Can the Electrify America network be relied upon?

Lightly used charging site. Guess which port I needed?

The short answer is no. For the long answer read on…

I decided to take a trip to the nearest Electrify America charging site to train myself in the use of these stations before I really need one and also to see what charge rate I would get.

I checked the Willowbrook Commons site in Nashville on the Electrify America app and it showed all ports as operational and available. No one was there apparently. The journey took 30 minutes. When I arrived I was greeted with an almost empty charging site. Only one vehicle was there. Good I thought I have plenty of choice, until I realized the car was a Tesla. There is only one Tesla compatible outlet (CHAdeMO) per Electrify America site. All other ports are CCS only. This is an unfortunate design decision. In other countries such as Norway most charging stations each have three outlets. CHAdeMO, CCS and high-speed AC. Electrify America is funded by Volkswagen as part of their Diesel-gate settlement and the sites favor their own electrical vehicles which use CCS. Nissan and Tesla utilize CHAdeMO and are under represented at these sites.

Charging had stopped and a grace period was in effect before the car would be levied idle charges.

I hung around to take photos of the site. I was interested in the charge rate so took a photo of the screen associated with the Tesla. It showed the session had finished and informed me that the grace idle period would expire in 6 minutes. I thought the owner may return soon. He did. He was slow to return to his vehicle and was having a conversation on his phone. He had empty shopping bags which told me he came out of Publix. Eventually he unplugged his car and started walking back to the store. I got out of my car to ask if he could move his vehicle. He ended his call and informed me that he was talking with Electrify America. The station wasn’t working properly, it had aborted after only five minutes. After remote troubleshooting and restart of the unit EA advised him not to rely upon this station for a charge. The entire site had been out of order the previous week apparently, maybe an issue remains unresolved.

Twisted CHAdeMO pigtail at Electrify America

The other Tesla owner went onto tell me he had been successful on other occasions, this was the first issue he had encountered. I noticed that the CHAdeMO adapter had a twist in the adapter pigtail. This was the same as I experienced the previous day at Nissan.

Summary of Issues.

Only one CHAdeMO outlet per site means there is no redundancy in case of charger issues or another vehicle is charging when you arrive. Both of these scenarios were true for me on my first trip to Electrify America.

VW are clearly favoring their own electric vehicles, the dieselgate money is not being used impartially. VW clearly intend to profit from the mandated investment in infrastructure. Its a shame a foreign automaker is given the freedom to discriminate despite being bad stewards of the environment in the recent past.

With the vast majority of electric cars on Americas roads today being made by Nissan and Tesla the choice to restrict CHAdeMO in this fashion is disappointing. Electrify America is not a viable alternative to Nissan’s CHAdeMO network or Tesla’s supercharger network. EA sites cannot be relied upon for a trip. I saw no Level 2 J1772 outlets at this site either. If you were low on charge you would not get any relief here.

Electrify America charging station.

 

 

 

This entry was posted in CCS, CHAdeMO, Electrify America, Level 2 EV Charger, Level 3 EV Charger, Tesla Model 3. Bookmark the permalink.

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