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Electrify America Announces Pilot Program That Limits Vehicle Charging

by | July 9, 2024

Electrify America announces new pilot program that limits the amount of time vehicles spend at a charging station as the company attempts to address long wait times and availability of charging stations with new pilot program.

Electrify America announced it’s starting a pilot program that limits charging times for vehicles.

The availability of charging stations has increased over the past few years but while EV owners have largely benefitted from the increased availability there are also some obstacles that need to be overcome. One of them is the wait time that these owners sometimes experience as they wait for a charging station to open up especially if the vehicle in front of them is trying to reach full charge.

Electrify America is now attempting to solve this problem with a new pilot program exploring what would happen if vehicles hooked up to their chargers were limited to how much total charge they get as the company attempts to reduce wait times for customers that use their chargers especially on busy days where multiple vehicles may attempt to access a charger at once.

Electrify America’s program is the first of its kind

The pilot program will cap vehicles to 85% charge and is the first of its type to be implemented in the real world.

Electrify America’s approach to the problem is called the “Congestion Reduction Program” and as the name implies, is focused on trying to get EV vehicles on and off its chargers in a more timely manner. This program is currently limited to California with 10 stations being modified to only allow a vehicle to reach 85% charge before they switch off. After that happens, the charger enters a 10-minute grace period which allows owners time to unhook the vehicle from the charger with the time limit being a nod to consumers that might have entered a store or other business while the EV was charging.

If the vehicle is still on the charger after the 10 minutes are up, EA will then begin charging idle fees to the consumer. EA says that it’s focusing on providing its customers the opportunity to “bulk charge” with many EVs having the ability to rapidly go from 10 to 80% charge. However, the charging rate slows down after a vehicle passes 85% and that last bit of charging can take an extra 15 to 20 minutes which can cause long wait times at a station. Limiting customers to a set amount of charge has been talked about by other firms in the past, but Electrify America’s pilot program is the first time that a firm has actually implemented this strategy in the real world.

Pilot program focuses on the details

Electrify America reps were aware that some EV owners take their vehicles on long road trips and that these trips require them to accumulate as much charge as possible to reach their destination. To help avoid leaving these owners in a jam, the company confirmed that the 10 chosen stations were in high-utilization areas that were not heavily used by long-distance commuters. A key part of this decision-making process was the distance between the stations as well as the types of use that were recorded at each one. As such, buyers that need to reach 100% charge should be easily able to find an alternate station for their needs.

The program also closes any potential loopholes drivers might attempt to exploit with the company confirming that if a customer attempts to plug in a vehicle that’s already at 85% charge or higher, the station will sense it and not supply power to the vehicle to keep customers at their 85% limit. Manufacturer charging plans are also covered and will not be able to get around the 85% cap either.

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Expect more charging firms to follow Electrify America’s lead

Look for other charging station companies to follow a similar approach as they also grapple with high wait times in urban areas and city centers.

While Electrify America’s charge limit program is in the experimental phase, look for more of its rivals to follow suit with similar programs as they also grapple with long wait times at their stations. Location will play a prominent role in helping these firms decide which stations are the right fit for their charge limit programs and as a result, expect the chargers that would be impacted by the program to be largely limited to city centers and other urban areas.

These locations will allow the companies to smooth the flow of vehicles in and out of their chargers while also having the opportunity to possibly make a profit from idle fees if city dwellers leave their vehicles on a charger for too long. This stream of profit will help charging companies invest in other programs including improved charging stations and other processes that aim to streamline the entire process for consumers.

1 Comment

  1. Sounds like a program designed by the government.
    Stay with your gas car and let the beaurocrats screw with the EV guys.


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