Electrify America Signs Deal For “Interoperable” EV Charging

OCT 18 2018 BY BRADLEY BERMAN 82

Throw away all your EV charging network cards. The new thing is “interoperability.”

Electrify America, the Volkswagen subsidiary, announced today that it signed a deal that effectively creates a combined network of 12,500 interoperable electric car charging stations. The term “interoperable” doesn’t exactly roll off your tongue, but it’s critical to transforming today’s patchwork of charging companies into a unified, refueling system that can be accessed by all EV drivers. The new interconnected network of chargers located at shopping centers, convenience stores, and workplaces will come online on June 30, 2019.

Based on the new agreement, future Electrify America customers will be able to charge their electric vehicles at stations operated by EV Connect, Greenlots, and SemaConnect. “EV customers are the big winners with these network interoperability agreements,” said Brendan, Jones, chief operating officer at Electrify America. “Drivers will now be able to roam between charging networks without the need for additional cards or accounts.” Electrify America, which is investing $2 billion in EV infrastructure and education in the next 10 years, wants EV drivers to have ready and easy access to refueling—just like today’s drivers of gas-powered cars enjoy.

“Greenlots has long been a leading advocate for interoperability and open standards for EV charging,” said Brett Hauser, CEO of Greenlots. “Agreements like this one bolster the national effort to deploy coast-to-coast charging infrastructure, making it easier for drivers to easily charge when and where they need.”

“Interoperability means EV Connect and Electrify America customers will gain access to thousands more EV charging stations nationwide,” said Jordan Ramer, chief executive of EV Connect.

Electrify America plans to install more than 2,000 of its own chargers across the US by the end of 2019. The stations will use multiple cords accommodating various charging standards. Electrify America is also leading the effort to install 350-kW chargers capable of adding 200 or miles of range in about 15 minutes.

Fast and ubiquitous highway-based EV charging has mostly been the province of Teslas and its Superchargers. But Electrify America’s efforts, in concert with partner charging networks, promise to make long-distance EV road trips accessible to anybody that wants to make an electric pit stop and keep moving down the highway.

Categories: Charging, Volkswagen

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82 Comments on "Electrify America Signs Deal For “Interoperable” EV Charging"

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garrity

Why can’t they all just use a credit card at the point of sale?

Zachary Hafen

That would be so nice. I’d even cover the merchant fee of 2% or whatever it ends up being.

Mark

You can at ev go chargers

darth

I have not seen that in Virginia. I always use my RFID card. Where do you see these EvGO chargers that take credit cards?

DaveinOlyWA

Only the newer ones installed in the past year take CCs but they are all over the place in my area

Michael

I don’t know how common this is, but ChargePoint stations can take up to a minute or more to validate a credit card. Even when charging is free. But they open almost immediately with the ChargePoint RFID card.

I thought that was how the Electrify America chargers worked (credit cards), so I’m a bit confused about this whole agreement.

Do Not Read Between The Line

I believe they’re starting with credit cards only, and are going to figure out plans later.

Will

They do on the EA. Are you paying attention?

Do Not Read Between The Line

The comment was about charging networks in general.

Do Not Read Between The Line

Because credit cards are an expensive way of paying for something for which you don’t need to borrow money, especially for small transactions.
Also, the economics of charging are such that PAYG isn’t a good model. Realistically they’re going to want you to have a monthly subscription and then pay a lower amount per use, like cellphone networks.

earl colby pottinger

On the other hand my VISA credit/debt card works in Canada, USA, Mexico, Jamaica, Bahamas, and all the Caribbean islands I visit when cruising … etc. I also assume it will work in Britain and Europe. When one is travelling you do not want to need more than one card for each location you stop.

Anyone who has to drive a long distance does not want multiple cards to do the journey.

Honestly, it’d be nice if they could work something out with EZPass. For EZPass tag holders, that’d really be the way to go for convenience without credit card transaction fees, while avoiding yet another card to carry around.

Elemental

It would be great to have an article on the current charging standards and vehicle compatibility. For example, could someone with a Tesla use this combined network also? What adapters or other things would be needed? Typical charging rates and costs, etc.

menorman

They’d need the CHAdeMO adapter and a Greenlots account.

Jim stack

E there are 3 standards for fast charging. They are not inter comparable with one adapter to let a Tesla use the Chademo.
So we have the Chademo like the Nissan LEAF uses.
The CCS COMBO connector like BMW, Chevy and others use.
The Tesla UMC that only they use so far.
Also a fast charge port is an option on many electrics like the Chevy Bolt and older LEAF.
So far plug in hybrids don’t have a fast charge port.
I told electrify america to place at least 2 Level 2 J-1772 universal ports since all plugin cars can use them. Its takes a little time but some are not in a big hurry. This would help plugin hybrids and all full electrics. They have ignored me so far. Very sad.

Tim E

If you drive a PHEV, you should only use home charging, and perhaps destination charging. Otherwise, stay out of the way of the real EV’s please.

Mark

Like posted below tesla model s and x can use a chademo adapter to use the plug the Nissan Leaf , Kia Soul ev And Mitsubishi my ev use.
The plug in hybrid outlander can use chademo.
The model 3 doesn’t have a adapter yet so they can only use the tesla super charger network or the slower 240 volt charging with j 1772 adapter. Me personally I wish tesla owners would stay on there own network. All I hear on YouTube is how great the supercharger network is. They can use that and let other ev’s who can’t use it use electrify America .i hate when I see on plug share tesla owners using non tesla chargers or complaining that they are slow when they have their own network to go across country.

Cypress

Don’t mind if Tesla drivers use non-Tesla chargers. Just hate when they take up a charging spot and don’t plug in. Been blocked at least three times now by Tesla drivers.

darth

Agree. It is always annoying to see an EV parked in a charging spot that is not plugged in. Especially if you really need to charge. This is why I think they should put EV L2 spaces away from the buildings, so people won’t just park there for convenience. An empty space right in front of a busy building is going to attract someone to park in it and block the plug.

DDB

Absolutely. Even at the gym, people are programmed to find the closest parking space before they go on to get their excercise. It’d be a good idea arm up to walk a bit, first 🙄

Do Not Read Between The Line

I’m only voting it down because that behavior is seen by drivers of all kinds of vehicles.

Windbourne

yes. We all expect it by ICE drivers. BUT, we see it in other EV drivers as well and it IS frustrating.

Windbourne

sorry to hear that. We hate it when we are ICEd, or get other EVs in our spots. I am amazed that anybody would pull the same BS on you.

Texas Leaf

Where did that map come from?

Warren

Whew! For a second I thought it said “a deal for inoperable EV charging.” 🙂

Seriously though, this is a step in the right direction.

Kosh

How about one plug standard? That would be nice too……

Nicholas

There is a charger standard today.

Cypress

Several.

David

Closest thing to a standard is Tesla plug. If only other car makers would get it together and use the same thing. The other DC plugs are DOA – giant, messy, poorly designed.

Magnus H

Tesla is the world’s fourth in number of installed chargers. It is also the plug with least power capabilities.

darth

Does it matter if the plug is rated higher if it is being fed by a 50KW DCFC unit? At least Tesla Superchargers are typically 120KW.

Neromanceres

Almost all of the Electrify America stations will be 150KW/350KW. Sites will have a combination of both.

ga2500ev

Actually 175 kW as all their stations charge at a max amperage of 350 amps. The 175 kW chargers have a max voltage of 500 volts while the 350 kW ones have a max voltage of 1000 volts. Of course since no EV even approaches those maximum voltages, not will ever charge at the nameplate rating.

ga2500ev

deine Mutter

Nope. All of those chargers go up to 900 something volt, they are CCS rev. 2.0 compliant.

ga2500ev

So that begs a cruicial question then. Stations are labeled by kW based on maximum amperage and maximum voltage. Until CCS rev 2.0 the maximum voltage was 500-volts. As of v2.0 it is now 1000. So the 350 kW charger can deliver up to 350 amp into a 1000V battery. Note no such battery actually exists. So if the 175 kW stations can go up to 1000V then does that mean the maximum amperage is 175 amps? Or is my expectation that the 175 kW charger being 350 amps with a maximum of 500V accurate.

I spent a while digging around for specifications, labels, or a video showing the charge. The problem of course is that virtually no one accepts charges at more than 200 amps. So there’s no clear indicator what the maximum amperage of the 175 kW stations actually are.

ga2500ev

Windbourne

Actually, Tesla has the best spread of chargers in the world. For example, Tesla is the ONLY vehicle that can go across America. No other EV can, without dropping multiple times to level 2.
Same with Europe. Tesla is far better spread out than is CCS/Chademo.
And how many plugs out there have more than 130 KW of power? Yeah. Exactly.
Within the next year, Tesla will have an extension to theirs that will allow for much higher power, though I suspect that it will be more for the trucks. Basically, I would expect more plugs and keep it in the same power level of 130 KW / line.

Spider-Dan

Tesla’s connector is the opposite of a standard: it is proprietary and Tesla owns the IP. Any automaker who chose to use it would then be put in a position where any conflict with Tesla (say, over other IP) means they have to drop their charger.

“Standard” does not mean “the version I think is the best“; it means “the version with the widest industry acceptance.” And only one company in the world uses the Tesla connector.

Windbourne

Tesla was out long before the others and has been offered freely.

reader

Wrong. Chademo 50kW standard was out already in 2009 when Leaf and Miev and Subaru Stella were launched

ga2500ev

There’s nothing “free” about the offer. Telsa hasn’t offered any charging directly to non Tesla consumers. Telsa requires a minimum charging specification, licensing fees, and continued Tesla branding of stations to non-Tesla manufacturers. Telsa will require that anyone that joins their network to change plugs so that those cars will no longer be able to charge at any other type of station. In short it’s a complete walled garden monopoly.

So to say that any of their offer is “free” is patently ridiculous.

ga2500ev

Bla blubb

CCS is the standard in Europe, but Tesla and Chademo are also used. Most new stations have CCS and Chademo. Chademo is the standard in Japan. The US has no standard, but the same three systems are used (although North America decided on a different CCS plug than the rest of the world). Most new manufacturers offer CCS, with the Japanese sticking to Chademo.

eject

No. Most new stations have only CCS in Europe and the US. At EA stations Chademo makes up for 12% of outlets. At FastNed 10-20% (declining) of outlets and at Ionity 0% of outlets.

Bla blubb

Mea culpa, i did not know about Ionity. But otherwise most still offer at least one outlet. I did not want to imply there was equal numbers.

Fred

How many of those CCS stations are often inoperable? A situation that’s rampant here in Central VA.

eject

None of the for profit ones are inoperable here.

Neromanceres

This isn’t totally true. Only the Nissan alliance is using CHAdeMO in North America. Even Honda is using CCS in North America.

eject

Just make sure you buy the dominant plug in your region.

ricegf

After more than a century, we still have 4 and sometimes more choices at the gas /diesel pump. But the US is already down to just two EV fast charge standards (plus Tesla’s proprietary plug), CCS and CHAdeMO, and a universal destination standard that’s also CCS compliant.

It seems likely at this point that the Western world will consolidate to CCS for all charging. China and Japan plan to consolidate CHAdeMO and the Chinese standard into one standard Asia-wide. Tesla has joined the CCS standards body, CharIn.

Consolidation is happening naturally as the tech matures. So as long as you don’t drive between continents, and the trend for dual CCS /CHAdeMo fast chargers continues in the US, you shouldn’t have interoperability problems.

Do Not Read Between The Line

It doesn’t matter to a manufacturer that plans to make lots of BEVs, because the network growth will match the cars sold.
But if you’re a manufacturer only planning to make as many BEVs as necessary to meet ZEV and efficiency mandates, a common standard is great, because your cars will have a network that doesn’t suck and you won’t have to pile as much on the rebates.

Neromanceres

There basically is one plug standard in North America and Europe. Only Tesla with the UMC and the Nissan Alliance (Nissan, Renault, Infinity, Mitsubishi) will be using CHAdeMO. Everybody else will be using CCS moving forward (even Kia).

Spider-Dan

It’s true that there is “one standard” in NA and “one standard” in EU, but they aren’t the same standard. NA uses J1772 CCS and EU uses Type 2 Mennekes CCS.

JakeY

I thought they were talking about consolidating the connector standards. But this is welcome too.

Mark

They are putting in combo chargers like we have now with both chademo and ccs combo.
We can’t have one because the older cars wouldn’t be able to charge without paying to get a new charge port. Chademo can also do vehicle to grid were you can use your car Nissan Leaf to power your house with the right equipment .
Ccs can’t. Do that. We are spending a lot on combo chargers to go to 1 type right now many once more new cars that come out.

Nicholas

Hoping they put them at parks and positive places to linger vs Walmart parking lots. Have you seen the crime reports there? 🌞

ga2500ev

Have to disagree here. Walmart parking lots are ideal places to spend 20 to 30 minutes. One can pop in, use the facilities, grab a snack or other essentials, check out, and be back to a vehicle that’s ready to move on. I’d rather be in a Walmart parking lot at 11:30 PM than some out of the way park.

ga2500ev

earl colby pottinger

I can say all sorts of bad things about Walmart – but I have never seen one that does not have a well lighted parking lot.

Ontario Canada, Quebec Canada, Tennessee USA, Georgia USA, Florida USA every single one has well lighted parking lots. And 24 hours stores to buy stuff and use their washrooms.

Rolando

Would be nice the “interoperability” would be also done in Europe, where a Babylonian billing/accounting system require to drive around with dozens of cards and apps from dozen of different providers and sometimes even EV professionals are stuck at a charger who doesn’t accept various cards.

Best would be the VW-group system which Audi announced: the E-Tron communicate with the chargers billing system, no need for any cards or apps and just plug in.

eject

From next year a credit card is all you need by law.

Dan

Are they playing tricks again? I want to see them building new stations instead of signing agreements to use other people’s stations!

Doug B

A new EA station is nearly complete here in Colorado Springs, so don’t worry, they are moving on it as quick as permitting and contractual agreements can be put in place.

Dimitrij

“They” are not going to be using other people’s stations; but me an you (if you drive an EV, that is) would be able to.

Fred

I’m not sure why your comment got so many thumbs down? Probably from die-hard ICErs. I’m much more concerned about having more stations available versus the need to use a card or not. That and the station being operable versus inoperable.

Nono13

Why can’t they do both ?

Cypress

I feel bad for ChargePoint. They seem to be gettting screwed in this EA deal.

yo

NO ONE is stopping ChargePoint from building out their network…
They just don’t have the financial backing at this point because it is not seen as profitable by investors…
Or profitable in everyday reality…

eject

How?
The only way someone could screw with them is to build charging stations right where they build them and let people charge for less. This is the opposite, they share customers at different sites.

Ronald

Believe me, don’t feel bad for ChargePoint. They have a reputation for not playing nice with other companies in this sphere.

Doug

You could be correct, but two points to consider.

1) Both the EV and EV charging industry are still so nascent, that there should still be a mentality of “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Meaning more charging networks -> more chargers -> more EVs purchased -> more EVs driven -> better outcomes for everyone.

2) I wouldn’t consider EA and Chargepoint to be direct competitors. Based on their website, the vast majority of Chargepoint’s chargers are L2 while the vast majority of EA’s are supposed to be DC Fast. Two pretty different use cases, pricing structures, business models, etc.

Andreas-Michael Reinhardt

Congrats Electrify America. Exactly the right Initiative at right time to allow and support seamless EMobility and overcoming any frontiers

whereismycoffee

Why not just tie an account to your car instead of requiring a card? Just plug in and start charging.

Doug

Very good point. I would assume that the industry is generally heading in the direction of “plug and charge.” I don’t think the technology to do so would be that complex. What would be more complex, and probably the cause of the delay, is being able to coordinate this type of standard solution across all the different charging networks and car manufacturers. It just takes time for a common standard to be hashed out and agreed upon and then implemented in upcoming vehicles. However, I would not be at all surprised if this standard is already deep in development. Hopefully we see it in the next few years.

Doug

This is great news for all non-Tesla EV drivers. Makes charging more frictionless for all of us. I think its a very positive sign that all of these charging entities were able to ink a mutual agreement that benefits the whole industry.

-Also, for someone who asked below, I believe that Electrify America chargers also have credit card readers. See the article below. So this interoperability agreement would be mainly beneficial if you are on some type of charging plan/subscription.
https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1116550_electrify-america-switches-on-the-first-350-kw-fast-charging-station-in-chicopee-mass

This news also makes me wonder whether smaller charging networks will eventually consolidate around Electrify America given its inevitable massive scale (assuming execution on plans), brand neutrality (chargers have to serve all OEM brands given dieselgate outcome), and the obvious benefits of charging network consolidation for EV drivers. To me, it would seem natural for these smaller networks to rally behind a bigger player. But maybe I am wrong about that. Maybe Electrify America won’t be an industry leader given VW affiliation and EVgo is a more obvious outcome? Or maybe with these type of interoperability agreements and aggregation tools like PlugShare, there really won’t be an incentive for charging networks to consolidate any further? What do you guys think?

Windbourne

Electrify America is a joke.
If they were for real, they would run up into the Dakotas. There is NOTHING up there so to speak.

In fact, only Tesla is putting chargers up there.
IF yellowstone blows, any none-tesla EVs are screwed. By end of year, Tesla will be in good shape.

ga2500ev

I take it that you didn’t read Electrify America National Cycle 1 infrastructure plan. In there they explain why stations were located where they are sighted for the first cycle. There are no plans to site any stations in Alabama in the first cycle either. Just because they are not placing stations in places where they are least likely to be used doesn’t mean that they are not serious.

Tesla has been putting up SuperChargers since 2013. It’s now 5 years later. How long did it take them to start putting up SuperChargers in the Dakotas?

ga2500ev

Andy

And even after those 5 years the superchargers in Montana are still “coming soon”, which means a Tesla would be as useless for me going south as any other EV.

Unfortunately there’s still a ways to go for any network up in those northern states and Canada unless you live in specific spots.

vdiv

Montana has eight open Supercharger locations. First one opened on July 23, 2014 in Billings, MT with five other locations following the same year. You know what people in Australia did? They didn’t wait on some network to show up, they deployed their own charging stations allowing them to circumnavigate the continent.

vdiv

The Supercharger in Rapid City, SD was opened on November 25, 2013, about a year after Tesla started deploying Superchargers. Mitchell, SD opened on December 18, followed by Murdo, SD on December 31 of the same year.

ga2500ev

Of course you failed to mention that as of this moment, North Dakota still has exactly zero Superchargers. So as the OP pointed out, Tesla must be a joke too.

Point is that just because everything isn’t deployed everywhere immediately, doesn’t mean that the effort isn’t serious. EA is trying to create several usable east/west charging corridors before expanding the network out. If your goal was to complete 150 stations in the first 2.5 years, would placing some of them in the Dakotas really be the highest priority?

ga2500ev

vdiv

You asked how long it took Tesla to deploy Superchargers in the Dakotas and I answered, about a year after they started deploying them.
There are permits for three supercharger locations in ND that we currently know of, and Tesla has disclosed plans for six locations in the state.

ga2500ev

I guess you are deliberately deciding to miss the point. It’s been 5 years and Tesla still has missing spots for Superchargers. Yet because EA hasn’t deployed in out of the way spots in the first year, according to the OP they are “a joke”. The point isn’t whether or not stations for Tesla are planned. It’s the fact that not even Tesla deployed them everywhere all at once or even now with a 5 year head start.

I’m not bashing Tesla or their SC network. It’s an impressive achievement. Just pointing out that just because it wasn’t dropped wholesale across the entire country all at once doesn’t mean that it wasn’t, or isn’t, a serious effort. EA should be afforded the same courtesy. See where they are in terms of deployment at the end of cycle 2 December 2021 (5 years and halfway through their allocation), then decide how serious they actually are.

ga2500ev

Dan

Who cares! It’s not economical to charge outside of your house period!