Electrify America, the electric vehicle charging company that is a subsidiary of Volkswagen, has announced plans to install new “human-centric” charging stations in several cities in California and New York, with canopies at solar panels and a lounge-like waiting area. The company is also rolling out a slimmer, redesigned EV charger aimed at improving the customer experience.
The new multi-charging stations will be installed in several cities in 2022 and 2023, including Santa Barbara, San Francisco, San Diego and Beverly Hills, as well as in the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York.
Charging an electric car is not as simple as filling a gas tank. Charging times may vary by vehicle type and power source. Battery experts say charge times will eventually drop to around 10 minutes, but not for years.
In the meantime, Electrify America aims to make charging as comfortable and smooth as possible. The company’s new stations are organized around comfort, safety and convenience, with a nod to the time it takes to charge an EV. Electrify America says the goal is to create “a more inviting transition to an electric vehicle lifestyle from a traditional gas station.”
“These new designs will help improve the charging experience for our customers, building on the foundation of our ultra-fast and reliable coast-to-coast network,” said Giovanni Palazzo, President and CEO of Electrify America management in a statement.
The most notable change to Electrify America’s current design is the inclusion of solar panel canopies, which have the dual effect of protecting customers from the sun and weather while providing power for the operations of the station. The company says it is currently adding solar canopies to 400 to 500 individual chargers at 100 charging stations across the country. It already has solar canopies at its flagship charging stations in Baker and Santa Clara, California.
The customer lounges of the redesigned charging stations will include dedicated event spaces. On-site cameras and additional lighting will help provide a sense of security for owners of EVs charging at night. And those stations built near stores can offer valet charging and curbside delivery options, Electrify America says.
The company has also started rolling out a redesigned EV charger with a slimmer profile and newly simplified controls. Super-fast chargers with up to 150 and 350 kilowatts of charging power stand almost 8 feet tall, with recessed screens to help reduce sun glare.
And finally, Electrify America said it will deploy on-site battery storage systems at 150 chargers across the country in an effort to help manage grid energy load and capture excess solar power as much as possible. possible. “The momentum toward an electric transportation system is accelerating, with consumers increasingly finding electric vehicle choices from virtually every manufacturer,” Palazzo said.
The US charging experience is extremely fragmented, especially for people who don’t own a Tesla. While Tesla’s Supercharger network has been hailed for its seamless user experience and fast-charging capability, the opposite seems to be true for just about everyone. There are approximately 41,000 public charging stations in the United States, with over 100,000 outlets.
The Biden administration recently announced a five-year, $5 billion plan to bolster the country’s patchy electric vehicle charging network, tapping into funds that were approved as part of the bipartisan infrastructure law signed into law by the Biden. last year.
Urban policy and electrification experts said that the money allowed for a national network of electric vehicle chargers would have a measurable impact on Americans’ car buying choices. A more reliable charging network will likely help drive electric vehicle sales in the United States over the next decade.
Other companies are trying to build more parlor-style EV chargers, but it has been slow. In 2018, Tesla filed a permit with the city of Santa Monica for a possible “Tesla Restaurant and Supercharger Station,” a possible nod to Elon Musk. dream to build a 1950s-themed charging station, complete with rockabilly music and roller skates.