around the reality of the electric vehicle and its ecosystem.” There, he acknowledges, there is still a lot of work to be done.

And regarding the queues that could also be generated by an offer at a specific point with reductions in the cost of electricity, the general director of Aedive recalls that "this also happens at gas stations, but these waits are not news."