Electric-vehicle drivers know all too well something that drivers of gas-powered cars and trucks may not be aware of: Public charging is more complicated than gassing up at the nearest gas station. That there are fewer charging stations than gas stations is only part of the reason — different stations can require different apps and ID cards.
To make things a little easier, 2023 Volkswagen ID.4 drivers will be able to simply plug in at Electrify America charging stations, and their SUV will immediately begin charging.
In the interest of information security, most public EV chargers do not have credit card readers, instead requiring drivers to create prepaid accounts or carry ID cards to access different charging networks. Imagine having one credit card or app that only worked at BP gas stations — and was the only payment they accepted — a separate one for Mobil stations, and so on.
Once an EV is plugged in at a charger, there can be numerous hurdles to clear before the juice starts flowing.
Soon, 2023 ID.4 owners can have their car automatically begin charging after they plug in at an EA station. This so-called Plug&Charge capability is a new communication protocol that dictates encryption measures that allow the car and charging station to communicate and verify payment information without the driver taking additional steps with ID cards or apps.
VW already gives ID.4 buyers three years of complimentary 30-minute DC fast-charging sessions on the EA network; this should streamline their use of the perk. Owners simply have to activate the Plug&Charge feature in their EA app, meaning it will be available to current ID.4 drivers as well as future buyers.
With over 4,000 public DC fast chargers spread across more than 900 locations, Electrify America is the second-largest fast-charging network in the U.S. behind Tesla’s Supercharger network. Measures like Plug&Charge that ease use of the nation’s disparate charging infrastructure are critical to making long-distance EV travel (relatively) practical.