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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This started as a response in another thread.
my bar: Were you able to eventually charge at that station? Or did you leave that station without a charge?
What you say is true. While its a low bar, its an important one. And I have never left an EA station without a charge.

Unfortunately, I think that the success of EV adoption may depend a lot on EA. In some parts of the country they appear to be the only stations on or near the interstate, particularly between cities. If you look at Texas and Louisiana on Plugshare you can see that the big cities in Texas have quite a few charging stations, probably plenty for the current saturation of EVs; but, between cities, west of San Antonio or in Louisiana period, what you have is the string of EA stations along the interstate and not much else. It would be very difficult to make a long distance driving trip in the central US without using EA. If I tell ABRP to plan a route from my home in Texas to my daughter's home in Utah without using EA it fails and can't plan a route.

Yet, I would not want to have my daughter, or my wife, to have to start a session at EA. It's too counter intuitive. Just beginning the instructions with "Ignore the display" makes asking someone who is not dedicated to electric vehicles to do an EA charge a non-starter. That and "hold up on the handle until it locks" just makes asking someone else to do it untenable.

So I am saying that I can't really advocate for EV's for long distance driving until EA gets their act together or someone comes along with a more reliable and user friendly charging experience.

What do the others members of the forum think about the importance of EA and the state of charging on the interstate system.
 

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So I am saying that I can't really advocate for EV's for long distance driving until EA gets their act together or someone comes along with a more reliable and user friendly charging experience.

What do the others members of the forum think about the importance of EA and the state of charging on the interstate system.
I tell all the non-nerds I meet that if you want a great car for everyday driving, get a Bolt. If you want to travel, get a Tesla.
 

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My beef with EA is the wonky phone APP. Why do I need to use that junk?
The EA chargers I use appear to all have RFID card readers.
At least allow customers to use an RFID card. Plug in, swipe card, charge, stop charge, unplug, go on.
Better yet, do what Ford has done and use 'plug & charge' like, wait for it.... Tesla! :) (Bolt charge speed is another story :().
 

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I will use an EA station over an existing EVGO or Charge Point station every time. It's all about charging speed. Annoying user interfaces I can handle.

Having said that, when you watch Sandy Munro struggle to charge his VOLKSWAGON ID.4 at a VOLKSWAGON controlled EA charging station, it is clear that VW really dropped the ball in a big way. Someone's head should be off.
 

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Are we sure that the difficulty with starting a charge at EA stations (including the instructions to ignore the display) are applicable in general, or mainly to the Bolt? EA came out with this video for the Bolt (and i3), which makes me wonder if the Bolt has an issue with its charging port.
 

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I will use an EA station over an existing EVGO or Charge Point station every time. It's all about charging speed. ...
Aren't there EVGO and CP stations rated for more than 50kW?
It's only 7kW or so difference on the Bolt if you find a DCFC with more than 50kW.
My experience with a few actual CP DCFC stations was 'Tap, plug, charge. In less than 30 seconds.
My experience with EA is dik with the app, wait and wait, and sometimes move to a different unit and try again.
 

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Aren't there EVGO and CP stations rated for more than 50kW?
It's a matter of locale. In my area most EVGO stations (the dominant vendor) max out at 100 amps. So being able to charge at 150A vs 100A is of course significant.
 

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Are we sure that the difficulty with starting a charge at EA stations (including the instructions to ignore the display) are applicable in general, or mainly to the Bolt?
It is mostly with the Bolt and other older EVs that weren't designed to handle the liquid cooled charge cables that are being used now. It is just an initialization problem because once the metal locking mechanism is in place the cable is secure.

I am a huge EA apologist, I won't lie. I wouldn't have an EV right now if EA didn't exist. I don't mind jumping through a few simple hoops given this is still the Early Adopter phase, it's simple enough and I wouldn't hesitate for a second letting my wife or child do it (heck, my wife is smarter than me so why would I?). I've never had an issue with EA, I've done what needs done to maximize the chance of success and it's worked. That's enough for me at this point in the game. I purchased the vehicle I did when I did, I accepted the charge rate and the charging infrastructure as it exists today. What kind of rube would I be to complain about my own decisions?

What do I think EA needs to do most? Well there's plug-and-charge, but that's on the manufacturers more than EA. I wish they would do RFID cards like ChargePoint, that would make things easier for sure. Most importantly they need to get those credit card readers working. Is EA important? Of course! Most of the country was impassable on DC before they built out at the rate they did. Would I suggest someone travel in an EV? Not if they refuse to do a bit of planning and/or are easily panicked. Someone like me though, it makes the trip a lot more fun and much less boring.
 

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EA initially had a mission to enable long trips so their focus in the early days was along Interstate routes. CP, EVGo and others mostly focussed on Metro areas. EA shifted to more of a Metro focus in Round 2, and will be a balance of Interstate and Metro in Round 3. The investments EA has made are a significant positive impact on EV travel. In my state, CP is busy installing a lot of 62.5 to 125kW DCFC, with a mix of Interstate and scenic highways. EA is already covering Interstates well in my state.

I feel the infrastructure in most parts of the region are adequate for the current level of EV adoption. I can successfully plan trips to just about anywhere I would care to drive with the exception of WY, MT, and the Dakotas. Going forward, additional DCFC along routes EA has already opened will be opportunistic, and help with demand as it increases. This past weekend, I did a 700 mile trip using EA 4 times at 3 different locations. All were successful despite a couple of failed activations, there was at least one plug I could activate each stop. At each site, there were 4-6 pedestals, and I only saw 4 other EVs. At one stop, there were 3 EVs charging (out of 4 pedestals), the others only had a max of one other EV charging at the same time.

As a sidenote, the last EA site I used (with 3/4 chargers in use), I used the CCS\CHAdeMO pedestal and chuckled as a Model X drove by and hesitated, looking disappointed, as she saw me using the CHAdeMO unit. Apparently, the Supercharger site a few miles away was backed up with holiday traffic, so this owner wanted to use the EA CHAdeMO plug. I know it sounds bad, but maybe there is a little poetic justice when CCS cars make Tesla owners lives a bit more difficult.

EA appears to be improving quality, but yes the initiation process is less than desirable. P&C will help, but it has some issues still, and legacy EV like Bolt may never be able to use P&C. EA does allow you to load your account into the Apple Wallet (Google too?), so you can use RFID on your smartphone to initiate charging. I actually prefer using the phone RFID versus hauling around a bunch of RFID cards.

CP and EVGo activation and reliability has been nearly flawless in my experience.
 

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My beef with EA is the wonky phone APP. Why do I need to use that junk?
The EA chargers I use appear to all have RFID card readers.
At least allow customers to use an RFID card. Plug in, swipe card, charge, stop charge, unplug, go on.
Better yet, do what Ford has done and use 'plug & charge' like, wait for it.... Tesla! :) (Bolt charge speed is another story :().
I use my Apple wallet for the RFID cards. I really don’t carry the plastic cards. I haven’t had an issue so far, and I think the apps are pretty simplistic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
I am a huge EA apologist, I won't lie. I wouldn't have an EV right now if EA didn't exist.
I think EA is very important, and it is quite possible that without them I would not have bought my Bolt. That is why I want them to get their act together. They are probably the best of the lot except for the possibility of having to struggle with getting the session started:
1 They are where I need charging (on the interstate system).
2 They have the best prices (especially for members).
3 They charge my Bolt at its maximum rate.

It's just so sad that such an otherwise good setup has such a bad failing that I could not recommend them to a "non-nerd".
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
CP and EVGo activation and reliability has been nearly flawless in my experience.
I have never had a problem starting a ChargePoint charger, I have used both app and the RFID card. I had one EVgo charger hiccup and abort the session so that I had to restart it. The others have all worked great. Both are often slower and usually more expensive than EA. I am hoping that EA will take their example and concentrate on fixing this problem. (And not follow their pricing example.;))

(I use Volta anytime I can find them, it's hard to beat free.:))
 

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It is mostly with the Bolt and other older EVs that weren't designed to handle the liquid cooled charge cables that are being used now. It is just an initialization problem because once the metal locking mechanism is in place the cable is secure.

I am a huge EA apologist, I won't lie. I wouldn't have an EV right now if EA didn't exist. I don't mind jumping through a few simple hoops given this is still the Early Adopter phase, it's simple enough and I wouldn't hesitate for a second letting my wife or child do it (heck, my wife is smarter than me so why would I?). I've never had an issue with EA, I've done what needs done to maximize the chance of success and it's worked. That's enough for me at this point in the game. I purchased the vehicle I did when I did, I accepted the charge rate and the charging infrastructure as it exists today. What kind of rube would I be to complain about my own decisions?

What do I think EA needs to do most? Well there's plug-and-charge, but that's on the manufacturers more than EA. I wish they would do RFID cards like ChargePoint, that would make things easier for sure. Most importantly they need to get those credit card readers working. Is EA important? Of course! Most of the country was impassable on DC before they built out at the rate they did. Would I suggest someone travel in an EV? Not if they refuse to do a bit of planning and/or are easily panicked. Someone like me though, it makes the trip a lot more fun and much less boring.
And I think the hold the handle issue was only with early Bolts. I’ve never had the problem with my 2020.
 

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When DH and I drove our new 2021 Bolt home to central NC from Fort Payne, Al., it was our first EV road trip. First time using DCFC. We charged 3 times on that trip all at EA charging stations. One station had one nonfunctional charger but all the rest of the chargers worked perfectly. We had no trouble getting the charging sessions started and the app billed us correctly. The trip and use of EA chargers gave me confidence to try another road trip in the Bolt at some point.
 

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I think EA is very important, and it is quite possible that without them I would not have bought my Bolt. That is why I want them to get their act together. They are probably the best of the lot except for the possibility of having to struggle with getting the session started:
1 They are where I need charging (on the interstate system).
2 They have the best prices (especially for members).
3 They charge my Bolt at its maximum rate.

It's just so sad that such an otherwise good setup has such a bad failing that I could not recommend them to a "non-nerd".
I think there are two big issues. One is the card readers. Until they work consistently, they'd be better off just requiring people to use the app (or at least recommending they start with the app). The other is the initial activation. As was mentioned upthread, that's largely Bolt/i3 specific.

A third issue, which unfortunately I don't think there's a fix for, is that people use the 350kW charger and are immediately disappointed when they get nowhere near to 350kW. That one is really the fault of the manufacturers - first for not enabling faster charging and secondly for not making it clear when the vehicle is charging at its fastest possible rate vs. not.

Realistically though, I don't think anybody's going to be able to touch Tesla for reliability/ease-of-use, which is kind of sad, but speaks to the overall subpar design/engineering that dominates the industry. Whoever though that the CCS (or CHaDEMO) connectors were a reasonable design should never be allowed to work on public-facing technology again.
 

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Realistically though, I don't think anybody's going to be able to touch Tesla for reliability/ease-of-use, which is kind of sad, but speaks to the overall subpar design/engineering that dominates the industry. Whoever though that the CCS (or CHaDEMO) connectors were a reasonable design should never be allowed to work on public-facing technology again.
So your ideal world is one where everyone uses their own standard, builds their own proprietary stations that are only for their own vehicles, and makes connectors that are easier to use first and properly built to handle the current requirements second or not even considered?

I disagree. A dozen incompatible standards is not my idea of a bright future for EVs.
 

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I’ve only used EV America once on the Earth Day promotion. I had no issues with using the app in my account work effortlessly. Additionally I use EV go and charge America and I’ve had no issues with any of that platforms. My city has several free clipper Creek chargers and those all work as well. What am I missing here?
 

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So your ideal world is one where everyone uses their own standard, builds their own proprietary stations that are only for their own vehicles, and makes connectors that are easier to use first and properly built to handle the current requirements second or not even considered?

I disagree. A dozen incompatible standards is not my idea of a bright future for EVs.
No, in my ideal world there would be one standard, and it would involve connectors and cables that didn't require jimmying, prying and other contortions to get to work.

Point is the Tesla connector and standard is simply a superior experience. The cables don't require special positioning of the car because they barely bend (EA is the main offender there). The connectors are straightforward to insert and remove and require a minimum of force. They use the same pins as level 2 charging. It's simply a much better experience to use.

(Of course Tesla put the outlet on the car in a dumb place, but because their cables are at least somewhat flexible, that is generally a minor annoyance rather than a major headache.)
 

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On our very first DC use was at an EA station. After a charging session that required moving twice and three phone calls, the plug wouldn't release from the car...that was 15 minutes of stress.
 
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