DETROIT — Ryan Clary has piled nearly 15,000 miles on his 2021 Chevrolet Bolt in the nearly six months he's owned the battery-electric hatchback. He does all his charging at public stations since he doesn't have a charger at home in Macomb County, Mich.
Clary, who makes ends meet driving for DoorDash, says he's had no issues with using public chargers, hasn't been "ICEd out" by inconsiderate drivers of traditional vehicles and hasn't had technical problems that left his car without power. But as more electric vehicles take to the roads, Clary expects charging at a public station will become more hectic — and expensive.
"Right now, I can plug into a [free] public Level 2 charger and it doesn't cost me anything. But it's going to become more difficult," Clary says as he removes the plug from the Bolt at a public charging station in a shopping center parking lot in Roseville, Mich., a Detroit suburb.
In 41 minutes, the driving range in Clary's Bolt increased from 46 miles to 200 for a cost of $13.48 at a Level 3 charger. He said when his range gets down to about 50 miles, he looks for a charging station.
If you camp out in front of public chargers for about eight hours over several days as I did this month, you'll see that in America today, where patience, understanding, tolerance, courtesy and kindness are often in short supply, public charging stations could become real hot spots — if they are not used properly.