91% of Electric Car Chargers Are Making a Big Change

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AFP PHOTO/ODD ANDERSEN

If you charge an electric vehicle away from home, chances are you have multiple accounts and apps from various providers of Level 2 and fast charging services. This system has complicated the lives of EV drivers and made plug-in adoption less practical overall. With the new ROEV Association of automakers and charge station providers announced at the Los Angeles Auto Show, however, 91% of public chargers will soon be accessible under a single account without roaming fees for users.

BMW and Nissan joined Chargepoint, NRG EVgo, and CarCharging/Blink as the founding five members of ROEV, which will make over 17,500 charge stations (of a total 19,000) accessible under one membership, according to a statement by the group. Comparing the system they created to ATM cards that may be used in any cash machine, the plan is to eliminate the confusion and app-juggling many EV drivers deal with looking for a charge.

In addition to BMW and Nissan, two founders with pure EVs on the U.S. market, Audi and Honda have joined ROEV, as have SemaConnect and Portland General Electric. According to Erin Mellon, communications director at ChargePoint, more automakers and electric car stakeholders are being encouraged to join the association and promote adoption.

Mellon told Autos Cheat Sheet the goal is to allow access to any station under the banner of the ROEV without drivers getting hit with additional fees. Individual station owners will still set the fees determining charging rates, and they sometimes vary widely. However, ensuring drivers will have access without opening a new account is a huge step for the industry.

The announcement followed offers from Ford and BMW guaranteeing free charging for new plug-in consumers of certain models.

DC Fast Charge BMW i3 VW e-golf

Source: BMW

Ford is offering three years of free Level 2 charging for 2016 C-MAX Energi buyers in California and Maryland through the EVgo network, the automaker announced November 17. The following day, EVgo and BMW announced a partnership that would add hundreds of DC Fast Chargers to the existing network and give new i3 buyers two years of free access in 25 major U.S. cities.

Despite the downplaying of charging infrastructure’s importance by groups like Drive Oregon, getting more fast chargers and Level 2 chargers in public would make owning an EV far easier for consumers in urban areas. The push to add more stations and increase availability of rapid charging will contribute to plug-in drivers getting more all-electric miles.

ROEV’s founders and partners should make this process run more smoothly with the association they created, and it appears 91% of the existing chargers will not be the end of the network’s reach. Along with more efficient EV batteries and more stations, simplified network access is going to ease range anxiety a bit more for pug-in drivers across the country.

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