- Electric car charging network EVgo has debuted Autocharge, which will recognize registered electric vehicles (EVs) and initiate automatic charging. EVgo becomes the first North American charging network to offer the technology, which has been used in Europe.
- Autocharge is being rolled out to members of Maven Gig, the General Motors (GM) electric car-sharing service. According to a press release, the service will be available nationwide by the end of 2019 to all EVgo members with a CCS charger-compatible vehicle.
- "This technology not only further simplifies the EV charging experience, but also eliminates much of the hassle associated with RFID-card management." Frank Marotta, Jr., Maven's electrification project lead, said in a statement.
EVgo, which operates more than 1,100 fast charging stations across the U.S., had previously partnered with Maven Gig on a dedicated charging network for the fleet. Now that partnership is expanding to automatic charging, which will remove the need for customers to open an app or access a payment card.
The news comes as cities and utilities are exploring new and more efficient charging options. New York City is piloting technology from German company Ubitricity that will convert light poles into EV chargers, technology also being explored in Europe. Startup ChargeWheel has raised $1 million for a network of EV charging trailers. Sprint has worked on a self-driving charging unit that would power up cars in parking lots. Oslo, Norway is even installing wireless fast-charging infrastructure for its taxi fleet, which will allow the cabs to charge while waiting at taxi stands.
Accessible and fast charging infrastructure is necessary to reaching widespread adoption of electric vehicles, and new tools like Autocharge can help convince car-buyers that they won’t encounter problems with range (the services can also be used to help support electric taxi fleets, who have struggled with a lack of chargers). They will require cities to keep up and ensure that charges can all work together, and avoid making costly installations for technology that could become outdated.