autoevolution
 

Heads Up, Non-Tesla EV Owners! Some Electrify America Stations Will Limit Deep Charging

Electrify America DC Pedestal 40 photos
Photo: Electrify America / autoevolution edit
NEVI Federal Charging Investment PlanNEVI Federal Charging Investment PlanNEVI Federal Charging Investment PlanNEVI Federal Charging Investment PlanNEVI Federal Charging Investment PlanNEVI Federal Charging Investment PlanThe charging station of the future, according to Electrify AmericaThe charging station of the future, according to Electrify AmericaThe charging station of the future, according to Electrify AmericaThe charging station of the future, according to Electrify AmericaThe charging station of the future, according to Electrify AmericaThe charging station of the future, according to Electrify AmericaThe charging station of the future, according to Electrify AmericaThe charging station of the future, according to Electrify AmericaEA DataElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsElectrify America Charging StationsEA App Message
Many EV owners who chose something else other than a Tesla had to make do with what Dieselgate-born Electrify America and other high-power charging networks with CCS plugs offered them. But now, North America's second-most important DC fast-charging provider is limiting some people's charging sessions to 85 percent. There's a good reason for that.
Electrify America informed its customers that it would start a "congestion reduction pilot." Don't worry; it's unrelated to the Texas blackout. That happened because of Hurricane Beryl. Those who have solar installations with batteries and a charged EV with vehicle-to-load functionality are surely feeling smug at the moment. They're the only ones with power until utilities can restore everything.

Electrify America's pilot program is happening in California. There are 10 stations where EV owners won't be able to charge to 100 percent at a high-power dispenser. The VW-owned company wants people to stop hogging pedestals and move their cars after they add enough electrons into the high-voltage batteries.

To someone who is not used to zero-tailpipe emission mobility, that can sound like there's a shortage of electricity or that the grid can't handle the ever-growing number of EVs on the road. That's not the case, though. Also, EVs account for under one percent of all the passenger vehicles registered in the US.

The problem is related to the lack of DC fast chargers with CCS plugs and most cars' charging curves. While the number of high-power pedestals continues to grow (despite cable theft), the high rate at which most EVs can continue to accept electrons won't be considerably improved anytime soon. Cell technology is improving, but not as fast as it is desirable.

The charging station of the future, according to Electrify America
Photo: Electrify America

Some things to remember

Typically, an EV replenishes its battery the fastest when it's been preconditioned in advance, and the state of charge (SoC) is around 10 percent. That's when something like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 can reach a peak speed of close to 250 kW and hold it from around 30 percent SoC up to 55 percent SoC.

In reality, that translates to a 10 to 80 percent charging time of around 20 minutes. It's certainly not as fast or as convenient as filling up with gas, but a break of not even half an hour can enable a single-motor rear-wheel-drive 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 5 owner to travel around 270 miles (435 kilometers) before having to recharge.

The problems start to appear when some EV owners want to do deep charging sessions. Currently, most automakers use a battery management system that limits how fast their high-voltage energy storage units can be charged above an 80 percent SoC. That decision prolongs the battery's life.

Charging an EV is like trying to fill a stadium with people. When the first 10 percent of the spectators arrive, things happen slowly. Nobody's in a rush to find their seat. As more and more people arrive, things start to warm up because most are rushing to find their assigned spots. At 50 percent capacity, navigating the halls and the many rows of seats is still easy. But as the stadium is nearly full, those who arrive late have a hard time getting to their spot.

NEVI Federal Charging Investment Plan
Photo: myenergi on Unsplash
That's mas o menos what goes inside a battery. Every electron tries to find its place within a cell. When all the other "spots" are occupied, it becomes more complicated to "arrive" where there's an opening. It takes longer.

Almost every EV, with the exception of those with lithium iron phosphate batteries, should be charged to around 80 percent maximum for daily use. When it comes to storage, it's recommended to leave the EV with at least 50 percent "in the tank." The many different chemistries in use today are pretty sensitive. It's best to keep them at an acceptable SoC.

If the battery depletes because it can consume energy in the background, it could get damaged beyond repair. Let's just say that the cathode doesn't like the absence of electrons. Fret not; you could leave it plugged into the typical household socket and limit the charging level to around 55 percent.

Here's what's going to happen

Now, back to Electrify America's plan. The VW-owned company will automatically stop the charging session once the SoC reaches the 85 percent threshold. The EV owners will then have 10 minutes to find parking elsewhere. Otherwise, they will be charged idling fees.

Electrify America Charging Stations
Photo: Electrify America
The 10 high-power charging stations are all in California. You can find them in the press release below. The company plans to observe how this exercise plays out. It'll monitor the stations and what EV owners have to say about it. We might see some slight changes along the way.

However, if this pilot program is extended across North America, then some stand to lose. There are people who only charge at these DC dispensers because they can't do so at work or home. Then, we have others who own rides, such as the Audi e-tron GT. While not boasting impressive range on a full battery, the 800V architecture enables these EVs to take full advantage of 350-kW pedestals. They also have a great charging curve, meaning they can still pull electrons at around 80 kW even when the SoC is above 85 percent.

But in a moment in time when the main connector type is about to change, the charger software is unreliable, some enjoy free battery replenishing sessions, thieves are cutting cables because they want the copper inside them, electricity prices are all over the place, non-Tesla EV owners are getting access to Superchargers, some Tesla owners prefer charging with an adapter outside the Supercharger network, and there's still no federal clarity regarding the complete phase-out of internal combustion engine-powered vehicles, Electrify America's pilot could bring a temporary solution to long queues and ameliorate the frustration many might experience while looking for a DC pedestal.

Finally, maybe Electrify America should implement this type of limitation only when the stations are overcrowded, like during peak hours. But at least something's being done. It remains to be seen what will come of all this.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
Press Release
About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
Full profile

 

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories