Electrify America has announced plans to upgrade 600 chargers across 130 cities in California, as per its latest “Cycle 4” regional investment plan. The network's reputation isn't really exemplary when it comes to charging experience – it ranked below the Tesla Supercharger, Charge Point, and EVgo in JD Power’s 2023 Customer Satisfaction Index, and has acknowledged the need for improvement in its latest announcement.
EV charging stations, like any machines or devices, require replacement and maintenance for a few simple reasons like degradation from regular use, safety concerns, possible environmental damage when they’re located outdoors, and more importantly, to keep up with technological advancements.
Electrify America installed the first tranche of its charging stations back in 2018, during what the company calls Cycle 1 and Cycle 2 of its expansion plans. Those chargers have now approached the end of their useful life in 2023. Electrify America mentioned “wear and tear” on the hardware, which negatively impacted charger reliability and charging experience for EV owners.
JD Power's 2023 Public Charging Study puts Electrify America behind rivals in terms of quality of charging experience. Infographic: JD Power
Electrify America will continue addressing this issue as it has in the past by investing approximately $172 million in charging infrastructure in California. $80M has been allocated for the upgrades and maintenance of existing sites, and $92M for expansion. Before replacing the chargers, it will examine factors such as the age of the charger, utilization rates, uptime performance, number and type of work orders, customer sentiment, location on key travel routes, parts availability, and serviceability.
It also mentioned a “custom redesign” of Electrify America’s Gen 4 chargers with an improved human-machine interface (HMI) screen, 18-foot cables, and enhanced remote diagnostic abilities. The company didn’t mention the completion timeline for the replacement of the older chargers, and it’s unclear if all replacements will entail Gen 4 hardware. It’s also unclear what the roadmap is for replacing chargers across the US. InsideEVs has reached out to Electrify America for additional details.
Gen 4 chargers have an improved user interface. Infographic: Electrify America.
After completing the Cycle 4 upgrades, Electrify America will have invested $800 million in California over 10 years. As for its nationwide network, the company had 800 stations in 2022, which dispensed 173 gigawatt hours of electricity. It claims to have saved over 21.5 million gallons of gasoline.