Seamless EV Charging Is Catching On In North America

JAN 13 2019 BY EVANNEX 18


Electric vehicles are often compared to mobile phones. Among other similarities, both devices depend on a stack of interdependent hardware, software and services, and both need to be plugged in and charged after use, normally in the evening.

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Charles Morris. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: A Tesla Model X does some public charging at a Greenlots charging point in Ohio (Source: Greenlots)

A critical step in creating today’s mobile phone ecosystem was the development of roaming – a seamless handover from one service provider to another, invisible to the consumer. An analogous system is gradually coming into existence to handle EV charging. Public chargers are operated by a patchwork of operators around the world, and drivers need to be able to use the nearest and most convenient charging stations, without worrying about setting up multiple accounts or carrying around multiple access cards.

Two of North America’s largest charging networks, Greenlots and ChargePoint, recently formed a roaming partnership that will enable charging across both networks. Beginning in mid-2019, customers will be able to charge on either the ChargePoint or Greenlots networks without the need to create separate accounts or pay additional fees, enabling a seamless charging experience. Drivers will be able to use the Greenlots or ChargePoint mobile applications to locate charging stations, activate charging sessions, and pay for charging.

Above: A look at how Chargepoint is becoming an integral part of workplace charging at forward-thinking companies like Adobe (Youtube: Chargepoint)

The new roaming agreement is based on the Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI), part of an open application protocol that allows charging stations and central management systems from different vendors to communicate with each other – in much the same way that cell phone networks do.

“This once-fragmented industry is building momentum towards true driver interoperability thanks to adoption of standards like OCPI that are beneficial to drivers, automakers, grid operators and charging infrastructure providers,” said Lin-Zhuang Khoo, Senior VP, Greenlots. “What’s particularly encouraging about this positive trend is that it is happening in advance of major policy changes or other external forces – a sign that the EV charging market is maturing in concert with surging customer demand for EVs.”

Above: Fiat 500e and Tesla Model S using Chargepoint (Source: Steve Goes Green)

“For more than a decade, ChargePoint has worked to create an open and accessible network that enables drivers to enjoy an effortless charging experience,” said Michael Hughes, Chief Commercial and Revenue Officer of ChargePoint. “We invite other networks to join us in similar partnerships as we seek to make EV charging ubiquitous.”


Written by: Charles Morris; This article originally appeared in Charged; Sources: GreenlotsChargePoint

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

Categories: Charging, General

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18 Comments on "Seamless EV Charging Is Catching On In North America"

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Two things I think would really help:
1) Roadside restaurants offer “DC charging with a meal”. Better yet book a reservation at the restaurant and reserve access to the charger at the same time. Even 50kW would probably be fast enough for a typical 1 hour sit down meal.
2) L2 chargers at hotels become reservable. Basically when I book the room I can confirm access to a _working_ L2 charger. Right now many hotels have L2 chargers but there is no way of knowing ahead of time if it will be a) broken or b) ICEd or c) in use by another EV driver

Excellent ideas. Tesla should definitely add these features to the waypoints feature of the ultra cool navi system in every Tesla as they evolve via over the air updates.

Or they could just add more chargers.

Tesla or Charge point, really needs to cut a deal with major truck stops. TA (Travel Centers of AMerica), and/or Flying J would be IDEAL. Both are 24/7, and most have 24/7 restaurants.

The solution will be more like credit/debit card transaction processing. There needs to be a third party processing system they all work with, so any user with a ‘charging’ account could charge at any station that is a member of the processing system.

Exactly, why not just allow credit card payment across all charging stations.

Service charge.

I would caution about a partnership of the two largest charging providers. Whilst in the short term it might benefit people looking to charge ; what happens when little charging networks are forced into this partnership based on economics? Could be bad for charging cost in the future.

The first photograph looks like it was taken in Europe. The separate charging cable that plugs into both the vehicle and the charging station is typical of Europe and the connector looks like Type 2. I don’t see the charging adapter that is typical for US based Tesla’s at public charging stations.

Ohio my butt.

Yeah, I was going to comment on that also. Show me where that Mennekes Type 2 charging station in Ohio is, please! 🙂

Is there any extra cost for such roaming? Do they plan on expanding with other networks and PlugShare?

Now that I live in the Tesla Supercharger world… It just works!… I am glad to see that the ad-hoc networks of the charging world are really coalescing around shared goals. Driving a LEAF since 2013 taught me how vital that is.

Why should I have to have an account? Why can’t I just use my credit card?

Coincidentally, I just spoke to a couple of managers of one of the “Two of North America’s largest charging networks” at CES Thursday and asked the same question. His answer was not exactly direct: “we need to collect data on how EV drivers charge” or something like that. I thought he would say something about having to pay VISA fees, but I inferred that like every other @#$%$#@ internet experience, they just want to collect, sell and abuse customers data for profit, under the rubric of “Data Analytics.” Of course I assume VISA and other such cards happily share the data with the store owner, corporation or what have you. As gas stations allowed credit cards other than their own branded ones, they did not seem to lose any revenue. How many people carry Shell, Exxon, Chevron cards anymore? I am sure many, but probably not as much as before. After that pause, I stated my own preference: just install 14-50 NEMA outlets instead, especially for companies who want to provide charging for their employees, hotels who want to provide charging for their guests, and restaurants, multi unit housing, etc. I know I am an outlier on this, but as… Read more »

With ChargePoint you can, just have to have a contactless card or use Apple Pay/Android Wallet.

Paid Chargepoint Level 2 charging is ridiculously overpriced and my opinion pointless. Installed by greedy landlords, property managers and real estate developers to get the Green mark on their property. If you have a Tesla and are in an area with good supercharging its especially pointless. Another reason not to bother with non-Tesla EV’s.

I belong to three charging networks, including ChargePoint, and I’ve still had problems charging at a hotel location.

There should be one proximity card for ALL networks and all new public chargers should have a Credit / Debit reader.

Could you imagine having to create a Shell or Mobil account just to buy some gas?

This is hampering the growth of the charging industry.

WTF is that Tesla using that Chargepoint station? At work, there is a Tesla Model S owners that occupies one of the Chargepoint station ALL DAY.