GM, Pilot, & EVgo Made The Best EV Charging Station I’ve Visited Yet

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Numbers can only take you so far. It’s easy to compare numbers and specifications in a table, crunch them in a spreadsheet, and tell people that you know about something. But, in the real world, there’s a difference between knowledge and wisdom. Facts and figures can give you some knowledge, but you can only gain wisdom through experience.

This is basically what I experienced recently at the first operational EV charging station from GM’s partnership with Pilot/Flying J truck stops and EVgo to install 2,000 charging stalls at 500 locations across the United States. I decided to use one just outside of Knoxville, Tennessee along I-40.

Don’t get me wrong, though. The specs are great at these new stations.

On top of hundreds in planning, construction, or completion, the sites offer speeds of up to 350 kW for vehicles that can pull that much power from them. That alone means either fast charging of smaller batteries or reasonable charging times for big batteries like we’re seeing in the trucks and SUVs with the biggest batteries now.

Another big thing these stations have going for them is the layout. They’re all under canopies, giving both the stations and the people using them protection from the sun and the rain. Most, but not all, of them are laid out with pull-through spaces, so it’s easy to charge up and get going again without having to hook up a trailer or hassle with trying to find a way to pull up without unhooking.

Perhaps more importantly, the station has a nice, long cable that can reach EVs of any plug configuration/position, and hooked up to a trailer or not. This alone was hugely convenient compared to older Electrify America and most Tesla stations.

The stations themselves, run by EVgo, are capable of plug and charge. Even my Bolt EUV was configured for that, so I only needed to plug the vehicle in to charge. Using an app or a credit card isn’t a big deal in most cases, but this extra bit of convenience is nice.

Another big thing was the amenities. At the station itself, there were squeegees and fluid, just like at a gas station. So, I was able to clean off my windshield without needing to go over to the gas station side. That might seem like a small thing, but when you consider that Pilot/Flying J truck stops have clean bathrooms, showers, food, and a variety of drinks, it’s a nicer place to spend a few minutes than a Walmart parking lot or some random shopping center in a big city that isn’t close to the highway.

Between all of these things, it was a station that I can honestly say was the best one on my 1800-mile trip. Everything was easy, effortless, comfortable, and hassle-free.

About the only downside to the station was the cost of using it. EVgo prices are high compared to most other EV charging stations, and even with a discount I get from having a Lyft driver account it was 57 cents per kWh! But, the much better charging environment makes it worth a few extra bucks to use.

Images by Jennifer Sensiba.


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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1999 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba