InvestigateTV - Season 3; Episode 1

(InvestigateTV) — This Week on InvestigateTV: More and more electric vehicles are hitting the road, but the critical charging stations they need to keep moving aren’t available everywhere. The Biden Administration is working to fix the problem, but until more stations are built, Joce Sterman discovered drivers in many parts of the country may find themselves in a charging desert. Plus, federal law enforcement warns car rental smuggling cases are on the rise. WHERE TO WATCH ICYMI – Watch last week’s episode.

Electric Desert: More and more electric vehicles are hitting the road, and the Biden Administration is pouring major money into making the entire federal fleet green. But the push toward EVs has one major problem – a shortage of PUBLIC charging stations across the nation. Experts say there are currently about 48,000 charging stations nationwide, but MOST are located in large cities so there are “charging deserts” that exist in many places (rural areas, western states are particularly problematic). Even if you can find a station – less than 10% of them are the kind that charge your battery in minutes rather than hours, and consumers often find broken equipment when they pull up. The fear of running too low on charge while driving even has a name “range anxiety”. States now have access to billions in federal funding to get stations built, but the process is slow and failing to keep up with demand. Even the feds themselves are falling down on the job with this – with only 4,000 available charging ports spread across America. For example - DC, which has more federal cars than anywhere else, has only 110 charging ports total! We talk to a driver who got caught in a charging desert and a member of Congress about what can be done.

Upper Michigan Lacks Charging Stations: While smaller communities await federal funding earmarked for charging stations, some business owners who rely on tourist travel have taken the matter into their own hands.

Trucks Create Hazards Parking on Ramps: Drivers of trucks parked along highway on and off ramps are likely abiding by a federal law that limits how many hours they can be on the road before they need to rest. Electronic logging devices track their movements and send any violation directly to the feds. But when a truck stops where it shouldn’t, that safety stop becomes another hazard.

Car Rental Smuggling on the Rise: Peer-to-peer car sharing, where a person rents their car to another driver, has experienced rapid growth in recent years, with many using it as a way to make some extra cash. But federal law enforcement says that, while still rare, they’ve seen an increase in criminal organizations targeting these rental cars for illegal acts. We spoke with a man whose vehicle was impounded after it was allegedly used in a human trafficking incident.

Watching Your Wallet: Avoid Rental Fraud: 44% of people responding to a 2022 Dwellsy survey said they or someone they knew had personally lost money because of rental fraud. In this Watching Your Wallet, Consumer Investigator Rachel DePompa explains the steps to take to avoid a problem while trying to rent.