EVCS Charging Tehachapi: Not Ready for Prime Time

By Paul Gipe

While visiting Tehachapi, California I saw that the EVCS’ 50 kW DCFC Tritium dispensers were finally in service.

EVCS Tritium 50 kW DCFC dispenser in Tehachapi, California.
50 kW Tritium DCFC dispenser at the SureStay in Tehachapi, California.

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.

Faded pavement markings at recently opened EVCS DCFC station at SureStay in Tehachapi, California.

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.

EVCS credit card readers didnt’ work.

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.