- CNBC reporter Brian Sullivan said he faced several difficulties charging his EV on his road trip.
- Charging times took longer than he expected and the California heat took a toll on his car’s range.
- Sullivan’s report comes just a week after another driver faced difficulties charging a Mach-E during a trip.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Electric cars may be the future of transportation, but they may not be the best option for a road trip quite yet.
During a trip across California, CNBC news anchor Brian Sullivan found that long trips can become even more complicated when driving an electric car – in particular, one that isn’t a Tesla.
Sullivan took a Volvo Polestar electric car from Mountain Pass, California near the border of Nevada to San Francisco. In his interview, the news anchor detailed moments when the charging process took longer than he expected and the California mountains and heat put extra pressure on the battery’s range.
“On a road trip of more than 200 miles you are going to have to stop,” Sullivan said. “You may have to stop in an area that you don’t want to stop, where there’s not much to do, where the chargers are not as fast as advertised.”
Ultimately, Sullivan said he found that Tesla owners possess an advantage over other electric car drivers when it comes to charging infrastructure and taking longer road trips.
His experience comes just a week after another reporter came to a similar conclusion. Axios editor Dan Primack said he faced several difficulties during a recent trip from Boston to New York City – even having to stop four times to find a usable charging station for his Ford Mustang Mach-E.
While Primack struggled to find a non-Tesla charging station that could work with his Mach-E, Sullivan found that not only are Tesla stations more prevalent, they are often faster and afford drivers more comfort.
He pointed to the Tesla stations on the other side of the gas station. From his vantage point, the grass was greener on the other side where Tesla drivers relaxed under a solar roof and waited only 15 minutes for a full charge.
“On our trip we would have killed for air conditioning,” Sullivan said, explaining how he waited for 40 mins in triple-digit heat for the car to recharge.
Tesla stations can also provide more opportunities for entertainment. Some Tesla charging stations include lounges with coffee bars, vending machines, and Tesla merchandise. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has even considered building a charging station with a restaurant attached.
Ultimately, Sullivan said the best way to help drivers make the switch to electric cars is to turn stations into destinations.
“It’s actually a better real-estate play,” Sullivan said. “Give people a place to stop, shop. Give them something to do.”
Charging wait times and range anxiety pose a major hurdle to EV adoption
Increasing the US network of charging stations is a top priority in President Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill, which sets aside billions of dollars for EV charging.
As of February, there were just under 100,000 electric-car charging stations in the US, said a report from I. Wagner, a researcher on traffic and motor-vehicle manufacturing. To date, Tesla supercharging stations alone account for over 25,000 stations, data from the company’s website indicated. While regular Tesla stations can be used with non-Tesla EVs through a special adapter, supercharging stations are not yet compatible with other electric cars.
Musk tweeted earlier in July that he plans to make Tesla’s entire charging network accessible to all EV drivers by the end of the year. But, he said during the company’s earnings call last month that non-Tesla drivers will have to pay extra to use the company’s supercharging network.
For now, the two reporter’s stories reveal a major gap between Tesla and automakers like Ford and General Motors that are only beginning to catch up to the electric carmaker.