EZ-Charge Program Not So Easy As ChargePoint Exits Nissan Plan

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Nissan Leaf using CHAdeMO fast-charger

Nissan Leaf using CHAdeMO fast-charger

The design for EZ-Charge, an access card that would let new Nissan Leaf electric-car drivers use multiple charging networks, was unveiled yesterday at the EDTA convention.

Unfortunately, one of the four partners pulled out of the program--seemingly just an hour or so before the lunch event at which samples of the card were distributed to attendees.


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California-based ChargePoint called Green Car Reports and other outlets at noon yesterday to announce it would not be participating in the EZ-Charge network.

EZ-Charge program logo

EZ-Charge program logo

That leaves NRG eVgo, AeroVironment, and the Blink network now owned by Car Charging Systems as the three remaining participants.

Given ChargePoint's early entry into the charging-network business and network of more than 17,000 charging locations, its withdrawal is a blow to the idea of single-card access to a variety of networks.

And it leaves the EZ-Charge program with a much sparser set of locations in the important San Francisco Bay Area, a visible and affluent market that's one of the hotbeds of U.S. plug-in electric car sales.

Growing unease

A press release issued by NRG's eVgo network yesterday made no mention of the pullout--but indicated that the company plans to offer the EZ-Charge program to other carmakers along with Nissan.

Electric-car charging stations at Target in Fremont, CA [photo by Wilson F. via ChargePoint Network]

Electric-car charging stations at Target in Fremont, CA [photo by Wilson F. via ChargePoint Network]

Meanwhile, interviews with ChargePoint, NRG eVgo, and Nissan reveal somewhat different stories about what happened.

It's clear that ChargePoint made its decision very late in the game, catching both Nissan and NRG by surprise.

ChargePoint CEO Pat Romano stressed that his company will continue support Nissan Leaf drivers.

But, he said, as detailed negotiations continued after EZ-Charge was announced in April at the New York Auto Show, details that hadn't been clear at the time made ChargePoint increasingly uneasy.

"We thought that this would be primarily a Nissan program," he said, "not a program owned by NRG"--whose eVgo network of charging stations is a competitor to the ChargePoint network.

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Customer files to competitor?

In the end, Romano said, ChargePoint concluded that "the agreement was not something we could sign."

He highlighted two concerns among the several he said ChargePoint raised in its negotiations with NRG.

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