In a recent announcement, Electrify America says it has made some serious improvements that should improve the user experience. The app has been improved somewhat, and the network itself has also gone through some upgrades.
When I went in to take a look at the app improvements, I had a tough time seeing what the “Out of Service” banner would look like. Why? Because I scrolled around and couldn’t find any stations that were out of service. But, I wrongly assumed that the app would put the message where we usually see “Full” on the map pin. As it has always been, stations out of service are grey on the map, and when you click on one, the banner shows up.
The ability to report issues has also greatly improved. Instead of needing to describe the problem (which can be tough for people who don’t understand EV charging all that well), you can pick from the most common problems. This, in turn, makes it easier for Electrify America (and Electrify Canada) to understand what’s going on and decide whether to send a technician out. As long as a technician actually goes out and parts are available, this should help greatly.
Important Network Improvements That We’ll Have To Wait & See About
In some past articles, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that Electrify America’s oldest stations were in a pretty bad state. Not only have we seen bad reliability at the oldest generation of stations, but we’ve also started to see (very, very rarely) some cars getting fried by the stations when they delivered too much power. But, what many people might not be aware of was that power modules back behind the fence were going up in smoke.
*Launguage Warning* – This looks to be the older EA installed Signet chargers exploding fuses and smoking. TikTok from contracted service personnel on site, links below. According to this account there’s a massive inspection / replacement campaign happening country wide. pic.twitter.com/YyfUvHYUHC— Rate Your Charge (@RateYourCharge) December 30, 2022
The (now former) service technician who shared this video was obviously frustrated with the experience and downright afraid to work on the equipment. It made sounds like a cap gun, put out a lot of smoke, and he said that he had seen this before. So, these oldest modules were not only not holding up well under heavier use in places like California, but they also were becoming dangerous.
So, it’s a big, big deal that Electrify America managed to source some modules. Hopefully the new modules are improved in some way, but even if they aren’t, replacing them probably buys a couple of years for the whole stations to be replaced with new generation equipment.
Another big one is idle fees. Will these encourage more people to get their cars out of the way so other people will be able to charge? Hopefully. But, we don’t know whether fear of idle fees will result in people not unnecessarily charging to 100%.
Finally, I’ll have to get over to an Electrify America station sometime soon and test the improved start charge feature. The nearest ones to my house are about 50 miles away, so it will be a while before I’m going to stop in there and see how it works. But, if you’re near one and want to test it out, be sure to let us know in the comments or on social media how it has changed!
Featured image by Jennifer Sensiba.
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