NRG eVgo EZ-Charge Goes Live This Summer

MAY 23 2014 BY MARK KANE 8



NRG eVgo announced that its EZ-Charge platform, which is the first in U.S. to offer access to multiple EV charging networks with a single all-access card, will be launch as planned this summer.

David Crane, President and CEO of NRG Energy stated:

“For too long, EV drivers have been limited to only the chargers that were in their network meaning they might drive past a number of charging stations in other company’s networks before they could get to one they could use with their current provider. The EZ-Charge platform takes a critical step to modernize EV charging, making it more convenient and more accessible than ever for EV drivers.”

We first heard about EZ-Charge when Nissan announced two years free charging in “No Charge to Charge” program.

But the important thing is that this platform will be open to different charging point networks and not limited in any way only to Nissan. Owners with different EVs will be able to get EZ-Charge card and use it as well. This mean that NRG eVgo must find a way to manage all the data and financial aspects, because different charging points (in four networks AeroVironment, Blink, ChargePoint and NRG eVgo) can have different fees, and non-LEAF owners don’t have two years of free access.

*Editor’s Note: ChargePoint is officially out of the EZ-Charge program.

“The EZ-Charge platform will enable drivers of any electric car make or model to carry a single access card for charging on multiple networks, much like consumers today carry a single credit card to access multiple retailers.”

“The EZ-Charge card will support all eVgo public charging plans and enable EV drivers to enroll in participating partner network plans either through their charging company or directly with eVgo.”

The distribution of EZ-Charge cards will start this summer to EV drivers with participating plans in San Francisco, San Diego, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Houston, Sacramento, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Nashville, Phoenix and Washington, D.C.

“While the EZ-Charge platform will be available to drivers and manufacturers of all EVs, the initial roll out will be part of Nissan’s expansion of its ‘No Charge to Charge’ program, the first industry promotion to utilize the EZ-Charge all-access card. Through ‘No Charge to Charge,’ Nissan provides two years of no-cost public charging with the purchase or lease of a new Nissan LEAF. ‘No Charge to Charge’ launches in the first 10 EZ-Charge markets on July 1, 2014, with Nissan adding 15 additional markets to the promotion by mid-2015.”

Arun Banskota, President of NRG eVgo:

“By making charging more accessible and convenient, we hope to expand electric vehicle ownership and make it easy for EV drivers to confidently enjoy the benefits of driving electric. Packaging the EZ-Charge card with ‘No Charge to Charge’ is an example of how we’re working with industry partners to deliver innovative solutions for the industry and consumers.”

In its press release, NRG eVgo seems to be inviting other manufacturers to participate in EZ-Charge and it is very likely that some of them will offer their own packages similar to Nissan.

“The EZ-Charge platform is available for all automakers to package with their electric car models on a promotional or optional basis. In addition, eVgo offers a full range of marketing, distribution, fulfillment, activation, operations, and customer support services to enable this packaging for any automaker with the ultimate goal of providing EV drivers with the greatest range confidence and best experience.”

Let’s bet on who will be the second automaker to join EZ-Charge with 1 or 2 years free charging. BMW, GM or maybe someone else?

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8 Comments on "NRG eVgo EZ-Charge Goes Live This Summer"

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I hope somebody manages to talk some sense into Chargepoint. There are solutions to the issues they raised. Easy solutions.

With EVs at 1% market share, this is a time to think and act in ways to stimulate growth, not have needless petty battles inside the EV community.

eVgo and Blink are going to need to install a lot more charging stations once this goes live.

Just about all the eVgo “Freedom Station” installs only have one CHAdeMO and one L2 station per location, which is totally inadequate even for current usage levels. Start giving away the electricity and they will always be occupied rendering them useless if you actually need to rely one one being available to continue your trip.

“For too long, EV drivers have been limited to only the chargers that were in their network meaning they might drive past a number of charging stations in other company’s networks before they could get to one they could use with their current provider.”

This guy really has his eVgo blinders on. This statement only makes sense when you subscribe to a plan with a monthly fee. I have a stack of cards for all the networks that operate in my area, purely as insurance. I’ve never used any of them to charge my car, but I still put a minimum balance of about $20 each so that I can instantly use any station, whether it has a fee to charge or not.

Is it silly that I have to have a stack of cards in my glove compartment? Yes. Do I ever have to “drive past a number of charging stations”? No.

+1 Insightful.

The only thing crazy are eVgo’s insane a-la-carte prices, especially for QC. $4.95 / session + $0.20 / minute? Most

That’s double what Blink charges ($5 / session).

Savvy QC owners like EVoasis are charging $0.15 / minute with no per-session fees.

I’d really like to get rid of all the cards and go 100% mobile app. For everything. Grocery cards and restaurant cards too.

EV drivers that aren’t sure they want to subscribe can try the eVgo stations out for a $9.95 per charge fee. That’s significantly higher than home electricity rates. It would be ironic if NRG was perceived as overcharging for electricity supplied to electric cars, as part of its settlement for overcharging California rate payers.

This is akin to a petroleum company being ordered to open up more gas stations because they were overcharging customers.

NRG is a mostly coal power polluter and was forced to provide these “Freedom” stations because they were found guilty of overcharging Californians for energy.

They were then given a near monopoly on charging by the CPUC. This is what’s wrong.

The good news is that many EV automakers are providing one and two year free charging at their sites. It’s shown on the Evgo website.

Then the chargers should be handed back to the citizens and be free like the Clipper Creeks are from our old civic infrastructure to promote clean transport.