Anyone who has an EV and has ventured out into the world for some public charging love knows how jumbled and confusing the seemingly random chargers spread around can be. Pulling up, the chargers can be behind locked gates, be for residents only, require a pin, or even be in an accessible parking spot, which only adds to the uncertainty. In addition to these situations, there are several different charging platforms, like ChargePoint, Blink, and NRG eVgo, which all require different charging cards, subscriptions and pricing — leaving a new EV driver scrambling to get the right combination of smartphone apps and charging cards to ensure they aren’t left stranded in a parking lot with no charge.
Queue up the inspirational intro music, because a new coalition has risen out of the chaos to restore order (and sanity) to the public EV charging network. At an early morning press conference at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, the new ROEV Association was announced. I spoke with a few reps from ChargePoint over the last 2 months who hinted that a solution was in the works, and they have finally gone public.
ROEV, which is short for Roaming EV [charging], was founded by the three largest charging networks in the US — CarCharging/Blink, ChargePoint, and NRG eVgo — and two of the largest EV manufacturers — BMW of North America and Nissan. Simon Lonsdale of ChargePoint and Chair of the Board of ROEV elaborates: “the ROEV Association is working to streamline EV charging access across multiple charging networks in order to help bring EVs further into the mainstream.”
- ROEV gives drivers access to charging stations across multiple networks, using their account of choice
- 91% of public networked EV charging ports are operated by ROEV founders
- ROEV Association is growing quickly, with participation from various EV stakeholders
Essentially, ROEV is working to create a universal network that lets someone with a charging card from any member network charge at any other network location. The press release included a solid analogy:
“Much like bank cards make it possible to withdraw funds from any ATM, drivers with a participating EV charging network account will be able to charge their EV at other participating charging stations. By improving the convenience of public EV charging, ROEV’s charging network interoperability will enhance the EV ownership experience for current and future drivers.”
During the press conference, Robert Healey of BMW North America shared “EV is coming. It is the future of mobility.” He also noted that BMW brought the i3, i8, and new-to-the-stable X5 eDrive and 330e cars to show off at the LA Auto Show.
In addition to the founding members, ROEV has added several associate members, including Audi and Honda. The inclusion of Honda seems like a bit of a mystery to me given that the Honda lineup does not currently include any plug-in electric vehicles for the US market. In fact, after phasing out the Civic Hybrid at the end of the 2015 model year, Honda only offers one hybrid — the Accord with the only “next-gen” Honda vehicle in production being the Honda Clarify Fuel Cell vehicle, which runs on hydrogen, not electricity. More to come on that one. 🙂
Notably missing form the announcement was any tie to Tesla or its expansive, high-speed Supercharging network. Being that all of the partner networks in ROEV require payment to use their chargers and Tesla does not (yet) charge to charge, there’s really no reason for Tesla to join.
For more info on ROEV:
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