But with over 1,700 charging stations (and counting), the Supercharging network is the undisputed champion. The latest available Department of Energy data shows Electrify America has half that many charging locations – 839. However, Electrify America is arguably more important than Tesla's Supercharger because everyone with a CCS port can use the former, while the latter is meant for cars with the NACS port. The Magic Dock solves this issue, but it's far from becoming common.
Thus, if you buy an EV that's not a Tesla and want to fast charge for long journeys or weekly commuting needs, Electrify America will be your best bet. That's why the VW-owned network is vital for the success of automakers that went with the CCS port and, at the same time, may be one of the reasons for which Ford decided to implement Tesla's charging solution.
A reality checkSome Electrify America users have trusted the charging network's stalls to work correctly. Still, a couple of unlucky ones lost their cars due to various issues like the charge port overheating. Other troubles like being unable to unplug, seeing sparks or smoke when plugging in, and having their EVs bricked by the charging station have also led to zero-tailpipe emission drivers questioning if they should visit an Electrify America location.
Besides all these unfortunate situations, having Tesla fans and investors laugh at what other EV customers must deal with… Well, it just added salt to the wound.
But the worst thing about relying on a fast-charging network is how it can ruin one's plans when it cannot deliver what it promised. That's what happened to the Out of Spec Motoring team that attempted an EV Cannonball record with a Lucid Air – a car capable of sucking the energy out of the grid at a fast rate. It didn't work out in the end because charging hiccups hindered their efforts. This can make many Americans wonder about the reliability of an EV when they might have to drive one on longer journeys. It can also increase frustration in those who have already joined the zero-tailpipe emission lifestyle and did so believing charging would be as easy as filling up with gas.
But besides being necessary for the U.S., Electrify America must also ensure it remains profitable for its shareholders. Suppose it misses this giant wave of federal funding. In that case, it may allow Tesla to further cement its championing position. It'll only lead to losing more customers and even the partnerships it has made with various automakers like Hyundai.
Never lose hopeHowever, we believe that the charging network born out of the Dieselgate saga will find a way to succeed. And it starts today, with Rob Barrosa taking over as CEO and president.
He has 16 years of EV infrastructure experience. Barrosa previously occupied the Vice President of Technology role at the company, where he oversaw the team of engineers and dealt with implementing technical capabilities. One could argue that he wasn't very good at ensuring that everything ran smoothly charging-wise as VP, but becoming CEO with that much knowledge about the company's operations is poised to be at least a tiny bit helpful in overcoming the current challenges.
He said a dedicated service team is now available and "quickly reacts" to these user-reported issues. However, the man simultaneously admitted that more work needed to be done. Barrosa may have confused the name of the Rivian R1S by calling it "RTS," but he acknowledged that the availability of Electrify America stations must be increased while also eliminating other problems like not charging right as the plug is put into the port. That's what's needed of him anyway.
It's the start of a new era at Electrify America, and we couldn't be more excited about the prospect of having one of the nation's largest charging networks go through the right changes.