While visiting Tehachapi, California I saw that the EVCS’ 50 kW DCFC Tritium dispensers were finally in service.
First thing Saturday morning I drove down to the empty lot and plugged in. Twenty minutes later I started charging. Fortunately, it wasn’t windy, only a bit breezy by Tehachapi standards. The sun was comfortably warm—not hot and there was no diesel train thundering by on the nearby tracks so I could talk to Caroline in support relatively easily.
I didn’t need a charge. I wasn’t in a hurry. Pity those who are.
The site was first noted on PlugShare in April 2022. It finally came online sometime at the end of May 2023. It took almost a year for EVCS to put these dispensers in service.
I am not a newbie at charging or charging at EVCS. I checked previous PlugShare messages. I knew what to expect. I thought I could handle it. I was wrong.
The credit card readers didn’t work. The last time I used an EVCS in Grants Pass, Oregon I used the credit card reader. Since then I’d installed the app.
When the credit card readers didn’t work, I tried the app. The app didn’t seem to do anything. The QR code on the machine kept taking me to a page to sign up for a subscription that I certainly didn’t want.
I gave up and called support. Caroline picked up after a few seconds. She walked me through it. It took us two attempts before we began charging. Even though my credit card info was on file, I had to give it to her again.
Once I got back to the hotel I looked at the app carefully. Just as Caroline said there was a little lightning symbol at the bottom of the opening page. Intuitively, I clicked on the station symbol on the map and that kept taking me to a screen that did nothing. But if you click on that little symbol at the bottom of the page, it takes you to the charging screen.
I am glad EVCS got these chargers working; we need all the DCFC stations we can get. But EVCS system isn’t user friendly, and these Veefil kiosks are only 50 kW. It’s a small network and in Oregon they’ve had trouble keeping stations in service. There is a single dispenser in Brookings that hadn’t operated for over a year according to PlugShare entries.
In a sign of the times, two of the four dispensers had Tesla connectors. There were also two CCS and, in an odd twist, four CHAdeMO connectors. Why four CHAdeMO connectors is a mystery.
I went back a few days later. I plugged in and pulled up the app. I pressed the little lightning icon as instructed. It took me to the phone’s camera and I waved it at the station’s QR code. The phone picked up the code promptly and took me to the charging screen. I hit enter to begin charging and after what seemed like a long wait, the kiosk began charging my Bolt. So the app does work as intended. I wouldn’t have known that had I not talked to support.
Kudos to EVCS for getting these in the ground—and working, but from my limited experience, the network’s not ready for prime time.