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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I love that EA is putting charging stations in all over the place, it will make travel so much easier... IF THEY CAN MAKE THEM RELIABLE!!!

As is, there are several problems:

1. Tech support is NOT 24/7, so if you have issues at the wrong time of day, you have to use a backup station of some kind.
1a. EA stations don't have any "built in" backup in the form of L2 charging.
1b. Tech support using "move to a different pedestal" as their first response to a problem means that a pedestal that could be brought back on line with a re-set remains off line if you move to a different pedestal and that one works.

2. A charging complex with 4 chargers that takes half an hour with tech support to get one of them operational will be reported as "successful" on plugshare... 1/4 of the pedestals at a station "sort of" working is NOT good enough.

3. Some stations have short cords... these are the GOOD ones, because the rest of the stations have EXTREMELY short cords.

4. The only payment method is via credit card, no RFID and no phone app... you can't even give your credit card info to tech support and have them turn on the station. So when the card reader is not working (at least half of them at any given moment) there is no backup method to get the pedestal running.

5. Speaking of no phone app, there is no way to know if a station is operational, plugshare as mentioned will rate it as operational if one out of 4 pedestals works with tech support... I want an app direct from EA that tells me what pedestals are in use, what ones are available for use, and what ones are broken.

5. The one ring to rule them all and in the darkness bind them (and probably cause most of the problems)? These f'ing things run on Windows 10!!!

Please feel free to add your own issues with Electrify America stations, and comments / discussions are encouraged on my above points :)

Later,

Keith
 

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Are they affordable. I've heard stories it's expensive to use. Of course, a relative term. Our Ikea has L2 chargers. They are ICEd usually, well, I've only been there twice and they were ICEd both times but that's not a good sampling. But they charge $2.40/hour to use.
 

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After hearing horror stories about several different charging providers while having 99% positive experiences, I'll have to withhold judgment until I have more personal experience using the EA sites. Hopefully, I can make one of my 500-mile trips north/south using only EA chargers soon. Should make for an interesting story.

I'll be sure to log any issues if they happen.
 

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When the EVgo network first popped up in So. Cal back in 2014, the reliability of these stations were awful. This was due to both compatibility problems with cars and with the charging units themselves. Some early Spark EVs had problems with the DC fast charger not wanting to communicate with the car. Turns out there was a problem whereby the charge connector could not fully clip in due to excessive hard plastic on the charge port preventing a solid connection being made; a work around from the community showed that sanding this hard edge on the charge port mostly resolved the problem. However, this only partially resolved EVgo problems as most of the time the charging units themselves were DOA.

As time has passed, it seems like EVgo chargers have slowly become more reliable and dependable. My guess is that in these first couple of years, EA will go through some major growing pains in working out a lot of the issues that seem to be cropping up in their systems. But like EVgo, I think eventually these problems will be ironed out. Hopefully this issue phase will be much shorter than the EVgo issue phase, considering both the DC charging hardware should be improved, and EVgo sites have multiple stations which translate to a much more redundant network.
 

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Are they affordable. I've heard stories it's expensive to use. Of course, a relative term. Our Ikea has L2 chargers. They are ICEd usually, well, I've only been there twice and they were ICEd both times but that's not a good sampling. But they charge $2.40/hour to use.
It's a $1 activation and $0.30 a minute, so your typical charge session to 55% will be about $10 to $11. Which works out to be about 11 to 12 cents a mile at freeway speeds. Not great, but it's certainly acceptable for long-distance travel.

There is talk that Electrify America will adjust the prices, but for now, that looks like what we can expect.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Are they affordable. I've heard stories it's expensive to use. Of course, a relative term. Our Ikea has L2 chargers. They are ICEd usually, well, I've only been there twice and they were ICEd both times but that's not a good sampling. But they charge $2.40/hour to use.
For a car like the Bolt that maxes out at 55 KW, they are on the expensive side. You can go 10% to 50% in 30 min for a cost of $10 plus tax, so 24 kWh for $10.00 seems a bit expensive.

The EV's coming out in the next few years that can charge at 200+ KW will be able to get 100+ kWh in the same 30 min charge session for the same $10.00, so 100 kWh for $10.00 sounds really reasonable.

Later,

Keith
 

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I agree with everything the OP said except about Windows 10. The choice of operating system doesn't really matter as long as the application works. Windows 10 is not the root cause of any Electrify America issue I ever heard of.

Right now, we are all alpha testers. Seriously, this isn't even beta quality. It's terrible.

EA seems to be more concerned with rolling out the promised stations than with whether or not the stations are actually usable.

I'm still keeping track of EA PlugShare checkins. Any successful checkin counts. This includes situations where somebody spent over 30 minutes just getting it to work.

Here is the latest data. 81% success rate is pretty sad:
 

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As long as we are complaining about charging providers, Electrify America is not the worst. I would give that distinction to Greenlots. There are Greenlots chargers all over the Southeast that have been down for months and months. Some have been down over a year and it doesn't appear that they will ever be repaired. In the Southest, there are only a handful of Greenlots chargers that work at all. Almost all of them are down.
 

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EA seems to be more concerned with rolling out the promised stations than with whether or not the stations are actually usable.
EA's business objective is to ensure that VW be in compliance with their Dieselgate penance, imposed by the previous administration. I don't think Customer Satisfaction was ever stipulated in the settlement.

When I am looking at the chart I also see that some stations have not barely been used - for months (some are yet to have their first charging session). I have already written in another thread that many of the existing EA stations are in locations where they make little, if any difference for long-range EV drivers … like next to the existing DCFC's.

VW should have been told not to spend X amount of money, but to dispense Y amount of kWh/day on average by the end of 2018, going up to Z kWh/day by the end of 2019 and so forth. They'd have figured out very quickly where to put the stations so people would use them a lot.
 

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VW should have been told not to spend X amount of money, but to dispense Y amount of kWh/day on average by the end of 2018, going up to Z kWh/day by the end of 2019 and so forth. They'd have figured out very quickly where to put the stations so people would use them a lot.
I disagree, simply because using that methodology would have placed their DCFCs inside urban concentrations (where they would be used more often) rather than along empty stretches of interstate (where they are needed the most).

Although "meeting the timeline requirements" is probably why EA partnered with WalMart and Target - it allowed them to spend less time looking for sites with parking lots and high-current feeds and then wrangling a contract with each individual site.
 

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I love that EA is putting charging stations in all over the place, it will make travel so much easier... IF THEY CAN MAKE THEM RELIABLE!!!

Start-up, large capital equipment (i.e.--not software repairable), will suffer from long time to repair in the initial stages.


EA's business model, as is EVgo and ChargePoint, is to purchase DCFC and services from suppliers such as ABB, EFACEC, BTC and others. Charging companies and equipment suppliers will define a service level agreement based on their tolerance for costs and risks. Many are publicly available. For example, ABB lists its overall service level agreement here. ChargePoint has a similar approach here.


Although each company is working to optimize its self-interest, the result to the driver is less than optimal.


When you count the steps from report to resolution, you can see why these stations could be down for days.



  1. Customer calls EA call center. As you mentioned, this is not a 24/7 service to save costs during startup. Because there is no app or simple problem reporting structure, a failure report may be delayed by a day.
  2. EA will then work with ABB, for example. ABB has a published objective to solve 60% of failures remotely, by software or updates. Expect several hours for ABB service to work through the problem. Software 'invisible' problems such as damage will probably get escalated internally at ABB, and finally dispatched to a technician.
  3. Technicians are few and installations are spread across the road network. ABB publishes an arrival time map (attached). You can see that where EVSE are needed the most, there are no technicians.
  4. The technician will probably not have the part available in their vehicle in order to save rolling inventory. Most equipment manufacturers will turn over service parts to a 3PL such as FedEX and coordinate dispatch from FedEX.
  5. If the technician is missing the part, one will be dispatched the next day to a hotel or the technician's residence. That will mean a second call for repair.
  6. If the part is not in FedEX's inventory (again, to avoid inventory costs), it will be ordered from ABB Europe.

This failure chain soon spirals up in to days or even weeks when the network has very few installations.


Think gasoline dispensers are more reliable? In a well maintained station a pump will fail every 36 days, either from a physical defect or card reader error. The saving factor is there are so many pumps available that technicians, parts, and back-ups are readily available.
 

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I disagree, simply because using that methodology would have placed their DCFCs inside urban concentrations (where they would be used more often) rather than along empty stretches of interstate (where they are needed the most).
They seem to be doing this anyway: Where I live and drive, they plopped one station at their HQ in Reston VA, within 5-10 miles from 3 or 4 other public DCFC, and another one is being built in Hagerstown MD, just across the I-70 from the EVgo and a few miles away from the ChargePoint stations.

Although "meeting the timeline requirements" is probably why EA partnered with WalMart and Target - it allowed them to spend less time looking for sites with parking lots and high-current feeds and then wrangling a contract with each individual site.
The requirement to dispense X kWh/day would have taken care of this process, too, as it would ensure everything else is optimized as well - the locations, pricing, accessibility and reliability, because every factor would go into the equation.
 

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Here is the latest data. 81% success rate is pretty sad:
Thanks again for compiling the data. It's nice to see 131 sites now under planning or construction. That is reassuring because it shows that EA is actually scaling up their operations. If these numbers are correct (and EA can maintain the pace), they'll be opening new charging locations at about twice the rate that Tesla is currently expanding their Supercharger Network. That's really impressive, and it's one reason I'll give them a pass when it comes to this initial reliability. The sheer magnitude of what they are accomplishing is amazing.

Also, I've mentioned this before, but again, I still recommend using caution determining a success rate based on data culled from PlugShare. Customers are far more likely to report a negative incident than a positive one, so successful sessions might actually be far more frequent. Really, I think only Electrify America knows their true success rate at this point. My primary concern is whether EA will get better with time. I hope they will, but that remains to be seen.

One more thing, though it makes more work for you: Is it possible for you to log success rates based on charger hardware? Essentially, it would be nice to see the relative success rates of the four different charger types:
  • ABB
  • BTC Power
  • Efacec
  • Signet
If certain charger hardware is consistently less reliable than others, it can help EA and others make future purchase decisions. And it can help EV owners choose the most reliable sites for traveling.

As long as we are complaining about charging providers, Electrify America is not the worst. I would give that distinction to Greenlots. There are Greenlots chargers all over the Southeast that have been down for months and months. Some have been down over a year and it doesn't appear that they will ever be repaired. In the Southest, there are only a handful of Greenlots chargers that work at all. Almost all of them are down.
To me, that crown still belongs to Blink. Hands down, the worst public charging provider I've ever attempted to use.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
EA's business objective is to ensure that VW be in compliance with their Dieselgate penance, imposed by the previous administration. I don't think Customer Satisfaction was ever stipulated in the settlement.

When I am looking at the chart I also see that some stations have not barely been used - for months (some are yet to have their first charging session). I have already written in another thread that many of the existing EA stations are in locations where they make little, if any difference for long-range EV drivers … like next to the existing DCFC's.

VW should have been told not to spend X amount of money, but to dispense Y amount of kWh/day on average by the end of 2018, going up to Z kWh/day by the end of 2019 and so forth. They'd have figured out very quickly where to put the stations so people would use them a lot.
You would have ended up with a crap load of stations in LA, with the rest distributed around Southern California, and the stations would have been free to use.

Worst waste of effort I can imagine.

Keith
 

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...One more thing, though it makes more work for you: Is it possible for you to log success rates based on charger hardware? Essentially, it would be nice to see the relative success rates of the four different charger types:
  • ABB
  • BTC Power
  • Efacec
  • Signet
If certain charger hardware is consistently less reliable than others, it can help EA and others make future purchase decisions. And it can help EV owners choose the most reliable sites for traveling.
It would be an excellent tool for EV users when planning trips, but we can only hope that the final purchasing decision for the charging equipment is not left in the hands of some bean counter with nothing at stake other than delivering X number of chargers under budget.

To me, that crown still belongs to Blink. Hands down, the worst public charging provider I've ever attempted to use.
You, of course, really mean On-The-Blink network.
 

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Also, I've mentioned this before, but again, I still recommend using caution determining a success rate based on data culled from PlugShare. Customers are far more likely to report a negative incident than a positive one, so successful sessions might actually be far more frequent.
I don't know if that's true or not. I think people are excited about Electrify America and want to report about it. But regardless, it's the only reliability data we have so we have to take it for what it is.

Really, I think only Electrify America knows their true success rate at this point. My primary concern is whether EA will get better with time. I hope they will, but that remains to be seen.
Yes, I wish all the charging providers would publish their data. I think we are all rooting for EA to be successful.

One more thing, though it makes more work for you: Is it possible for you to log success rates based on charger hardware? Essentially, it would be nice to see the relative success rates of the four different charger types:
  • ABB
  • BTC Power
  • Efacec
  • Signet
If certain charger hardware is consistently less reliable than others, it can help EA and others make future purchase decisions. And it can help EV owners choose the most reliable sites for traveling.
I'd be happy to do that, but I don't know if I can find that information. Some stations have PlugShare pics that show the stickers and some do not. I'll see if I can find it though. Do you know another way to figure this out?
 

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As long as we are complaining about charging providers, Electrify America is not the worst. I would give that distinction to Greenlots. There are Greenlots chargers all over the Southeast that have been down for months and months. Some have been down over a year and it doesn't appear that they will ever be repaired. In the Southest, there are only a handful of Greenlots chargers that work at all. Almost all of them are down.
Welcome to Virginia!
 

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As long as we are complaining about charging providers, Electrify America is not the worst. I would give that distinction to Greenlots. There are Greenlots chargers all over the Southeast that have been down for months and months. Some have been down over a year and it doesn't appear that they will ever be repaired. In the Southest, there are only a handful of Greenlots chargers that work at all. Almost all of them are down.
Good thing EA isn't using Greenlots for any of its stations. Wait, they are! :eek:
https://greenlots.com/electrify-america-selects-greenlots-to-develop-operating-platform-to-manage-2-billion-investment-in-coast-to-coast-network/
 

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You would have ended up with a crap load of stations in LA, with the rest distributed around Southern California, and the stations would have been free to use.

Worst waste of effort I can imagine.

Keith

This is certainly an interesting notion, but perhaps a little too speculative … let's remember that LA is not unclaimed land, where you can just show up and build anything anywhere any time. Also I don't think in LA, or anywhere else, chronically underused, arm-thick power cables run everywhere and are available for everyone.

But it's true that many of EA's chargers would indeed go into urban/suburban areas, which is what is happening now, under their current job scope.

And I think we all can agree that if EA was incentivized to move kWh rather than USD, they'd probably pay more attention to keeping all their stations - urban or rural - in good working order, and their prices - competitive.
 

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I'd be happy to do that, but I don't know if I can find that information. Some stations have PlugShare pics that show the stickers and some do not. I'll see if I can find it though. Do you know another way to figure this out?
I think PlugShare would be the best source for that. The good thing is, you could always retroactively apply the charger to the failure/success data.

What I don't know is whether EA is mixing and matching chargers. The EVgo Baker site is using two BTC Power chargers in addition to two ABB Terra HP (which were added to the two ABB Terra 53 chargers that were already in place).
 
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