It's chargers have been given new names designed to make the charging process easier to understand.
Let's be honest - a vast percentage of drivers aren't gearheads and own cars simply because they need to get from point A to point B. Many don't know what size engine their cars have or even whether the front or rear wheels are powered. With this in mind, it's understandable that complex names for driver-assistance features and new, electrified technologies are lost on many. Electrify America and Electrify Canada realize this, and the companies have attempted to make the EV charging experience simpler with new names and updated labels for different chargers. Assuming that the charger you want to use actually works, the new naming convention should improve the experience and is intended to set a universal standard.
Electrify America, which currently has 3,500 ultra-fast chargers at 800 stations, will have charging points to be known as Chademo (stylized as CHAdeMO), Ultra-Fast, and Hyper-Fast. Chademo chargers have blue labels and can deliver up to 50 kW, Ultra-Fast chargers are teal-colored and can deliver up to 150 kW, and Hyper-Fast chargers are green-colored with a power delivery of up to 350 kW. It must be said that the colors for the two faster chargers could have been more distinct from each other if ease of comprehension was the goal, but at least there are other ways to tell one charger apart from the next.
There are three bolt icons to make the selection easier: one bolt will be highlighted for Chamedo chargers, two are highlighted for Ultra-Fast chargers, and three are highlighted for the Hyper-Fast chargers. For those who prefer numbers to colors and words, the charging speed is still indicated.
Using a Hyper-Fast charger, a compatible EV like the Hyundai Ioniq 5 can go from 10 to 80% state of charge in around 18 minutes. Looked at another way, this charger can add about 20 miles of driving range per minute of charging. The Ultra-Fast charger is currently compatible with more EVs and adds approximately 9 miles of range per minute.
Electrify America made these changes based on extensive user research that highlighted a need to simplify overly complicated terminology. Other features include connector icons that match the charging port of your EV, an NFC reader to improve the payment process by tapping your phone, and a QR Code to access educational material relating to charging your vehicle. Another label to look out for is "Balanced" on selected chargers. These chargers can charge at both Ultra-Fast and Hyper-Fast speeds and consist of two chargers side-by-side but with a single Power Cabinet.
"If two EVs are charging at the same time, each on Balanced chargers, but the first EV requires a much lower level of power, the chargers will Balance the energy dispensed to provide the maximum level of charging power that the lower-power vehicle will accept," said Electrify America in a statement. In addition, the second charger will provide power to the higher-powered EV of the two at an output it is compatible with.
"We want to help make the transition to EV charging easier by translating kilowatt ratings into simpler names like Hyper-Fast and Ultra-Fast with corresponding colors to help them make a selection at a charger," said Robert Barrosa from Electrify America and Electrify Canada. "It's important that we continue to educate everyone on how easy public charging can be, ensuring consumer comfort with making the switch."
The new Electrify America labels will start to appear this fall, as will the Balanced chargers. However, Canadians will have to wait until 2023 to take advantage of the Balanced chargers.