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Electrify America’s Congestion Reduction Pilot Limits EV Charging to 85% at Busy Stations

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Electrify America is implementing a plan to potentially reduce waiting periods at its high-traffic locations by stopping electric vehicles from charging to full capacity.

Under the Congestion Reduction Pilot program, EA is focusing on a number of "high utilization station" spots in Southern California, where it's capping the DC fast-charging at a maximum state of charge of 85%.

In contrast to traditional vehicles that run on gasoline and refuel at a consistent pace until the pump automatically stops, electric vehicles (EVs) do not recharge at a steady rate. Typically, it can take as long, if not longer, for an EV to charge from 80% to full capacity as it does to reach that initial 80%. The specifics can vary based on the EV's battery design and the type of charging station, but essentially, this charging approach is adopted to protect the battery cells from overheating and ensure their longevity.

Therefore, for those managing charging stations, as well as electric vehicle owners queuing up during peak times, halting the charge at 85% could significantly reduce wait times.

The trial program, initiated at the start of July, is an independent venture by Electrify America, as conveyed to Green Car Reports, aimed at minimizing overcrowding. The company mentioned that the selected sites were identified based on their "frequent utilization, extended queuing durations, and the closeness to alternative charging sites for customers desiring a full charge."

The company stated that it has improved access to charging stations through penalties for inactivity, upgrades to equipment, and the expansion of station sizes. However, they acknowledged that certain locations are still facing extended delays.

Charging stations by Electrify America

Electrify America came into being following a settlement with Volkswagen over diesel emissions, involving both federal and California authorities. In its latest and final phase, the company has undergone increased examination in California concerning its dependability. While the firm does not link this trial to its dependability efforts, it is actively collecting input on the effectiveness of the imposed limit at select stations. It is also assessing the impact of this limit on traffic and wait times. Based on the outcomes, the company may consider expanding the trial to more stations.

According to the details provided by EA on their pilot program, charging stations will automatically stop charging a vehicle once it hits the 85% battery threshold. The network, which transitioned to pricing based on individual station locations in 2023, imposes additional charges if a vehicle remains idle after a 10-minute leeway. These charges will remain in effect as usual, as mentioned by the network.

Despite Tesla cutting a significant portion of its Supercharger staff, the company's chief executive Elon Musk has announced intentions to invest half a billion dollars in expanding the Supercharger network within the year. Additionally, Electrify America has highlighted its own expansion goals, aiming for a 25% increase by 2024.

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