We speak with the leader in EV charging to find out how Fisker Ocean owners can benefit from Electrify America’s charging network.
Today, we had an opportunity to connect with the leading EV charging network in the United States. We got to learn more about Electrify America and their nationwide charging solution and how it will work with your Fisker Ocean. If you’re not familiar with Electrify America, they offer the most public fast charging stations in the United States.
At the end of 2019, Fisker and Electrify America announced a partnership, but we haven’t heard much about since then. As a result, we took advantage of an opportunity to interview Electrify America’s Rob Barrosa, Senior Director of Sales, Business Development & Marketing, to ask some of your most pressing questions.
Q&A with Electrify America
Below is a list of questions from our readers and members of the Fiskerati Forums. We hope that this written interview will provide new Fisker Ocean owners helpful information as they embark on EV ownership. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
What tips can you provide a new Fisker Ocean owner (or EV owner) around EV charging in general?
What is most important for EV owners to understand are the various types of charging and at what speed their vehicle’s battery is compatible with:
Home charging – EV drivers can use either a slower Level 1 charger, which works with standard household outlets, or a Level 2 charger, which is faster but requires installation of a 240V outlet. Electrify America’s home charging solution is HomeStation, which can charge 6.8 times faster than a Level 1 charger.
Public charging – EV drivers can also use public charging, but it’s important to understand the different speeds when charging on the road. Electrify America and Electrify Canada offer two power levels:
- Hyper-Fast: Indicates power delivery of up to 350 kW, which can provide about 20 miles of driving range per minute of charging depending on the EV’s charging capability.
- Ultra-Fast: Indicates power delivery of up to 150 kW, which can provide about 9 miles of driving range per minute of charging depending on the EV’s charging capability.
EV owners may also wonder how to locate a public charger. Various resources are available for reference – including individual charging company apps like Electrify America’s, the U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels Data Center and general apps like Open Charge Map and ChargeHub. EV drivers can also use vehicle infotainment systems to help plan routes.
Is Electrify America working on implementing Plug&Charge for the Fisker Ocean? If not, how will we pay for charging? When will Plug&Charge be available?
That is a question for Fisker. Electrify America is the first open charging network to make Plug & Charge technology available to multiple automakers who choose to enable the feature on their vehicles. It allows a registered vehicle to begin a charge without reaching for a wallet, smart phone or bank card.
Customers with Plug & Charge enabled vehicles may use this feature at any Electrify America station. Customers can also pay for their charge through the Electrify America app or by credit card at an Electrify America charger.
Will Electrify America be providing real-time station availability data that will show up on the vehicle’s nav screen like the Fisker Ocean?
Customers who sign up through our mobile app can view real time data and access through CarPlay and Android Auto in compatible vehicles.
The ABB Units in the Electrify America network have had significant compatibility issues with Rivian while the Signet units are working pretty well. Are you completing compatibility testing with ABB, Signet, BTC, and other units to ensure they will work with the Fisker Ocean?
Electrify America continues to commit to quality and customer satisfaction, which is why our Center of Excellence is such an integral part of our testing process. The Center of Excellence technology team is able to test network updates, new charging standards, new and existing hardware, and the charging capabilities of pre-production and prototype electric vehicles prior to market launch – as well as diagnose and solve issues seen on the Electrify America network.
Ever consider having one standard universal app where we can load our credit cards and not have to have a special app for every charging network? At the very least, allow credit card payments right at the chargers. Has this been explored? (e.g., similar to a gas pump)
Electrify America already allows for payment by credit and debit card at chargers allowing for access for those without the app. We also offer contactless payment via our mobile app – drivers can simply download the app, sign up for a membership and simply tap the charger or swipe the phone screen to initiate payment.
When installing new locations, 350 kW stalls are important for long distance highway driving. Do you plan to add more over time vs 150 kW?
We recently announced our next generation charger with Balanced technology, which will enable all of the new chargers to be capable of delivering up to hyper-fast 350 kW speeds. This means increased access to 350 kW capability with no more searching for dedicated hyper-fast 350 kW chargers.
Balanced chargers are typically located side-by-side and share a Power Cabinet with a maximum delivery of 350 KW. The Balanced technology distributes power amongst EVs during charging, as different EVs have different maximum charging limits. For example, if two EVs are charging at the same time, each on Balanced chargers, but the first EV requires a much lower level of power, the chargers will Balance the energy dispensed to provide the maximum level of charging power that the lower-power vehicle will accept. At the same time, the second charger may allocate the remaining power to a second, higher-powered EV at the output that it can accept.
Locations with 8 stalls or more are better so there is less crowding, especially if some units are not working. Do you plan to add more stalls to existing locations or develop new locations with at least double the stalls?
Earlier this year, we announced our vision for the charging station of the future, and some of these showcase stations will feature up to 20 DC fast chargers. We plan to install them throughout the rest of this year and in 2023 in Santa Barbara, San Francisco, San Diego and Beverly Hills, California and in New York within Manhattan and Brooklyn. Currently, we have a flagship charging station in Santa Clara, California with 14 stalls.
We are also exploring upgrading some of our existing stations to expand the number of available charging stalls.
How is Electrify America alerted when stalls/chargers are down to get them back online? What is the turnaround time to repair chargers out of service?
We are first alerted of network/charging site issues through our 24/7 Network Operations Center. We also gather information through our 24/7 Customer Contact Center, EV roaming team and social media listening with all alerts converging at our Network Operations Center. Our team distills the information received to identify trends, root cause, and take corrective actions.
Turnaround time for repair will vary on the charger’s location and issues needing to be resolved.
Through customer service, social media, and more, we are listening and executing an aggressive plan of action to help rectify and improve the overall charging experience.
Also, now that Tesla is opening their network and has a very good track record with reliability and decent pricing, how does Electrify America plan to compete and win?
Electrify America is the largest and most powerful open DC fast-charging network in the U.S., and our network has been available for nearly every EV on the road since our inception. In 2021 alone, we powered 1.4 million charging sessions or five times the sessions in 2021 and avoided 5.7 million gallons of gas.
For pricing, we will continue to offer competitive rates and overall savings. In most cases, Electrify America offers kilowatt-hour (kWh) pricing, depending upon the state where the EV is charged.
As for reliability, we are fully committed to making the charging experience as easy, intuitive, and seamless as possible while expanding our footprint to have more than 1,800 total charging stations with over 10,000 chargers in the U.S. and Canada by 2026. We’re taking measures that ensure we’re prepared to address issues with expediency by:
- Strengthening and adding more tech capabilities to our internal teams and have significantly expanded Customer Service, Performance Engineering, and Service Operations.
- Monitor our stations through our 24/7 Network Operations Team and EV roaming test fleet that checks each station in our vast network about every two months.
- We are adding additional in-house expertise and reducing the number of external vendors.
We’re also taking more control of the product to drive higher reliability and continuous improvements by:
- Increasing the diagnostic data to better support the product and be proactive.
- Building a new network management system to increase our capability, quickly identify issues and patterns and take quick action,
- We are launching a nationwide campaign to upgrade early technology chargers, with the replacement of 300+ chargers with our Next-Generation charger.
- Built and trained our service team across the U.S. and Canada to be proactive as well as reactive.
How do you identify where to put your chargers within a community? (e.g., at a Target, Home Depot, etc.)
When Electrify America is determining sites for new charging stations, data and analytics help determine the locations that will be most convenient for customers – including stations right off highways and interstates and in popular public places consumers already frequent, like shopping malls and grocery stores.
We look at several factors when deciding where to put our charging stations, like where EVs actually are or soon will be, and of course, nearby amenities – so drivers can conveniently complete daily tasks like grocery shopping or dining and enjoy entertainment while their vehicle charges. Once a location is identified, we secure permits to begin construction, and work with utility companies to power our stations.
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