‘Communication issue’ put Malta’s EV charging points out of action


Many on-street charging points for electric vehicles in Malta were offline earlier this month due to a “communication issue” with the charging infrastructure.

Electric car drivers were left frustrated as they found several charging points across the island offline. 

While the situation has been resolved, drivers took their complaints and queries to the Facebook public community group for electric vehicles, many being informed there was a technical issue from the internet supplier’s side. 

The public electric vehicle charging points fall under the responsibility of the Energy and Water Agency, and the electric vehicle branch of ctPark, ctCharge, supply charging solutions and products. 

There are currently around 372 points where drivers can charge their vehicles, and the charging stations are mapped on a mobile app called Charge my Ride. The government has been increasing electric vehicle charging stations to promote the use of electric vehicles. 

“What an utter disgrace, a whole weekend with all charging pillars in both islands offline,” one driver posted on Sunday.

Speaking to Times of Malta, the driver said it was his first time using a charging pillar as he usually charges his car at home.

On Saturday, he decided to charge his vehicle at the charging point at the Żurrieq car park, which on the app showed was available.

“Since it was the first time I used one of these pillars, I called the provider to lead me through the process. A customer care representative explained how to do so, and when I plugged the cable in my car to start charging, I immediately got an error on both the app and on my car.”

After flagging the issue, he was told all pillars in Malta were offline due to technical issues. Later in the day, the driver tried another charging pillar in Safi, and came across the same error.

“On Sunday, I went to Gozo and checked the Għajnsielem and Xlendi charging pillars, but both were down.”

Another driver posted on the group how he tried to charge four times in three different locations, and none worked. 

“When we called, they told us all system is down. We do understand that such things can happen but imagine all fuel stations in Malta are not able to provide fuel for one full day.”

Other drivers reported offline charging pillars in Santa Luċija, Attard, Balzan, and Mrieħel, while others said they faced no issues with the charging pillars. 

An Energy and Water Agency spokesperson said a technical issue on the EV public charging infrastructure connected to the app developed over the weekend, and the operator, ctPark, kicked off a fault-finding exercise.

“Initially, the fault affected all pillars, but with interventions, connectivity links started to be established over the weekend,” the spokesperson told Times of Malta.

“It was an issue with the communication channel between the charging units and the server managing the system.”

Each pillar is connected via a private network to a charging station management system. This system is the back end of a group of charging stations. The system automatically performs operational functions, such as user authentication, and the start and stop of a charging session, while the operator uses the back end to monitor and control the charging pillars from a central location.

Configuration changes were implemented and successfully tested so that the pillars were fully restored. Further tests were conducted on Tuesday to ensure all systems were back to normal.

The spokesperson said the government is investing in another 1,200 charging points across Malta and Gozo, with local councils having identified suitable EV charging sites, and the design and permitting processes are ongoing.


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