Volvo Recharge models get the new new milestone for simplifying charging.
The way to get electric vehicles into the mainstream is to make everything simple. Until there are widespread charging facilities on par with gas stations, the key is to make charging stations easy to find. ChargePoint is leading that, well, charge, and seeks to provide users with a "seamless EV charging experience." The ChargePoint app recently landed in Apple's CarPlay system, but now Volvo is the first company to work with ChargePoint and get the app into its Google Android Auto OS. The first vehicle adding the ChargePoint app directly to its infotainment system is the Volvo XC40 Recharge.
The app can download directly to any Volvo using the Android Automotive system from Google Play using the 4G hotspot. The app is full-featured then adds some advanced features due to Volvo's Android Automotive integration.
Drivers can set a predetermined level of charge from the XC40, and when the battery levels reach this point, the car will shift into Park - hopefully in an appropriate setting - and a visual alert appears on the central infotainment screen to alert them of charging stations available within a half-mile radius. Then it's just a case of selecting the charging station the driver wants to get turn-by-turn navigation to.
The driver doesn't need to wait that long, though, and can just ask Google to find the nearest charger. The driver selects the charger they're at from a list and hits the "Start Charging" button. The app then communicates with the ChargePoint network and activates the charger, making it ready to be plugged in.
Perhaps the most important feature is that payment storage is stored in the app, so there's no messing around with RFID cards or other payment methods to start charging. ChargePoint also has one of the largest electric vehicle charging networks, with 100,000 places to charge in North America, and has roaming agreements with other networks.
This tech will soon roll out across various Polestar and Volvo models, and we expect the mechanically identical Volvo C40 Recharge to feature the same soon.