US Charging Networks Getting More Connected

Electric vehicle chargers are almost invisible to non-EV drivers. They don’t have large signs towering high above everything else in bright colors. The don’t dominate the corners of major intersections. Until you start really looking for charging stations, you probably don’t see them. One downside of this is that most people don’t think there’s much charging infrastructure out there at all. I would bet that almost everyone you talk to thinks there’s much less EV charging infrastructure than there is. This is one reason why I’ve long advocated for charging stations to be a bit taller, more colorful, and more prominent. We need people to realize there are a lot of charging stations in convenient places.

However, there are also still challenges on the user convenience and usability side of things as well. One of the biggest annoyances over the years has been that there are dozens of different networks and you need different cards, apps, etc. to use different networks. The good news in recent months is that 4 of the biggest and most user-friendly networks have linked up in order to make EV charging much simpler and easier. Greenlots members can now use ChargePointEV Connect, and FLO charging stations via roaming agreements the companies made.

The result is that a driver now needs just one card/app in order to access 54,000+ (yes, more than 54,000) EV charging stations in the USA and Canada. Pick your favorite card or app and charge in cities, suburbs, and rural locations across North America. EV life has never been easier. EV charging station access has never been better. Though, it will be better tomorrow, because these charging station networks are continuously growing and new EV charging stations are being installed somewhere every day.

As much as the growth of charging infrastructure helps, though, nothing is as big of a growth story as linking up several of the largest charging networks.

“This is a great example of collaboration across EV charging networks, and their experts coming together to give consumers and businesses the access they need to continue the transition to EVs with confidence,” said Greenlots Chief Product and Technology Officer Kuan Archer.

“The successful growth of the EV industry depends on major service providers moving towards interoperability, just as banks and cellular networks once did to ensure healthy and long-term growth for the industry,” added Patrick Macdonald-King, COO of EV Connect. “This agreement with Greenlots furthers our mission to deliver a dependable and seamless driver experience. By leveraging today’s existing EV infrastructure, our respective users will benefit from the convenience of more charging opportunities regardless of the mobile app, vehicle, or credential used, and that is a win for the entire industry.”

Here are statements from executives from the other two companies, ChargePoint and FLO, as well:

“ChargePoint’s mission is to make it easy for all people and goods to move on electric power and industry collaboration through roaming partnerships are pivotal to making the transition to electric seamless,” said Bill Loewenthal, Senior Vice President, Product at ChargePoint. “Software is the key component that makes roaming across EV charging networks a reality, and the agreement between ChargePoint and Greenlots ensures the best possible experience for drivers to find, use and pay for charging, all without the need for multiple charging network accounts.”

“We are excited about this new roaming expansion and are looking forward to welcoming Greenlots’ users to FLO stations,” says Nathan Yang, FLO’s Chief Product Officer. “We strongly believe in the importance of open networks and platforms. Roaming agreements are a tangible way to improve EV drivers’ experience and break down barriers to widespread adoption, which ultimately encourages more people to switch to electric vehicles.”

I have interviewed a couple of the people quoted above in recent months in depth about the current state of the EV charging industry and the future of this market. The interview with FLO’s Nathan Yang is coming out soon on our CleanTech Talk podcast series. Stay tuned! The interview with ChargePoint’s Bill Loewenthal is here, broken into two parts:

You can also watch recent webinars we hosted with FLO regarding 1) EV charging solutions for “garage orphans” and 2) accelerating EV adoption through strong EV policy here:

 

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