Three of the largest charging networks in the United States are partnering on a new interoperability agreement that makes charging at public charging stations even easier. EVgo, ChargePoint, and EV Connect have inked a groundbreaking agreement that adds 500 fast charging stations in the US to EVgo’s existing 750 fast charging stations.
The agreement also includes more than 9,000 Level 2 charging stations to the agreement, bringing us one step closer to the dream of having one (charging) app to rule them all. (Ok, so the ability to just plug & charge and pay would be the best, but I digress.)
“EVgo continues to deliver on our commitments to provide EV drivers with best-in-class customer service, reliability and convenience on the nation’s largest public EV fast charging network,” said Cathy Zoi, CEO of EVgo. “EVgo’s two new bilateral interoperability agreements will make charging for EVgo customers even more convenient through our strengthened commitment to open standards, collaboration, and innovation.”
Fundamentally, interoperability breaks down walls that require drivers to sign up for a new network, install a new app, and/or get a new RFID card to use charging stations. In the first few weeks of driving electric, I must have signed up for a half dozen networks right off the bat because it wasn’t clear which were affordable and which were convenient until we actually started driving. As EVs move from early adopters into the early majority, drivers will not be as tolerant of these unnecessary barriers to charging.
With petrol cars, you just swipe or tap a credit card and bam, fuel is flowing. EV charging networks have, by necessity, come to market through different channels. The interoperability agreements that are now hitting the market break down some of the biggest barriers for existing and new owners. This latest agreement between three of the biggest players in the US EV charging market makes it clear that we’ve come a long way, baby, and we’re just getting warmed up.
The new agreement allows EV drivers to use stations from any of the three networks with a single app, whether it be the EVgo app, the ChargePoint app, or the EV Connect app. Said another way: one app, one account, and one process for charging to rule them all. Simplification: it’s what the doctor ordered. It’s not as simple as just tapping or swiping a credit card yet, but it is a huge step in the right direction.
“Roaming agreements like this not only benefit drivers, but the thousands of forward-thinking businesses that are increasingly investing in the EV revolution,” said Bill Loewenthal, Senior Vice President of Product at ChargePoint. “Expanding access to charging solutions for drivers is key to enabling electric mobility today and into the future as transportation makes a generational shift. Collaborative efforts across the industry are ensuring a more seamless experience vital to paving the way to the mass adoption of electric vehicles and experience for drivers, fleets and businesses.”
In parallel to the push for interoperability between charging networks, EVgo is now deploying equipment that is compliant with the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP). The company is leveraging the standard to enable remote activation and troubleshooting of its DC fast charging stations, but the push into open charging standards stretches beyond internal monitoring.
The new interoperability agreements with ChargePoint and EV Connect are founded on the Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI) protocol, which enables open and standard communications between the networks. Encouraging adoption of open standards like OCPI and OCPP pave the way forward for a more seamless public charging experience, especially as electric vehicles move into the mainstream.
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