Electrify America has unveiled a redesign of its charging stations designed to make them more consumer friendly. The changes include labels that clearly indicate charging levels, a new "balanced charging" system that delivers the maximum charge possible to each vehicle and clearer payment options. The updates were made following EV driver surveys and are designed to create a more familiar "gas station"-like experience, the company said.
One of the biggest issues with charging stations, they found, is that consumers often don't know the charging speeds of their own EVs — so the current labeling (CCS and CHAdeMO) may not make sense. To that end, Electrify America will keep the CHAdeMo for low-level (up to 50kW charging), but use new labels above that: Ultra-Fast (up to 150 kW and Hyper-Fast (up to 350kW), not unlike mid-grade and premium gas options. It also shows one, two or three lightning bolts for charging levels, the type of plug, and CHAdeMO or CCS labeling up top.
"We want to help make the transition to EV charging easier by translating kilowatt ratings into simple names like Hyper-Fast and Ultra-Fast with corresponding colors to help them make a selection at the charger," said Electrify America's Robert Barrosa.
On top of that, the company is introducing something called "Balanced Charging" for each pair of chargers at a single power cabinet, to ensure your EV gets the maximum kilowatts possible. For instance, if a vehicle that can handle a 150kW charge pulls into a station, the charger will detect its capacity and deliver the maximum 150kW. If another with a 280kW capacity then pulls in, it will automatically deliver 200kW to the second vehicle until the first requests less than 150kW. Each charger supporting that system will be clearly marked as "Balanced."
Finally, it will make paying easier, too. You can charge at a station as a member (via NFC) or guest (credit/debit card terminal), but many users didn't know which to use. To that end, the company has created new labels to indicate that the NFC target area is where members should tap their phones. The credit card readers are more clearly labeled as well, so guests can more easily understand where to insert their card. The company also made it easier to access support in case of problems, making the phone number more prominent and adding a QR code.
Electrify America previously announced that it'll expand to 1,800 fast charging stations and 10,000 individual chargers across North America by 2026. Many of those chargers will accommodate the latest EVs like the Porsche Taycan that can handle up to a 270 kW charge. It also recently unveiled its charging station of the future, with customer lounges, solar canopies and more. The company will replace the speed, contact and payment labels on all charging stations, and said that any "new stations will feature balanced charging functionality."