EV charger reliability has a lot of room for improvement. A good place to start is uniform error codes.

That’s the conclusion of the Charge X Consortium, launched by the federal government in 2023 to tackle EV charger reliability as the Biden administration rolls out a planned $7.5 billion charging network. It recently released a report recommending 26 common charger error codes, aimed at faster reporting and resolution of charger malfunctions.

The Charge X Consortium is led by U.S. DOE laboratories, such as Argonne National Laboratory, Idaho National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, collaborating automakers, charging networks, hardware makers, public utilities, and tech firms.

GM and Pilot Company’s EV charging network

In the report, Charge X notes that automakers, manufacturers of charging hardware, and charging networks currently use different messages to report similar errors. This creates added confusion and complication when trying to diagnosis faults.

The report follows a previous paper on minimum required error codes was released in September. Charge X has also published an implementation guide aimed at making the adoption of uniform error codes happen as quickly as possible.

The recommendations on error reporting come as the first stations funded through the Biden administration’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program come online. The first station is now up and running in Ohio, with more expected in that state and others in the coming months.

Mercedes-Benz EV Charging Hub in Sandy Springs, Georgia

Mercedes-Benz EV Charging Hub in Sandy Springs, Georgia

Meanwhile, there’s lots of work to be done to keep existing and new chargers reliable. A study last year of fast-chargers in California found poor reliability and many “nonfunctioning.” And this August J.D. Power released a study finding that one in five public charging attempts fails.

Separately, the federal government has freed up $100 million to replace unreliable EV chargers that are already installed. Perhaps the replacements will be following this more straightforward error reporting.