2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid charging at ChargePoint station, Santa Cruz, California, Dec 2017
Forget five-minute fill-ups. What seems to drive many electric car drivers crazy is making sure the charger they find has the right connector, how fast the charger is (in kilowatts), and whether they have the right credentials to activate it.
Without a single one of these parameters, you may not be able to charge. (With most charging done at home or at work, however, most electric-car drivers rarely have to visit public charging stations.)
Now the largest charging network, ChargePoint, has announced a roaming partnership with Greenlots, another of the oldest charging networks in the U.S. to allow subscribers to each network use each other's chargers.
Such agreements are accelerating, with ChargePoint also announcing agreements with EV Box in Europe and FLO in Canada in October.
Third-party software integrators such as Hubject are also working to help networks cross-connect, sharing charging locations and use data on each other's apps, for example, and enabling roaming payments.
Charging executives from several networks and other service providers have said they expect the industry to consolidate in coming years, with fewer, larger networks. That could help simplify matters for electric cars drivers.
ChargePoint made a commitment at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in September to build charging spaces for up to 2.5 million electric cars globally.
Like ChargePoint, Greenlots works to help businesses and individuals install new chargers. The company is working with Electrify America to build out its new nationwide network of DC fast chargers for non-Tesla electric cars.
To match the utility of gasoline, electric cars will have to not only be able to go 300 miles on a charge, but also to charge faster. Agreements such as this one are among the first steps to making that happen.