If you own an electric car, or know anything about them, you’ll know about the certain stigma of range anxiety. It’s a term folks with poor planning skills (like myself) use to criticize the limited range of an electric car. And while charging networks are expanding, they’re still not quite as robust as the tried and true gas pump. But Electrify America, home to the largest fast-charging network in the states, just made it easier than ever to find a charging station while on the go.
Electrify America just teamed up with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
Most new cars rolling off the assembly line are featuring Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, with exceptions like the base model Mitsubishi Mirage. But even the cheapest electric cars, like the 2022 Nissan Leaf, all come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Making it the perfect way for Electrify America to integrate a universal, built-in database of electric car chargers.
From the in-car app, you’ll be able to locate and navigate to nearby charging stations. It’ll calculate your car’s estimated range, and find charging stations within your area. That way, you never have to worry about running out of juice before you get there, the car already knows exactly how far it can go. But on top of that, you can start and stop the charge session from your car (just don’t forget to unplug).
The Electrify America app will even link up with your free EV charging plan, such as FordPass. That means you don’t have to pay for electricity when using the app if you’re already on a plan. So even though there are brand-affiliated chargers, that could very soon change.
Brand-afilliated charging stations might be phased in favor of universal ones
We mentioned FordPass, which includes Electrify America charging stations under its umbrella. And the Electrify America initiative itself is funded by Volkswagen. But they also have charging stations for their own cars, and are developing software to track their cars. According to Green Reports, GM is also developing a phone app to do exactly what this Electrify America in-car app can do.
But using a phone app isn’t useful while you’re driving. In most cases, it’s simply illegal. Electrify America’s strategy to build their software into cars means that it can be operated safely, even while in motion.
And automakers like Tesla are making their electric car charging stations universal. Originally, only Teslas could charge on a Tesla gird, but adapters will soon go on sale. This not only ensures everyone can charge their car from anywhere but increases business for whoever owns the stations.
Comparing electric car chargers to gas pump infrastructure
Think of it this way: imagine you’re driving your car and pull into a gas station. But for one reason or another, your gas type isn’t available. Only certain cars can fuel up at that station, and yours simply can’t.
If you drive a car that requires premium gasoline, then that may be a slight concern. But for the millions of Americans on the road, any gas will do. And I’ve had no trouble finding premium gas in the middle of nowhere either, it’s not exactly scarce. The point is, you can roll up to any Wawa or BP and fuel up, and we speculate that, someday, the same will be true for electric cars.
It wouldn’t make sense to cut a large portion of the market out. Sure, Ford sold 2.3 million cars in 2019 according to Statistica, but that’s half of the 4.7 million cars sold in America. They can either keep their charging network to themselves or double their revenue by opening them up to others. Seems like a no-brainer to me, though I’m no economist.