Comparing coverage of Electrify America and EVgo and Tesla

Let’s suppose you are going to fly to Dulles, rent an EV, and drive to Charlottesville, VA.  How do three major EV-charging service providers compare for geographic coverage along this route? 

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Let’s start with Electrify America. Near Dulles airport (map at right) are several EA charging stations.  A few minutes along the way in the direction of Charlottesville is a single lonely charging station, offering 7 CCS charging plugs with charging speeds of 150 to 350 kW.  But as you can see on the map, for most of the 206-mile round trip, there are no EA stations.  A further drawback to EA is that EA fails to provide “plug and charge” for many of the EV makes that you are likely to receive at a car rental agency (for example Chevy Bolt, Kia, Polestar, or Tesla).

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Now let’s turn to EVgo (map at right).  Its charging stations are notably slower – a mere 50 kW.  And there are fewer plugs at each station — 2 or 4 plugs instead of the 7 plugs mentioned above for EA.  But EVgo does actually have charging stations in Charlottesville, which EA does not.  And EVgo has “plug and charge” for many common rental EVs including Chevy Bolt, Kia, Polestar, and Tesla.  The small number of plugs per station is not an idle concern — just now when I clicked around on the EVgo web site, 11 out of the 12 charging plugs located at the four stations tagged in the map were occupied.

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We now turn to Tesla’s charging network (map at right).  As one might expect, no matter where you might be along the driving route, a Tesla charging station is not far away.  Each charging station has 8 plugs.  Most of the stations offer 250-kW charging speed, which is notably faster than the EVgo speeds.

Each of the 250-kW stations marked on the map is an upgraded V3 station, meaning that it offers “plug and charge” not only for Tesla cars but also for some non-Tesla cars (for example Ford).

The previous two times that I flew to Dulles and rented an EV, I was able to pick a Tesla for the rental.  But for this upcoming trip, no Teslas are available (Hertz has sold off tens of thousands of its Tesla cars).  What I will do for this trip is suck it up and rent a non-Tesla vehicle.  I will use the EVgo app to enroll the rental car in the EVgo “plug and charge” network.  (Perhaps more realistically I will try to enroll the rental car in the EVgo network.  See blog article about enrolling in the EVgo network.)

The hotel where I will be staying in Charlottesville has a couple of free-of-charge Level-2 chargers within a five-minute walk.  They are slow even by Level-2 standards (a mere 6.2 kW) but if I get lucky maybe I will be able to do one or two overnight charges, in which case I will not care how slow it is.  And the price is right.  (You can see how it worked out with these free-of-charge chargers — see blog article.)

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