Electrify America–Ain’t Charging Right for Non-Volkswagen Brands?

There appears to be problems with non Volkswagen branded electric cars at Electrify America charging stations that support charging up to 150 to 350 kilowatt hours. The Electrify America program was formed from a Volkswagen dieselgate settlement. The need for fast chargers is very important because electric car drivers don’t like waiting for their cars to charge. Also I have been noticing that charging stations are more crowded than ever before.

Volkswagen is is supposed to be creating a charging network in major transportation corridors.  Matthew Nelson, Director of Government Affairs for Electrify America at the beginning of his talk at the Alt Car Exps in Riverside this fall, asked, “How many people here have heard of Electrify America? There was a good number of people who raised their hands.

He then asked “How many people think Electrify America is a non-profit company?”

Mmany people raise their hands. He then informed the crowd that the Electrify America is a for-profit entity–just like gas stations. Price shock is starting to happen at the new Electrify America fast charging stations with mainly non-Volkswagen made electric vehicles.

On January 1, I visited a Walmart Supercenter and it was my first experience seeing the fast charging stations provided by Electrify America. All of the spots were empty. The pricing structure is confusing.

Besides being ‘ICED’ it is reported that EVs park in Electrify America Stops without Charging.

The problem arises from the fact that the charge is by the minute not by the kilowatt. This is not the first time I’ve personally had problems with a minute as opposed to KW rate. One charging station divided the power between two cars—which meant to fully charge–I needed to stay two hours longer, the charge was $1.25 per hour therefore I paid $2.50 more for charge–however with per minute fast charging fees–the extra cost could be more than expected.

In order to reach these high speeds there needs to be a transformer be installed and there was a transformer behind the Chargers. One of the problems inherent in fast charging is that business have to pay higher rates for more power–the higher rates could be reflected in the Electrify America rates.

On the other hand, Tesla superchargers charge by billed per kWh (kilowatt-hour), with average rate of $ 0.28 per kWh therefore to fully charge a basic Model 3 that is 50 KW would cost $14.00 if the battery was completely depleted. Pricing is much more confusing when EV owners are charged by the minute because different models charge at different rates and if the power is shared the amount of power may be reduced.

Electrify America states that you do not need the app or to be signed up for a plan in order to ever there are report that using a  often credit card does not work and it only these chargers only work if you use the app. The app pre-charges $20 onto the person’s credit card. It is also really important to hold the plug steady while making a connection.

The good news and bad news is there is 40 cent a minute idle fee which prevents shoppers leaving their cars for too long. It appears that at the fast-charging is costing more than EV drivers are used to paying and also there are many more CSS chargers than Chademo for Nissan LEAFs.

Owners of Porsche Taycan’s receive three free years of charging from Electrify America. When the free charge runs out at the present rates where it takes 22.5 minutes or $24.00 to charge the battery 80% with a 79.2 battery pack or 63.36 kilowatts.

It’s important to note that after 80% on fast charging the charging process slows down considerably. Many charging stations request that owners move their cars after reaching 80%.

The rate .25 a minute using a 50KW Chademo charger on the network equates to say a LEAF with a 30KW battery pack to an 80% charge in 25 minutes costing $1.00 plus $7.50 or a total of $8.50 which is for approximately 24 KW the total cost of 31.4 cents a KW.

EV Go charges .27 minute but does not charge a session fee.

In PlugShare reviews we monitored about 66% were negative from non-Volkswagen made vehicles such as BMW i3, Chevy Bolt, Kia, Nissan Leaf and especially the Chevy Spark. We found no problems with Volkswagen brands such as the E-Golf or Audi E-Tron.

Since, we need as many electric charging stations as possible, although the Electrify America stations are not the lowest-priced, we predict that the charging stations will be like gas stations in the middle of nowhere that charge more per gallon than anyone would ever pay—locally. If you are down to a few miles left and need to get home–you’ll pay whatever is necessary to get home.

Anonterh problem associated with all charging stations is cars both gasoline-powered gas-holes and EVs park in the spots while not charging. Since most Walmarts have security guards in the lots it is suggested that guards stop gas vehicles from parkting there. In some areas the non-electric cars are towed away at the owners’ expense and there are signs posted warning parkers.

Electrify America has partnered with Ford for charging forthe Mustang Mach-e fast charging.Customers will be able to manage their charging plan through features of the company’s FordPass app, as well as through their vehicle’s touch screen, that will be supported by a ce data feed from Electrify America. The FordPass app will provide real time location and charger status data to Ford EV drivers for Electrify America’s network of ultra-fast EV public chargers across highway and metro charging stations planned in 45 states and the District of Columbia.

Examples of Charging Problems at Electrify America Fast Charging Stations

Here are selections of reviews from the Livermore Premium Outlets and the Walmart Supercenter in Burbank, California comments.

“Wouldn’t accept Apple Pay as payment, but it worked when I put my physical credit card in.”

“In my on-going quest to find EA chargers that can actually charge a 2016 Spark EV, I tested all 10 EA chargers located at the San Francisco Premium Outlets in Livermore, CA. Score – 0/10!! All but two would accept and authorize my payment, start the initialization process and then immediately stop the initialization process and go to the screen :Charging Stopped – Unplug. The other two would not accept payment. After completing my test, I drove to one of the EVgo chargers at this same location and charged with any problem.” The same reviewer reported that he had a Good meeting today at the EA chargers in Livermore. The ABB rep took a lot of charger data as he demonstrated multiple times on two chargers that a 2016 Spark EV could not charge.

Nissan LEAF “ChaDeMo not working. Called in, station rebooted twice, still not working. wasted 20 min. Second time i try, second time it does not work. Well done EA !, wasting dieselgate money”

“Electrify America chargers are terrible. Not only do you have to hold up the bottom of the charger to begin charging, expect random errors and being charged $.40 a minute! A few dollars if you’re stuck on the other side of the outlets when your car stops due to an error. I’ll stick with EVGo moving forward.”

“Avoid using this location if it’s the weekend. Security does nothing about all the spots being ICED”

Form Hyundai Ioniq  experience a nightmare horrorshow on the weekend. Angry Tesla drivers were blocking the row, yelling at people just trying to get by, taking EA spaces.

“Anyone ever enforces ICE cars blocking chargers?”

Ford Focus Electric–Broken Hardware CCS/SAE “20 plugs. None work.”

“I have used three different cards and it’s not working. On hold with customer service. Been here for 15 minutes. Horrible. Wasted 25 minutes and never got a charge.”
hevrolet Bolt EV

Broken Hardware CCS/SAE “Tried every station. None of them would accept payment and said my grace period has been reached. Also, FYI, if you don’t have the app, they authorize $50 each time you try to charge. I called customer service and reported the outage.”

“Why why why is it that every time I need to charge my car there is a problem with the chargers?!?!?!? It has gotten worse lately where each and every charging station has a problem, ESPECIALLY the fast chargers!!! Doesn’t matter the company or provider, I have to call and complain EVERY TIME. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE FIX THIS SO THAT THIS ISNT A BURDEN FOR EV OWNERS”

Chevrolet Spark EV–Could Not Activate CCS/SAE “Nothing worked”

LEAF Owner Could Not Activate CHAdeMO “There is only one CHAdeMO charger & it would not activate, was stuck on “processing payment” screen. I called it in
BMW i3 Owner -“DON’T USE THESE CHARGERS.These aren’t fast chargers like EVgo. After 46mins I was still only 58% charged and at a crazy cost of $13.00 NEED TO BOYCOT HIGH PRICED EV CHARGERS TO KEEP THE PRICE AFFORDABLE.”

CHevy Bolt -“Nightmare to use these damn things. Too many steps, too slow on the app, CC reader tries to take my Google Pay instead of the NFC from the app. Totally lame.

“Still not working. Charge with EVgo or Greenlots instead. Electrify America is unreliable.”

Hyundai Kona Electric Owner- “Broken Hardware CCS/SAE “Electrify America Warning ⚠ Avoid!!! Not Working Properly!! We went to charge up with our Pass + plan. These stations offer 75,125 and 350kw for charging. Unfortunately they don’t even come close to their output! Jaime (#74598) from support, said that because our 2019 Hyundai Kona Electric when connected with the charger can accept up to 84kw/hr, that we would be charged for the second tier (DOUBLE +) of pricing. We’ve BARELY ever seen 73kw/hr across multiple stations! Usually it’s 40-50kw/hr. Heres the kicker to prove this is a scam and borderline criminal activity because they’re stealing from us and everyone else! One charger they charged us correctly in the tier one pricing. And the other chargers are all at tier two pricing. Our car hasn’t changed. Lol. So in Jaime’s own words, we should’ve been charged every single time for tier 2!!! But we weren’t. Does 65min of charging for $10.41 vs 35min for $16.13 sound logical??? Answer : NO IT DOESN’T!! If these can put out up to 350kw/hr, and our car can receive 84kw/hr, but we’re only getting 40-50kw/hr, we should not be charged for something that we are not receiving! This is a Scam or a BIG ERROR with their chargers. It’s Black and White! We would gladly pay for the second tier of pricing if they delivered it. But they’re not even coming close, and yet still charging us for it anyways. And after an hour on the phone, they refused to do the right thing and give us a credit back. Does 65min of charging for $10.41 vs 35min for $16.13 sound logical??? Answer : NO IT DOESN’T!! This is wrong, unprofessional and borderline criminal! Just a warning (take it or leave it); to Boycott them and support other chargers. If you have to use them, please use them only as a last resort. And double check your billing. They do not deserve your hard earned money.”

“Tried 3 stations none would accept any card payments. Phone support no idea how to help or answer what could be wrong at these stations. 15 min later tech support got it to work no idea what the problem was- not too reassuring.”

“Would not accept any form of payment. Tried 3 stations before giving up.”

“Chargers NEVER WORK!!!”**For all the BMW i3 that get errors when trying to charge

Driver spent hours at these charges trying to charge and finally found a way to get them to work on our BMW i3

**For all the BMW i3 that get errors when trying to charge**

“I spent hours at these charges trying to charge and finally found a way to get them to work on our BMW i3.It’s best to start the charging from the app. Once you swipe to charge, grab the handle of the charging cable (while plugged into the car) and lift up /pull up on the handle. It may take a few try’s, but you’ll figure out how much leverage you need to pull up to get it to start charging.I know it sounds weird, but it does work. But far these are the fastest charging charges for the i3. It usually cost be $5 or less to get full.”

“I’ve had plenty of problems starting these chargers but it does seem to work better if you start it through the app… of course then they charge you more $ when your prepaid balance dips below a certain amount – why do they make you do “prepaid amount” when you are already using a credit card 😡

Good News & Fixes

The good news is that Electrify America  offers twenty-four hour toll free support and they do post to Plugshare when the charging stations are repaired.  There seems to be a misconception that since the funding of the venture is reparation for gross polluting and fraud that they would be more affordable and functioning.

We ask our readers give their feedback about Electrify America chargers int he comments below. What has been your experience with Electrify America chargers? What works for you?