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Here’s How One Network Will Boost Charger Uptime


Aug 10, 2023

The goal is nearly 100% reliability, with ChargePoint even planning to use AI to monitor chatter on social media.

  • ChargePoint, which operates 243,000 chargers in North America and Europe, has launched a Network Operations Center (NOC) that will monitor stations 24/7, aiming for faster technician response.

  • The network will use machine learning and Natural Language Processing to monitor big data feeds to identify non-working chargers, helping speed up response.

  • ChargePoint has joined the National Charging Experience Consortium (ChargeX Consortium), which aims for a federal uptime level of 97%.

In the early years of the EV era, finding a charger while attempting modest trips was easily the main concern for early adopters. And by that we mean cross-state or cross-town trips, rather than cross-country trips.

Now, about a decade later, the main issue with EV charging stations is avoiding ones where the majority of chargers don't work, lest you end up in a line behind several other EVs just to get enough juice to make it home. Indeed, there is range anxiety, and then there's broken charger anxiety, which you don't hear that much about from automakers.

ChargePoint, which operates 243,000 chargers in North America and Europe, now has a new strategy to address charger reliability, with the aim of achieving a nearly 100% uptime. And it features something that perhaps should have been created a long time ago: a Network Operations Center (NOC) that will monitor stations 24/7, using applied machine learning and predictive analytics to detect non-working chargers, thus helping achieve faster technician response.

"Accessible, reliable EV charging plays a critical role in the ongoing shift to electric mobility, and our Network Operations Center is prepared to ensure reliability at scale in support of EV adoption," said Rick Wilmer, Chief Operating Officer at ChargePoint.

The NOC became operational in late July of this year, with ChargePoint having designed software that allows for constant communication between stations and the center. Thanks to this system, the company will be able to notify station owners quicker, and accelerate repairs on behalf of the owners.

The center will also use machine learning, or AI, along with Natural Language Processing tech to monitor social media and big data feeds to identify non-working chargers. The company says these diagnosis measures will permit faster, 24-hour responses (at least for ChargePoint Assure Pro customers), allowing the company to solve some issues even before the owner of the station notices a problem with one or more of the chargers.

"We are improving the charging experience across the entire ecosystem—network, installer, site host, and app user—to ensure every driver who needs a charge has the best possible charging experience," Wilmer added.

In addition, ChargePoint is creating a training and certification program for contractors in an effort to boost the effectiveness of repairs and charger installation.

ChargePoint says its North American network currently offers 96% uptime.

Earlier this year the federal government took an interest in charger reliability, with the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation creating a National Charging Experience Consortium (ChargeX Consortium), of which ChargePoint is a partner.

The goal is an uptime of 97% for EV chargers, and it will be a federal requirement, with the consortium planning to create a centralized data platform for charger glitch reporting, among other efforts.

While the issue of charger reliability won't be solved overnight, station builders are taking steps to address a problem that is rapidly becoming bigger than the geographic coverage of stations. At least in major EV strongholds.

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