Public charging networks have been coming in for their share of criticism lately. Recent studies from UC Berkeley, J.D. Power and Plug In America (among others) have quantified what EV drivers already know: the uptime performance of public chargers is abysmal. As EV sales have grown, accounts of malfunctioning chargers have spread from bitch sessions on PlugShare to articles in the mainstream press. Naturally, the anti-EV crowd has seized the opportunity, citing the unreliability of public chargers as yet another reason that we’d better just stick with gas-burners.
Electrify America, which claims to be the largest DC fast charging network in the US (along with its sister company, Electrify Canada), is taking proactive steps to help improve the charging experience. “Customers need to be able to count on the convenience, reliability and speed of our charging stations to help instill range confidence as drivers transition to an EV lifestyle,” says the company, asserting that its “cross-functional system strives to identify, diagnose and resolve impacts before the customer interacts with the charger.”
EA’s quality and customer satisfaction initiatives include:
- A Roaming EV Test Fleet that performs more than 20,000 tests of chargers each year: “Each of our 3,500 individual chargers at 800 charging stations in the US and Canada are tested almost every two months. The company deploys nine teams of inspectors who complete a full checklist to ensure our chargers will provide a quality experience to our customers. We work to help ensure that each charging cable and all payment methods will provide a high-quality charge. The inspectors utilize a fleet of electric vehicles to perform charging tests. In addition, they inspect the stations to ensure all equipment and aesthetics are in top working order, including the chargers, power cabinets, transformers, lighting, parking and more.”
- Network Operations Center: “This ‘mission control’ room is in operation 24/7, monitoring our network performance in the US and Canada around the clock. We strive to ensure drivers always know that we are here for them to support all charging experiences.”
- Customer Contact Center: “Designed to help with the simplest question or a more technical challenge to help give our customers the ability to enjoy the many benefits of driving electric. The contact center has linguists available to respond in 240 languages and dialects.”
- Center of Excellence Test Lab: “The Center of Excellence technology team is able to test network updates, new charging standards, new and existing software/hardware, and the charging capabilities of pre-production and prototype electric vehicles prior to market launch, as well as to diagnose and solve issues seen on the networks.”
Source: Electrify America