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Electrify America Tests Out Blocking EV charging at 85 Percent to Reduce Wait Times for Users

Un Genesis GV60 au chargement | Photo: D.Boshouwers
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Derek Boshouwers
For the time being, the pilot project involves limiting EV charging to 85 percent at 10 charging stations in California.

Electrify America has just announced a pilot project aimed at reducing waiting times at EV charging stations. The aim is to ensure that more motorists can take advantage of the services and to reduce the frustrations associated with long wait times.

To achieve this, the charging infrastructure provider will limit charging to 85 percent. Once at that level of charge, motorists will have to move on.

Take note that this is an Electrify America pilot project and does not involve Canadian counterpart Electrify Canada. The project will initially involve 10 stations in California. If it proves successful, the idea could be replicated across the continent.

Here’s how the company’s pilot project works:  When a vehicle reaches the 85 percent charge level, a 10-minute timer will start. If the user hasn't removed the vehicle from the charger at the end of that 10 minutes, they will be charged an idle fee.

Une station du réseau Electrify America
Une station du réseau Electrify America | Photo: Electrify America

Some may find the measure extreme, but others will applaud it. Many EV owners have stories of arriving at a charging station to find a car recharged but still occupying the space and hogging the charger, with no owners in sight.

It’s also worth remembering that EVs charge at maximal speed only up to about 80 percent of charge, when charging speed slows down dramatically to preserve the battery’s long-term health. For users, there’s little to be gained by spending extra time at a public charging point to get that 20 percent of charge. It’s why automakers – and automotive journalists – always refer to charging time needed to charge an EV from 10 to 80 percent.

Here's a simple example, provided by Autoblog. A Kia EV6 will take around 16 minutes to go from 10 to 80 percent charge. It would take another 15 to 20 minutes to go from there to 100 percent - a lot of time for a vehicle to spend at the station to recover just a little more charge.

The stations chosen for the pilot project are in high-traffic locations in California, where EV use is most widespread. Electrify America says that for those who need a 100 percent charge to reach their destination without having to stop again, other charging stations can be found nearby, with no limits on the percentage of recharge.

The pilot project is due to be launched this month. We'll be keeping a close eye on consumer reaction.

Derek Boshouwers
Derek Boshouwers
Automotive expert
  • Over 5 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 50 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 30 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists