HomeElectric CarsElectrify America charging limit is being set to 85%; here's why

    Electrify America charging limit is being set to 85%; here’s why

    Electric vehicles are becoming more popular by each passing day. More and more people are switching from gasoline powered vehicles to the environment friendly EVs.

    But with the rise in number of electric vehicles on roads, some issues have also surfaced. One such issue is that of long queues witnessed at fast charging stations, especially during busy hours or weekends.

    In this blog post, we will deep dive into a new pilot program launched by a major EV charging network to help combat this problem of congestion at EV charging stations.

    Electrify America charging limit is being set to 85%

    We will share all the important details about the program and how it aims to make the charging experience better for EV drivers. So read it till the end to learn everything about this new and interesting development.

    Electrify America’s New Pilot Program Limits Charging to 85 Percent to Reduce Congestion

    Electrify America, one of the largest EV charging networks in the USA, has announced a new pilot program called ‘Congestion Reduction Pilot’. Under this program, the network will be limiting the battery charging level to only 85% at 10 of its select stations located in Southern California.

    These stations were chosen because they often witness long queues of electric vehicles, especially during weekends or holidays. Once an EV battery reaches 85% state of charge, the charging session will automatically end and drivers will have 10 minutes to move their vehicle from the charger.

    This is aimed at reducing the average time an EV spends at a charging station. Around 75% of EVs see a significant drop in charging speeds beyond 80% state of charge.

    So this new limit is expected to allow more EVs to charge at busy stations in the same amount of time. Approximately 18 months will be taken to properly test this pilot program before reaching any conclusions. Customer feedback will also be collected to make necessary changes, if required.

    Pilot Program to Start in Southern California with 10 High-Utilization Stations

    Electrify America charging limit

    The pilot program by Electrify America will initially be tested at 10 stations located in Southern California. These stations experience some of the highest usage on the charging network.

    About 75% of EVs on an average do less than 40 miles of daily driving and can charge slowly at home for most use cases. However, in busy areas and long-haul routes, the demand increases significantly at public fast charging stations.

    By monitoring these 10 stations closely, Electrify America hopes to gather important data around driver behavior and actual impact of the new 85% charging limit policy. Based on the results, more stations may be included or some changes can be made before a wider nationwide rollout.

    10-Minute Grace Period Before Idle Fees Begin After Reaching 85 Percent Charge

    To ensure quick turnover of vehicles, Electrify America has implemented a 10-minute grace period under the pilot program. This means that once an EV reaches 85% charge, it will get a 10-minute window to be moved from the charging stall by the driver.

    Post this duration, idle fees will start to apply in case the vehicle is still occupying the charger. This is aimed at discouraging practices like topping off batteries to 100% and remaining idle at charging spots for extended time periods. The idle fees are expected to incentivize prompt movement and help reduce long queues which sometimes stretch up to an hour during peaks.

    The 85% charge limit has been set by Electrify America keeping in mind lithium-ion battery technology and its thermal requirements. Most EVs undergo rapid deceleration of charging speeds once the battery level crosses 80%.

    Electrify America charging limit 85%

    This is done by the vehicle’s Battery Management System (BMS) to prevent overheating and extend the lifespan of expensive battery packs. Charging from 80% to 100% can often take 30-40% more time than reaching 80% alone. By ensuring faster turnover with the 85% rule, more drivers can take advantage of the faster initial charging phase for their road trips.

    Impact on EV Drivers Needing Full Charge on Road Trips and Alternative Solutions Provided

    The 85% charging cap under the pilot may impact some drivers undertaking long road trips and requiring a full charge. However, Electrify America states they are only testing this program at select stations which have alternate nearby charging options available to fully charge batteries.

    Drivers can use other public or private chargers in the vicinity to power up to 100% needed for their journeys. Electrify America is aiming to gather feedback and make necessary changes to address any driver concerns. Their goal is to ensure most everyday charging needs are met efficiently while also reducing queues witnessed by around 12% of customers previously.

    Comparison Between Public and Private EV Charging Experiences

    While public fast chargers see maximum utilization for road trips, studies show private charging accounts for the majority of electric miles added. Approximately 94% of charging is done non-commercially at homes and workplaces where EVs are parked idle for long durations.

    Electrify America new charging limit

    This allows patient slow charging without congestion issues. Public networks experience peaks and need footfall management to guarantee service for customers in transit. Electrify America’s pilot focuses only on their busiest stations to efficiently cater to the near 6% public charging requirement with minimum wait times. Some best practices EV owners follow to avoid congestion include –

    • Charging only when needed.
    • Monitoring station utilization via apps and choosing less busy timings.
    • Fast charging only on long trips and relying on overnight slower charging otherwise.
    • Avoiding topping off beyond 80% unless required.
    • Using multiple stations for better distribution of vehicles.

    With mutual cooperation and such responsible usage habits, high utilization spikes at key networks can be reduced benefiting all drivers in the electric mobility ecosystem. You can keep visiting the Auto Freak website as we will continue to share such stories and will keep you updated with more such news.

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