Depending on how you look at it, or who is with you, this could either be a win, or a big problem for electric vehicle owners. Either way, a certain EV charging station was recently hacked. The hackers removed the content shown and replaced it with porn. No, we’re not kidding.
This happened on the Isle of Wight, a resort island off the coast of the U.K. The local City Council provided videos promoting the island for visitors charging their EVs. It’s a good idea, as long as the service is secure. As you can tell, it wasn’t.
Why was this charging station showing porn?
The issue was first reported to the Isle of Wight County Press newspaper on Sunday. Press staff contacted the council about the problem. It responded with, “We are saddened to learn a third-party web address displayed on our electric vehicle signage appears to have been hacked. The council would like to apologize to anyone who may have found the inappropriate web content and for any inconvenience from charge points out of action.”
The charging stations use chargers from the GeniePoint network, which covers much of the U.K. It is notoriously known for not having functional chargers. Worse, some EV owners experience high voltage fault codes, prompting their car’s charging system to shut down. This invariably leaves them stranded at the charging station.
Are charging stations easy to use?
Others find that certain charge cards that work at non-GeniePoint locations can’t be used with GeniePoint chargers. So the UK seems to have reliability issues aplenty with GeniePoint chargers. What are EV owners complaining about charging at stations in the U.S.?
It varies, depending on your needs, but EV drivers face a multitude of charging issues at public charge stations. One complaint is the multitude of apps necessary to use different charging stations. Because many charging points don’t accept credit cards, apps are the method for charging. While everyone loves the convenience of pulling up to a gas station, inserting your credit card, and pumping gas, it is not always that easy when it comes to EV charging.
If you only use one network’s chargers, then there usually isn’t a problem. But once you venture out to use other networks, you first need the network’s app. If you don’t have it, you must apply for it, which adds extra time.
Do charging stations have other problems?
Another problem is that not all charging stations have clear pricing. But the U.S. is making federal funding for new charging stations available only when a per-kWh price is displayed, according to Green Car Reports.
Then there is the availability of fast chargers. Most EV owners have faced a charging station with only Level 2 chargers, which are slower. Level 2 charging typically requires an hour per 20-25 mile charge. Direct Current Fast Charging (DCFC) can typically charge up to 80 percent in 30 minutes.
President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework
Some of this is being worked out from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF). It has granted almost $8 billion exclusively to build out the EV charging infrastructure in the U.S. But, as with anything this large and complex, it will take time.
Right now there are over 51,000 public EV charging stations in the U.S. The country is shooting for one million by 2030. Before this gets sorted there are many miles to travel. At least one charging station on the Isle of Wight is offering something entertaining for some, and highly offensive to others.