Electrify America’s Latest Stations Are Superior!

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On a latest street journey, I finished in San Antonio for some juice. The Electrify America station I finished at had not too long ago been down for some upgrades, and it now has the corporate’s latest station design up and working. You’ll be able to be taught all in regards to the new design right here, however studying a press launch and/or some tweets and really utilizing one thing are two various things, so I needed to share what it was like utilizing its next-generation stations.

In brief, they’re principally all the pieces Electrify America promised.

The charging {hardware} itself is much extra aesthetically pleasing. They nonetheless have the corporate’s signature Borg inexperienced accent lighting, however it’s not as brilliant and buggy because it was with the older stations. Every pedestal takes up much less area, and makes up for this by being 8 toes tall and encased in a way more fashionable and easy shell.

The nice issues from past-generation stations are nonetheless there. There’s nonetheless a big touchscreen, a card reader (which can take debit, however I don’t suggest it), and an RFID reader. Electrify America doesn’t difficulty RFID playing cards like EVgo and ChargePoint, however for those who set your telephone to permit the Electrify America app to make use of the NFC chip, you possibly can activate a station when different strategies fail.

A New Cable System That’s Far Simpler To Use

However, as nice as the brand new stations look, how they work is much extra necessary. And, that is the place they actually shine!

As an alternative of getting two comparatively quick charging cables to achieve completely different sides of a automotive, the brand new stations have one lengthy, lengthy cable. You’ll be able to see it within the above photograph connecting to the motive force’s facet CCS port on my Chevy Bolt EUV with loads of slack. It wasn’t onerous in any respect to get the factor plugged in, and it places loads much less stress on the port.

However, generally, it’s worthwhile to attain a bit additional to get to the plug. Electrify America considered that.

The lengthy cable is held up within the center by a pulley/winch system like many different stations on different networks. However, as a result of the stations are 8 toes tall, they maintain numerous slack in reserve. You’ll be able to pull them down so far as the display, after which outward a number of toes. This makes for with the ability to attain principally anyplace you’d need on a automotive. I don’t suppose you’d attain a port positioned on the nostril of a automotive that had backed in with this setup, however you could possibly simply, simply attain nearly anyplace alongside the again and sides.

This characteristic alone makes the brand new Electrify America stalls infinitely simpler to make use of and extra helpful than its older stations.

Higher Energy Sharing

At older stations, every stall has a most energy output. These are often 50 kW, 150 kW, and 350 kW. The 50 kW stations are often a lone CCS/CHAdeMO stall, however generally these are good for as much as 150 kW, too.

However, at these new stations, each area is sweet for “as much as 350 kW.” Anyone who is aware of even just a little about charging stations and electrical utilities would most likely suppose instantly, “How can they presumably be getting that a lot energy? That’s INSANE!,” however happily it’s not like that. They don’t really need sufficient energy on the website coming in from the grid to concurrently present 8 stalls with 350 kW. In actuality, having all stalls filled with vehicles on the peak of their charging curves on the identical time is reasonably unlikely.

So, the positioning’s energy is shared throughout these stations. If sufficient folks did present as much as swamp it, they’d all get lowered charging charges. However, in actuality, for those who had been to drag as much as me charging my Bolt EUV at 55 kW and plug an Ioniq 5 or EV6 in, you’d most likely get your full charging velocity. I’m not taking sufficient away from the positioning to get in your method. Likewise, if another person was charging up previous 80% to achieve a far-flung vacation spot and was solely pulling 20–30 kW, they’re not going to get in the way in which of you getting a full cost.

This not solely helps each driver get essentially the most energy attainable to get on their method quicker, however it makes selecting a stall loads simpler. I’m a pleasant individual, so I attempt to park my 55 kW EUV within the slowest stall I can to depart room for quicker autos. If I had been to park in a 350 kW area at an older EA station, somebody pulling up in a Taycan might need to accept 150 kW, for instance. That might be silly and unfair.

However, with these shared energy preparations, each me and the wealthy snob within the Taycan (simply kidding, you Porsche house owners are cool) can park in any stall and get the quickest attainable cost for each of our autos. This makes super-peasants like me and folks in nicer EVs each comfortable.

There’s Nonetheless A CHAdeMO Plug

For the house owners of Nissan LEAFs and different CHAdeMO vehicles, I’ve obtained some excellent news and a few dangerous information.

The excellent news? They nonetheless have a CHAdeMO plug on the stations upgraded to the most recent {hardware}. So, if it’s worthwhile to cease by for a cost, Electrify America remains to be complying with the phrases of the Dieselgate settlement they usually’re begrudgingly leaving you precisely one plug at every of the websites that they put them in at. They’re not placing in new CHAdeMO plugs going ahead (at the very least exterior of California), however you’re at the very least not going to lose floor for now.

However, the dangerous information is that they aren’t going to place in a brand new station with the lengthy twine and the nicer energy sharing gear in for you. The CHAdeMO stall at each website I’ve heard of and on the one I attempted in California will hold older station {hardware}. When you’ve obtained a LEAF with the plug within the nostril of the automotive, that’s not an enormous deal so far as plugging in goes, however the reliability of older stations isn’t nearly as good because the reliability of the newer ones.

And, as you possibly can see, the CHAdeMO station on the Walmart in San Antonio was down after I glided by.

However, Electrify America isn’t the one supplier with CHAdeMO stations. EVgo, ChargePoint, and others are nonetheless placing in new stations with CHAdeMO plugs right here and there, so that you most likely don’t have to rush out and promote your LEAF if it’s working good for you.

The Quick-Time period Dangerous Information For Everyone

Whereas these new stations are nice, the unhappy information is that they often don’t get put in in a single day by magic. When Electrify America decides it’s time to improve a station, you’ll get about 4 days of warning on Plugshare after which the station will likely be down for 2-4 weeks.

In lots of locations, this actually sucks as a result of the Electrify America station is typically the one station within the space, and also you received’t be capable to go down that freeway in most EVs throughout the improve, or it will likely be an enormous inconvenience.

So, for those who’re depending on EA’s community proper now for any journeys, make sure you verify on Plugshare the day earlier than you allow to see if any stations are going to be down. If they’re going to go down, make sure you make different preparations. Generally, you possibly can cost as much as full on the station earlier than it and barely make it to the subsequent one after. Different occasions, you’ll have to cease for some time at a L2 station or RV park to get sufficient cost to make it. Or, worst case, you could have to discover a close by resort with L2 charging and keep the night time.

However, this precarious state of affairs will most likely solely final for a couple of extra months till they get all the stations converted.

All photographs by Jennifer Sensiba.




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