While public charging sessions are few and far between for most electric car owners, who typically charge at home the vast majority of the time, they can present a disproportionately high level of frustration.
With more connections between networks and operators, like the new partnership agreement announced Tuesday between ChargePoint and Electrify America, the mess of multiple apps, fobs, and RFID cards may soon be a thing of the past. So, too, will the late-night calls to tech support to process credit card numbers, or to enroll as members in a different network in order to just use one of its chargers once.
Although some of the charging and utility sector wants to term this “interoperability,” the word “roaming” is appropriate because the users who most need to understand it—people new to electric cars—can think of it like cellphone coverage. Simply put, you use the app for the charging network you most use, and occasional sessions on other networks will just work—and be billed via your usual network.
The ChargePoint/EA tie-up should prove especially useful from a consumer standpoint as those using an existing account from one of the networks won’t incur additional fees on the other.
“This roaming agreement further accelerates the seamless integration of individual EV fueling networks and brings us even closer to the day when the movement of all goods and people will be powered by electricity,” said ChargePoint president and CEO Pasquale Romano. “Partnerships like this make transitioning to electric drive easier than continuing to use fossil fuels.”
2018 Kia Niro Plug-In Hybrid charging at ChargePoint station, Santa Cruz, California, Dec 2017
In all, there will be more than 30,000 individual charge points connected by the two networks, including Level 2 AC and DC fast charging (CCS or CHAdeMO). ChargePoint claims to be the largest electric vehicle charging network in the world, while Electrify America, created by the Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement, is committed to having 2,000 charge ports at 484 locations by July 1.
Both Electrify America and ChargePoint have already made such partnerships with Greenlots. Electrify America also has allied with EV Connect and SemaConnect, while ChargePoint has roaming agreements with EVBox and FLO.