EVgo Gives All EVs Plug & Charge Capabilities With Autocharge+

On Wednesday, EVgo announced that it is extending plug & charge support to all CCS EVs with its new Autocharge+ feature. This means EV drivers who have vehicle and payment information set up in the EVgo app will be able to simply plug in and start charging without having to activate the charger with the app or swipe/scan a credit card.

“EVgo believes that every step of the charging experience should be convenient and easy, including locating and reserving a charger, finding nearby shopping and experiences, and now with Autocharge+, seamless initiate a charging session,” said Ivo Steklac, Chief Technology Officer at EVgo. “The modern digital technology we’ve built makes charging an electric car even easier than filling up at a gas station. Autocharge+ is game-changing, just like mobile wallets and same-day delivery have become, once again demonstrating EVgo’s leadership in delivery of advanced charging services for electric car drivers.”

This announcement builds on EVgo’s June announcement of plug & charge support for GM electric vehicles with DC fast charging. After signing up just once, GM customers can easily use fast charging on the EVgo network. The charger and car work together to securely match the driver’s vehicle with their EVgo and GM brand app accounts. To sign up, GM customers must first register their vehicle in the GM brand app (myChevrolet, myGMC, myCadillac), then link their EVgo account and activate Plug & Charge in their GM brand app.

Now drivers of non-GM EVs can do something similar. The availability of Autocharge+ for all drivers with a compatible CCS EV is made possible by the launch of Autocharge+. Cadillac LYRIQ, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Ford F-150 Lightning, Genesis GV60, GMC Hummer EV, Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Hyundai Kona Electric, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia Niro Electric, Kia EV8, Mercedes -Benz EQS, Polestar 2, Subaru Solterra and Toyota bZ4x are among the vehicles that are Autocharge+ compatible.

AutoCharge is only available to EVgo customers. Existing and new customers must connect to their EVgo vehicle by going to the vehicle section, adding or selecting their EV and requesting enrollment via the app for existing and new customers. Drivers must then connect to an EVgo charger to complete the process.

How does it work?

If your electric vehicle is enrolled in Autocharge+ and has a CCS plug, it will be able to send a unique identifier to the EVgo charging station, so the EVgo network knows it’s you and knows you’re paying the bill for the charge. This identifier will work in the same way as your EVgo program card (the one you scan at the station if you’re not using the app). When the station gets that signal, charging sessions begin automatically, so you can spend more time running errands or relaxing instead of worrying about starting the charging process.

Setting it up

To see what Autocharge+ looks like, I fired up my EVgo app on my phone to check it out. The first thing I had to do was update my vehicle in the app, which still had my Nissan LEAF in it. Unfortunately that vehicle (if I hadn’t traded it in) wouldn’t be compatible with Autocharge+ because it’s a CHAdeMO car and EVgo only provides this for CCS vehicles.

After adding my Bolt EUV to the app, I then went to the payment methods section and updated it. But I didn’t see the Autocharge feature like on EVgo’s website. It turns out that because I hadn’t used the app in a while, it wasn’t updating automatically. So I went to the Google Play Store to get the latest version of the app.

When I opened the app, it prompted me to verify my phone number and email again, presumably because they need the app to be more secure if they’re going to use your financial information like Autocharge+ does. After doing that, the app didn’t just ask me the year, make and model of my vehicle. It offered to scan my VIN, which I went ahead and did because I know it needs it for Autocharge+. It wouldn’t scan my windshield VIN, but it was able to scan the sticker in the door frame (manual entry is also available).

But when I went to the vehicle section, it informed me that I cannot use the EVgo app to register my vehicle. Linking to the myChevrolet app is still required for my vehicle (or, if you have another GM brand of EV, use that brand’s app). It was hard to figure out how to do this in the myChevrolet app, but in short, go to the “energy” screen and click the three dots at the top and it will bring up a menu with a “public charging services” button , where you can link your EVgo account.

If you do not have a GM vehicle, complete your enrollment at a fast charging station. When you connect your vehicle to the charging station, it communicates its own identity to EVgo, after which it connects to your EVgo account. You are now ready to go! This means that every time you connect your car to the EVgo network, it automatically starts using the unique ID.

What about fraud?

One thing I saw coming up on social media was that some people are concerned that the feature is being used to rob them in some way.

To avoid fraud, EVgo says it has created several security processes. For example, if the time, location and state of charge (SoC) are impossible or improbable, the session will be stopped. Customers will then receive a potential fraud notification and must confirm before Autocharge+ can proceed. (For example: If your account is used in California to initiate a charge and then 10 minutes later is used again to initiate a charge in Ohio, this will be flagged as potential fraud).

As long as you are signed up to receive notifications from EVgo, you will always be notified when an Autocharge+ session starts.

EVgo also recommends that you contact the EVgo Charging Crew immediately if you suspect that a session appearing in your app was not initiated by you. You can call 877-494-3833 for 24/7 assistance for this or other needs.

This is becoming a much bigger deal than it is today

While there are many EVgo stations, EVgo’s recent deal with GM and the Pilot/Flying J truck stop means they will become an even bigger player, especially for highway travelers. Having plug & charge capabilities for all CCS EVs makes them much more convenient to use, which is great for drivers.

But this is just one area where the industry is finally catching up to Tesla. There is much more to do.


 

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