Technological advancement is shooting us in the foot.
We live in a highly globalized world where technology ties entire economies and societies together. This interconnectedness has allowed humankind to flourish in ways we never thought possible, but as the rate of advancement increases, some critical systems and infrastructure are being left vulnerable. Most major 3G cellular networks are being shut down in 2022; while to many this might not seem like a big deal, it turns out that 3G networks play a critical role in the running of EV charging stations across the country, and some of the first fatalities have already started to surface.
America's EV charging network is currently experiencing a boom with GM is investing billions in its EV conquest and others following suit. But as providers start cutting down 3G networks to make way for more 5G fun, some charging stations are going offline, leaving many motorists stranded.
We already know that the looming 3G extinction will affect older model cars with internet connectivity such as the Toyota 4Runner, Audi Q3, and Porsche 911, but newer cars are also at risk. For EV drivers, this technical issue can affect their charging experience in numerous ways.
Affected charging stations can fail to accept credit cards, provide charging information and statistics, link user accounts, and could even disappear off of charging network maps, basically turning into ghosts.
Affected companies like ChargePoint are combating the death of 3G with modem upgrade kits that will convert its charging stations from 3G to 4G, but have declined to say how much it would cost. According to The Drive, Blink has also stated that it's working on upgrading its units and will be focusing on high-traffic stations first.
"Very few Blink chargers have been impacted due to the 3G service discontinuation. L2 chargers that have been deployed between 2019 and 2021 will be impacted and represent the chargers in need of upgraded equipment. All new charging stations that are currently being distributed are already 4G LTE compatible." Blink told the publication. Worryingly, Tesla, which operates the majority of DC fast chargers in the US, and sells popular EVs such as the Model 3, has not made any comment regarding the issue. Verizon will be the last provider to cut off its 3G network (by the end of 2022) with most others cutting ties by mid-year.