EVPassport, a new electric vehicle charging app, promises to deliver unlimited EV charging on a variety of different networks for only $39 per month. With the EVPassport app, EV drivers will have access to DC fast chargers across the Electrify America, EVgo, ChargePoint, and Greenlots networks.
Since those four networks currently control the loin's share of public charging infrastructure in the US, EVPassport's coverage will be impressive. In addition to the flat fee, EVPassport offers the convenience of interoperability. With EVPassport, there's no need to join those networks directly, which requires multiple apps and RFID cards. The EVPassport will be available this summer, however, you can join the wait list and signup now.
Just download the EVPassport and sign up, and you will soon have access to all four of those networks, as well as a few small west-coast-based networks. Initially, the EVPassport app will only be available on iOS,(iPhone) however, an Android app is also in development and should be available later this year.
EVPassport will offer members access to roughly 2,500 DC fast chargers in the US. The company has plans to add level 2 public chargers to its network sometime in early 2021, but for now, the access is limited to DC fast chargers. They also plan to expand their service to the European market, with a similar offering there as well.
EVPassport will be compatible with all Electrify America stations and the vast majority of EVgo stations. It will only work with about 50% of ChargePoint stations, and only with the recently installed Greenlots units. The problem with many of the ChargePoint and Greenlots stations is that they are old hardware, and aren't be compatible. However, all newly-installed stations are compatible and will work with EVPassport, unless they are privately-owned, as is the case with many auto-dealerships and the owner doesn't want the station to be used as a public charger.
"Minutes to Charge"
EVPassport aims to simplify EV charging by introducing the Minutes To Charge feature. Instead of the app showing how many kilowatts the DC fast charger can deliver, or what the cost per minute is, it displays how many minutes you'll need to charge based on your specific car.
I personally like this feature because it offers the customer a set time that they will need to charge in order to have enough "miles in the tank" to make their destination. This is a very important asset in my opinion. Many EV drivers, especially those new to EVs really don't know how long they need to charge when they stop at a DC Fast charger. The Minutes to Charge feature will take the guesswork out of the equation and simplify the task.
EVPassport is a collaboration between Recharge, and Smartcar, a connected car app company. I spoke to Aaron Fisher, Co-Founder of Recharge, and asked him if he was getting discounted rates from the networks as I struggled with how they could offer unlimited charging for only $39 per month. He told us that they are currently paying retail rates, but the hope is that in the future when they have many customers, they can negotiate better rates based on volume.
As for the monthly rate of only $39, there are some months when my Electrify America bill is well over $100.00, so how could they offer unlimited charging at such a low rate? Fisher reminded me that I'm not the average EV driver, since I often road-test many EVs each month, and in that he is correct. Fisher estimates that the average EVPassport user will likely use between $25 and $29 per month, but that they will use the data from early users to refine the program based on usage.
He then explained that the EVPassport isn't available for Rideshare services like Lyft or UBER, it's for personal use only - not commercial enterprise. There will also be a soft-cap that limits how much an individual can spend on electricity per month to eliminate abuse, but those details are still being refined.
"The EV charging experience not only needs to be as simple as getting gasoline, it needs to be better" - Aaron Fisher, Co-Founder of Recharge
Fisher told me the inspiration to create EVPassport was born out of a failed road trip he had with a BMW i3. He was trying to drive from New York City to Hartford, Connecticut, and found out how difficult it was to use public charging. He quickly realized if the public charging experience didn't improve dramatically, then EV adoption would be stalled. So he set out to create an app that addressed the problems he faced. Fisher credits Tesla for creating a great public charging experience and believes it's a big reason why Tesla is selling so many cars.
Better charging experience?
We like what we see so far. If EVPassport delivers on its promises, we think it does have the potential to remove some of the pain points of public charging. First off, the flat fee of $39 per month removes the cost-uncertainty of public charging. The cost of DC fast charging varies greatly from network to network, and in some instances from station to station within the same network.
Also, having the ability to enter the number of miles you need to travel, and have the app tell you exactly how long you need to charge on a specific station will definitely be an asset to many EV owners. Tesla's do this now on Superchargers while you have a destination set in the navigation system, and it's a great help.
Lastly, not having to sign up for every network and carry cards or use numerous apps will be greatly appreciated. Interoperability across all major networks has been promised for many years now, but it's never quite been delivered. We're looking forward to trying EVPassport out and seeing for ourselves if it moves the needle forward. It certainly sounds like it has the potential to.
Let us know what you think. Are there any additional features you'd like to see in the app? As always, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.