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Electrify America is Redesigning its Future EV Charging Stations to Provide a More Customer-Focused Experience

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【Summary】Virginia-based electric vehicle charging operator Electrify America unveiled a new design for its future EV charging sites, which includes design improvements to offer a more customer-focused, hands-on charging experience. Electrify America says the redesigned EV charging sites will exceed electric vehicle (EV) customer expectations as more drivers transition to electric mobility.

Eric Walz    Mar 24, 2022 10:00 AM PT
Electrify America is Redesigning its Future EV Charging Stations to Provide a More Customer-Focused Experience

Virginia-based electric vehicle charging operator Electrify America unveiled a new design for its future EV charging sites, which includes design improvements to offer a more customer-focused, hands-on charging experience. The company says the redesigned EV charging sites will exceed electric vehicle (EV) customer expectations as more drivers transition to electric mobility. 

Electrify America aims to build the largest DC fast charging network in the U.S., eventually exceeding the size of Telsa's planned Supercharger network.

Electrify America calls the newly designed charging sites "The Charging Station of the Future, Today". The locations will feature updated design and comfort elements, such as solar canopies and awnings, comfortable customer waiting areas and other customer-focused services at select locations.

Electrify America will showcase the new designs with installations in 2022 and 2023 in select new flagship charging facilities in the California cities of Santa Barbara, San Francisco, San Diego and Beverly Hills, and in New York within Manhattan and Brooklyn. 

Electrify America's current flagship charging stations are located in Baker, California and Santa Clara, California.   

"Electrify America will be reinventing the look and feel at many of our charging stations to meet and exceed the expectations of customers moving from a gas-powered vehicle to an electric lifestyle," said Giovanni Palazzo, president and CEO of Electrify America. "These new designs will help elevate the charging experience for our customers, building on the foundation of our ultra-fast and reliable coast-to-coast network."  

The bold and innovative designs offer comfortable spaces focused on enhancing the human experience, according to Electrify America. The company says the sites will use "spatial, behavioral and emotional layers" that create a dynamic new environment for electric vehicle charging. 

Electrify America received feedback from customers and insights from trend research and leading architecture and construction consultants to create the new designs for the charging locations.

Other touches include customer lounges, electric vehicle showcase areas, dedicated event space, overhead solar canopies to shield customers from the sun or rain, on-site security cameras and additional lighting. Electrify America said that some charging stations located at select shopping destinations may offer valet charging and curbside delivery options for customers. 

Solar Awnings  

Electrify America is currently adding solar awnings to 400-500 individual chargers at 100 charging stations across the country. In addition to providing shelter from the sun and weather elements, the energy captured by the solar awnings will be utilized to help power the station's operations.   

The company has already installed solar canopies at its flagship charging stations in Baker and Santa Clara, CA. The solar energy from these solar canopies is also routed to the onsite battery energy storage systems onsite, capturing energy to help charge electric vehicles. 

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Next-Generation Electrify America Chargers 

Electrify America will also begin the rollout of a redesigned electric vehicle charger with new functional and design features to simplify the customer experience. The ultra-fast chargers with up to 150 and 350 kilowatts of charging power will keep Electrify America's familiar green glow with heights of 8 feet. 

The next-generation chargers have a smaller footprint, so more can be installed at each location. The new chargers also feature a recessed and brighter screen to help reduce the glare from sunlight making it easier for customers to view the operational instructions. In addition, each charger uses a single connector cable with a new cable management system to make its easier to plug in.

Electrify America is also expanding the deployment of onsite battery energy storage systems (BESS) to more than 150 EV charging stations. The energy storage systems are designed to help manage the energy load to the grid and capture excess solar energy when possible. 

"The momentum moving us closer to an electric transportation system is accelerating with consumers finding more and more choices of EVs from virtually every manufacturer," Palazzo said.  "Our customer research shows the need to transition to a more inviting charging experience that accommodates the human experience with waiting areas and other conveniences." 

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The new look of the Electrify America EV Charging Station in Santa Barbara, California.

Electric America was born out of the Volkswagen "dieselgate" scandal of 2015, in which the automaker admitted to tampering with emission control devices to mask higher than permitted greenhouse gasses from its diesel-powered models. The fallout severely damaged Volkswagen's reputation. 

As part of the retribution for its admission of guilt, Volkswagen founded Electrify America in 2017 as a catalyst to promote the adoption of zero-emissions, electric vehicles in the U.S.

Over a ten year period that began in 2017 and ends in 2027, Electrify America is investing $500 million every 30 months on infrastructure and education programs in the U.S. designed to speed up the adoption of EVs by offering convenient charging options for drivers of battery-powered vehicles.

Electrify America is also partnering with automakers to offer their customers free charging, including Lucid Motors, Kia, BMW, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Fisker Inc and others.

Last month, automaker Kia and Electrify America announced a partnership that will give Kia EV6 buyers 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of complimentary EV charging at any Electrify America station in the U.S.  

According to Kia, the agreement between the two companies will provide EV6 drivers around 3,500 to 4,000 miles of all-electric driving at no cost, depending on the vehicle's powertrain options and various driving conditions.

Kia customers can access the complimentary chargers using the Electrify America mobile app. Customers will receive an enrollment code to sign up for the free charging through the owner's portal or the Kia Access App after the EV6 owner enrolls into Kia Connect, the in-car telematics system.

BMW also announced a similar deal with Electrify America last month. In partnership with Electrify America, BMW is offering two years of complimentary charging sessions to buyers of BMW's new electric vehicles, which begins on the date of purchase.

The EV charging program will launch with the sale of BMW's all-new iX xDrive50, BMW i4 eDrive40 and BMW i4 M50 electric vehicles. BMW customers will have access to complimentary charging at more than 3,000 Electrify America chargers across the U.S. 

Electrify America is focused on building a "future proof" EV charging network consisting almost exclusively of newer ultra-fast chargers, which are set to become the industry standard. Many newer EV models are capable of reaching an 80% charge in under 30 minutes using a DC fast charger. Some of the redesigned stations will offer up to 20 ultra-fast DC chargers.

Some of the new models that accept DC fast-charging are the Audi e-tron, Rivian R1T, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Lucid Air, Volkswagen ID.4 SUV, Chevy Bolt EV, Nissan Leaf, as well as the Tesla Model 3, although Tesla owners get access to Tesla's own EV charging network.


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