Electrify America topped all EV charging networks in user experience in a recent study by the Accenture-owned engineering services firm Umlaut.
The study, released in conjunction with Charged EVs, looked at the entire user experience for the largest DC fast-charging networks in the United States, including app/website usability, charging locations, and the ease of conducting a session or obtaining tech support. Testers noted that it was not an evaluation of the EV ownership experiences (no data from test cars was recorded) or the feasibility of long road trips.
Testers covered 2,100 miles over six days in September 2021, conducting 150 tests at 28 sites (four each from seven charging networks) across Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.
Electrify America chargers
Electrify America received the highest overall score thanks to the availability of Plug & Charge, a well-designed app and website, illuminated stations, the many 350-kw stations available, and displays that show both kw requested by the vehicle and kw provided by the charging station. However, Electrify America was also dinged for relatively high prices, the lack of roaming with other networks, and long support-hotline wait times.
The Tesla Supercharger network was rated second. This was the first time including it; authors noted that it scored highest in charging locations and had the fastest starting time at its locations. Umlaut tested locations with a Tesla Model 3 and Ford Mustang Mach-E.
It's worth noting that, while the study does include technical performance of chargers, it doesn't include the uptime of the network or the reliability of the hardware. Reliability varies wildly between stations, and is likely more of a concern for EV drivers than some other things highlighted in the study, like free wifi.
Volkswagen ID.4 at Electrify America, Hazel Dell WA
As many users have experienced, there's often a lack of accountability when chargers are inoperable or not providing a consistent experience. Automakers are starting to take some of these concerns into their own hands, with Ford sending "charge angels" directly to troubleshoot charging issues.
Electrify America plans to double its network by 2025—but it's also been looking for more investment to scale up. The network is funded by Volkswagen as part of the automaker's diesel-emissions cheating settlement, but VW is reportedly shopping Electrify America around to other investors to fund expansion.