ChargePoint Adds Digital Queuing As Frustration Builds At Tesla’s Superchargers

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Decades of experience streamlining the customer flow at gas stations has resulted in stations that are effective at pulling customers in, extracting their money, filling up the gas tank, and getting them back on the road.

The Problem

Electric vehicle owners are living through the growing pains of the public charging industry as auto manufacturers, charging network operators, and the public clash in a sometimes ugly dance that is causing tension amongst Tesla owners as thousands of new electric vehicle drivers per week make their way out into the world in search of charging solutions around town.

Hey, I need to charge — unplug that car!

The Solution

As Tesla owners clamor for solutions to their Supercharging woes, ChargePoint has already rolled out a charging station queuing solution that allows plug-in vehicle owners to line up for a station virtually. The result is a first-come, first-served solution that works a lot like gas stations do today, but with slower “fueling” times and an injection of smartphone technology to smooth things over.

The new Waitlist feature creates a virtual queue for EV charging stations as a means of diffusing tensions caused by more vehicles looking to charge at a limited number of stations. ChargePoint claims that the new solution benefits drivers and station operators, increasing station utilization by up to 45% in congested areas. Early-adopting drivers also love the solution, noting that Waitlist offers a simplified queuing experience at high-traffic stations.

We’re first. You can wait.

ChargePoint leveraged its vast store of customer charging data and rolled it together with feedback from customers to develop the solution that makes public and workplace charging at ChargePoint stations more efficient for everyone.

The Way It Works

The solution comes into play when a station is full and another vehicle shows up to charge. Tapping the RFID card on the fully utilized station adds the vehicle to the charging queue. Drivers can also set up their accounts to automatically add them to a queue everyday, which is useful for workplace charging stations where drivers use the stations daily to charge up for the ride home.

When one of the actively charging vehicles finishes charging or reaches specified time or energy limits (if set by the station host), the driver that’s plugged in gets a friendly reminder to unplug and get moving to free up the charging point. After the vehicle is unplugged, the first driver in the queue is notified that it’s their turn. They can move over and start charging or defer the opportunity to the next person in line.

“Our mission is to get everyone into an EV, and as the number of EVs on the road increases, we’re building features that ensure charging and driving an EV is a seamless experience,” said Pasquale Romano, ChargePoint CEO. “Waitlist provides drivers with the charge they need without any headaches for station owners; they can rest easy knowing our Waitlist capability will make things easier for everyone.”

The feature was initially rolled out to a handful of early-access users before rolling it out to the fleet of charging stations it manages. That testing found that Waitlisting increased station utilization by 20% on average and as much as 45% for high-traffic stations.

Drivers seeking to utilize high-traffic charging stations were relieved that Waitlist made finding a charge a seamless, intuitive process compared to the clunky, subpar routines they had developed to mitigate charging station congestion.

The service operates as described by default, but can also be customized to suit the needs of the station owner, if needed. Station owners can set a maximum charging duration during high-traffic periods, then remove the restriction during low-utilization periods, like at night. ChargePoint’s reporting on the backend helps station owners understand how their station is being utilized and identifies opportunities for them to alleviate pain points through capacity upgrades, for example.

ChargePoint’s Waitlist has been rolled out to all of its stations via an over-the-air update. Have you used it or have you experienced charging without automatic queuing? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: ChargePoint

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Kyle Field

I'm a tech geek passionately in search of actionable ways to reduce the negative impact my life has on the planet, save money and reduce stress. Live intentionally, make conscious decisions, love more, act responsibly, play. The more you know, the less you need. As an activist investor, Kyle owns long term holdings in Tesla, Lightning eMotors, Arcimoto, and SolarEdge.

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