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Electric Vehicles

When EVs Die in the Wild (And Trust Us They Will)

Broken charging stations across the US mean plenty of first-time electric car drivers will be stranded with an empty battery. Here’s how to get moving again.

Electric car drivers at a charging station in Los Angeles, California.

Electric car drivers at a charging station in Los Angeles, California.

Photographer: Dania Maxwell/Bloomberg
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The range anxiety didn’t start until I pulled up to the charging station.

I had made it to the bank of hoses with about 15 miles to spare, but three of the six units weren’t working and a Nissan Leaf owner at the fourth slot was on the phone with the station’s customer service, looking far from cheerful. With my two small kids in the back, I dipped a credit card and pulled it out sopping wet — no dice. My mind frantically calculated contingencies like a Garmin on the fritz until I updated an app and was able to pay through the iPhone. With the hum of electrons zipping through the chord, my heartbeat returned to steady-state. Crisis averted.