Selling families, businesses, and organizations an EV is one thing. Making sure the initial experience isn’t painful is another thing entirely. In most industries, they call this “service after the sale,” but when it comes to EV charging, it historically hasn’t been a manufacturer’s job to take care of fueling the vehicle. But, EVs change the game. Instead of just pulling up to a gas station, swiping a card, and pumping fuel into the vehicle, you can have an even easier experience: plugging in at home and letting the car charge while you sleep.
But that convenience doesn’t always come easy, or cheap. Most homes and commercial properties already have the electricity available, but that power needs to get into the car somehow. Getting expert help installing a charging station (and the wiring it needs) isn’t a process most people are familiar with.
Some manufacturers are starting stepping up to help. When I bought my Bolt EUV recently, I learned about GM’s promise to pay for installation if you buy a GM EV. The Bolt EUV includes a double-layer EVSE with both a NEMA 14-50 plug and standard household plug (NEMA 5-15) that are interchangeable. GM plans to offer more plugs in the future, like the NEMA 5-20 or TT -30, similar to Tesla’s Mobile Connector kit.
GM’s program provides a NEMA 14-50 receptacle instead of an EVSE installation, and the included charger is for Level 2 use at home. While this may not be the cheapest option upfront, it will save you money in the long run by preventing issues down the road. However, not everyone will want that kind of a setup. The company also provides up to $1,250 for “non-standard” installations that don’t use a receptacle (which I’ve heard can be more difficult to install). If people don’t want or need help with an installation, they’ll give you $500 in EVgo credit (usable at ChargePoint stations too).
I don’t know whether Vauxhall was watching this unfold, or if it has been planning it for a while, but it is going to do something similar for its customers in Europe, and is going even further to help, according to a recent press release.
Octopus Energy, a pioneer in green tech, has partnered with Vauxhall to improve the UK electric vehicle ownership experience overall. This includes reducing charging costs and using more renewable energy sources on the road and at home. The strategic partnership between Vauxhall and Pod Point will give customers more options for home charging, as well as expanded access to public charge points across the UK and Europe. Customers will be able to use one single payment card and app to access all of these services, as well as new smart energy tariffs.
Vauxhall is committed to electrifying Britain and becoming an electric-only brand by 2028. As part of this commitment, Vauxhall is working to make owning an electric car or van as easy as possible for drivers. This includes ensuring that drivers have the best access to a variety of charging solutions.
Vauxhall’s new partnership with Octopus Energy not only allows new customers to install a home wallbox charger, but also gives existing Vauxhall owners the option to do so. This charger is linked to the UK’s first flexible charging tariff called Intelligent Octopus. Furthermore, Electric Universe is a platform run by Octopus Energy that provides drivers access to over 300,000 public chargers across the UK and Europe from a single card and app.
“Vauxhall is committed to electrifying Britain and by partnering with a highly-respected brand like Octopus Energy, we’re giving our electric vehicle drivers the ability to ensure that they charge at home in the greenest and most affordable way possible as well as simplifying public charging by providing access to many networks across the UK with just one card,” said James Taylor, Managing Director, Vauxhall.
The Ohme wallbox charger, available through Vauxhall as part of the Plug & Go offer, comes with a three year warranty and can be controlled via smartphone app. Linked to the UK’s first flexible charging tariff, Intelligent Octopus, this is an ideal way to make sure you’re maximizing your tariff.
“It has never been a better time for drivers to go electric. With the range of vehicles, chargers, flexible tariffs like ‘Intelligent Octopus’ and roaming services like ‘Electric Universe’ available now, making the switch has become an absolute no-brainer,” said Rebecca Dibb-Simkin, Chief Product Officer, Octopus Energy Group. “We are incredibly excited to be working with such a forward-thinking brand as Vauxhall, helping its customers switch to electric faster and more comfortably. Going electric is not only good for the planet, it’s also cheaper than fueling gas-guzzlers and has the added benefit of helping to end our dependence on fossil fuels.”
The Intelligent Octopus tariff offers electricity from 100% renewable sources, with new customers getting an initial £25 off their bill. The flexible Intelligent Octopus tariff charges the vehicle using renewable energy when it is at its cheapest – offering customers savings compared to a standard variable rate and helping to balance demand on the grid. It will also offer a guaranteed lower rate per kWh during an off-peak time window of 11:30pm to 5:30am.
Vauxhall teams up with Octopus Energy to give electric vehicle customers access to the Electric Universe platform. The partnership offers a Plug & Go bundle or the option to sign up individually. All new Vauxhall electric vehicle customers receive an Octopus Universe card, as well as £10 introductory credit on their account.
The app and card were designed to make public charging more convenient, providing access to chargers from multiple providers in the UK and Europe. With a single account and one monthly bill, drivers have access to more than 300,000 chargers.
What About People Who Can’t Put A Charger In?
Vauxhall’s announcement also expands on its pre-existing partnership with JustPark, which it previously announced. This deal helps more British people switch over to driving electric vehicles by making it easier for them to find convenient charging locations near where they live. People who own an electric car and have a charger that goes unused can earn extra money by renting out their charger when not in use, thus helping even more of Britain go green!
So, they seem to be working to cover not just the harder things, but all of the bases (to use an American baseball metaphor) when it comes to after-sales service. That’s pretty impressive.
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