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Electrify America Steps In After Tesla Gives Up on Adding New DC Chargers on a Whim

Florin Amariei

May 3, 2024

Tesla had and arguably still has one major ace up its sleeve – the Supercharger network. We previously said that long journeys with a non-Tesla EV could be unpleasant because replenishing the high-voltage battery remained a challenge. Things might change now. Here's what Electrify America is planning on doing.

Tesla spent large amounts of money on fast-charging solutions before any other automaker. The marque even developed its own charging port, which is now known as the North American Charging Standard (NACS) or the SAE J3400 connector.

Initially, many believed the venture was a stretch for a company fighting to become profitable. Lo and behold, after many years of perfecting DC charging, the Supercharger network is North America's most well-known way of adding electrons rapidly without worrying about random failures, stalls not functioning properly, or the app/map not showing the status of the pedestals correctly.

Tesla's implementation was so good that it even convinced giants like Ford and GM to join forces with the newcomer who became profitable after a 17-year-long adventure in a conservative business sector.

Sadly, Elon Musk decided that nearly everyone in charge of expanding the Supercharger network had to leave. Only a few people who took care of maintenance and had to see projects in progress reach completion remained. That was a surprise for everyone, including Tesla's business partners and fellow industry friends like the Blue Oval or Rivian. Nobody expected the leader of EV charging in North America to simply call it quits.

But Tesla might have just given rivals a shot at defeating it at its own game. Fast charging can be a great business, especially if the electricity you're selling comes from renewable sources like solar, hydro, or wind. Then, there's NEVI – a $5 billion federal funding program that aims to make fast charging as convenient as filling up with gas.

Dieselgate-born Electrify America has been helping non-Tesla buyers to fast charge their rides. It even struck deals with automakers for complimentary charging sessions.

Sadly, its network didn't perform as well as the company's that gave us the Model Y. Many chargers were left offline for days even though drivers reported them. The pedestals were often mislabeled, and that confused people who tried not to occupy a 350-kW stall with their ride that can only draw power at a rate of 150 kW tops. There were also many software issues and weird corporate decisions that hindered the network's potential. Not having a dedicated team that could fix the equipment in a timely manner really was a minus.

In a nutshell, almost everyone thought Electrify America would fail because it appeared after someone got punished for their wrongdoings and didn't inspire prospective customers that something would eventually change for the better.

Well, it's 2024, and the DC charging leader just said it's tired of carrying the torch. In a surprising but welcoming move, Electrify America announced that it intends to add 25 percent more fast chargers to its American and Canadian networks by the end of 2024. That represents about 1,000 individual pedestals. The VW-owned company already has around 4,000 DC fast chargers online.

Given that Electrify America saw the number of charging sessions double from 2022 to 2023, we believe the company could have established even more ambitious targets for itself. However, that's good enough. It's great to see other companies contributing to eliminating range anxiety for good. It's also a sign that even though EV momentum has slowed down a bit, other key players are making moves in the right direction. Drivers won't have to rely only on Tesla and its network of over 15,000 individual high-power chargers.

Finally, Electrify America also upgraded many of its chargers. If you were a customer before the recent changes, maybe it's time to pay the station a visit. Your EV might be happy there.

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