Posted on November 05, 2018 by Matt Pressman
One of the great things about owning a Tesla is that you have a simple and easy charging experience when you’re on the road. A Supercharger is a Supercharger, whether you’re heading down I-95 to Florida or taking I-10 across the desert to California. Pity the poor owners of ordinary EVs, who have to contend with a patchwork of different charging networks, each requiring their own user accounts and RFID cards. If that doesn’t elicit any sympathy, pity the Tesla owner who occasionally needs to use a non-Tesla charger, only to find that it requires a card from some network they’ve never heard of.
Above: Tesla Model S stops at a ChargePoint spot (Image: Teslarati)
Someday in the near future, most or all of these networks will be linked together, just as cell phone networks are today, and EV drivers will be able to top up at any public charger, using a single card (or none) and a single account. That day recently drew a whole lot closer, as ChargePoint and FLO, two of the largest charging networks in the US and Canada, respectively, formed a roaming partnership designed to create a seamless charging experience across North America.
Much as mobile phone roaming enables user-transparent connections between cell networks, ChargePoint and FLO members can now access public chargers on both networks with no need to register for multiple accounts.
Drivers can simply use their existing network account to locate a charging station, start a session via the ChargePoint or FLO mobile app, and begin charging. The participating networks have agreed to levy no additional fees, and all transactions and taxes are handled on the back end according to each country’s tax laws. As of the launch date, more than 33,000 public charging spots were available across both networks.
This roaming agreement is based on the Open Charge Point Interface (OCPI) protocol, which enables network operators to exchange key information needed to provide roaming services, such as charging station location, status and rate. OCPI also streamlines billing settlement, while ensuring the privacy of driver account information.
Above: Tesla Model 3 owner uses her iPhone X to access ChargePoint's "Tap to Charge" feature (Youtube: ChargePoint)
“For more than a decade, ChargePoint has been committed to developing charging solutions that make it easy for EV drivers to charge, and this agreement builds on that to help enable the mass adoption of EVs,” said Pasquale Romano, CEO of ChargePoint. “These experiences are good for EV drivers and simultaneously benefit station owners by increasing utilization of charging spots.”
“As electric mobility continues to gain traction, it is essential that industry leaders work together to optimize the charging experience,” said Louis Tremblay, CEO of FLO. “This collaboration furthers our engagement to offer the best experience in the EV charging ecosystem, and will ultimately convince more people to choose electric mobility.”