The Garden State finally gets some Electrify America love
Well, it's about time! As a New Jersey resident, I was starting to really feel a bit left out. In fact, back in May, when Kia provided me with a Niro EV for an extended test drive review, I had to drive more than 100 miles from my home to Bloomsburg, PA just to reach the nearest Electrify America site from where I live in New Jersey.
The chargers are located in the parking lot of a Target store in Bridgewater, NJ, only about 15 miles from where I live. The location makes me wonder if maybe the EA folks grew tired of hearing me complain that there weren't any of their stations near me. However, in reality, I doubt they're really too concerned about my grievances.
I was alerted to the new site by an Electrify America tweet on July 17th that said: "We are excited to announce the opening of our first fast charging station in New Jersey. Come check it out @Target in Bridgewater." However, when I arrived a week later on July 24th, there was an electrical contractor's van parked in one of the spaces, as well as a Bridgewater Township vehicle parked next to the charging station spots.
As I attempted to plug my BMW i3s in, one of the men there asked what I was doing, and said the stations aren't open to the public yet. Turns out, he was the Bridgewater electrical inspector. He was there with the contractor that installed the stations, and they were doing the final inspection before the site was to be opened to the public.
After I gave him a look that implied "Seriously, you're not going to let me plug in", he said something to the effect of "Oh well, go ahead, I'm just about done anyway"
Now for the not-so-great-news. This site has three DC fast charge stations, all of them limited to 50 kW, and one level 2 station. I was under the impression that all EA sites along major corridors, which this one is, (it's right off rt 287) would have at least one station capable of delivering up to 350 kW.
That wasn't a problem for my i3 which can only accept 50 kW, but it will be a problem for owners of Audi e-Trons, Jaguar I-Paces and soon many other EVs capable of accepting much more than 50 kW. I'll reach out to Electrify America to try to get some clarity on why all of the stations at this site are limited to 50 kW.
I haven't signed up for one of EA's two plans yet, so I didn't have a discounted rate. There was a $1.00 session fee, plus the $.25 per minute for up to 75 kW of power delivery. I only charged for 11.36 minutes, so my total for the 8.1 kW I received was $4.16. That's actually more than it costs for gas in New Jersey.
However, I really don't have a big problem with EA's pricing policy in general, although I would prefer if they charged by the kWh instead of the time charging. Using a DC fast charge station should cost more than home charging. It's a convenience to be able to charge rapidly, plus the equipment has to paid for eventually. Charging has to be financially sustainable, or we'll never have enough public stations available.
While this is the first Electrify America site in New Jersey, thankfully it won't be the last. From what I understand, there's ten more sites already under development with a total of 59 stations at those locations. Hopefully, most of the sites will indeed have at least one high-speed 350 kW station available.