On Wednesday, EVgo announced that it is extending plug & charge support to all CCS EVs with its new Autocharge+ feature. This means that EV drivers who have vehicle and payment information set up in the EVgo app will simply be able to plug in and start charging without having to activate the charger with the app or swipe/scan a credit card.
“EVgo believes every step of the charging experience must be convenient and easy, including locating and reserving a charger, finding nearby shopping and experiences, and now with Autocharge+, seamlessly initiating a charging session,” said Ivo Steklac, Chief Technology Officer at EVgo. “The modern digital technology we’ve built is making charging an EV even simpler than fueling up at a gas station. Autocharge+ is game-changing just like mobile wallets and same-day delivery have become, once again demonstrating EVgo’s leadership in delivering cutting-edge charging services for EV drivers.”
This announcement builds on top of EVgo’s June announcement of plug & charge support for GM electric vehicles with DC fast charging capability. After signing up just once, GM customers can conveniently use fast charging on the EVgo network. The charger and car work together to securely match the driver’s vehicle with their EVgo and GM brand app accounts. To enroll, GM customers first need to register their vehicle in the GM brand app (myChevrolet, myGMC, myCadillac), then link their EVgo account and activate Plug & Charge within their GM brand app.
Now, drivers of non-GM EVs can do something similar. The availability of Autocharge+ to all drivers with a compatible CCS EV is made possible by the launch of Autocharge+. The Cadillac LYRIQ, Chevrolet Bolt EV, Chevrolet Bolt EUV, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Ford F-150 Lightning, Genesis GV60, GMC Hummer EV, Hyundai Ioniq Electric, Hyundai Kona Electric, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia Niro Electric, Kia EV8, Mercedes-Benz EQS, Polestar 2, Subaru Solterra, and Toyota bZ4x are among the vehicles that are Autocharge+ compatible.
AutoCharge is only available to EVgo clients. Existing and new customers must join their EVgo vehicle by going to the vehicle section, adding or selecting their EV, and requesting to enroll via the app for existing and new customers. Drivers must then connect into an EVgo charger to finish the process.
How Does It Work?
If your electric vehicle is enrolled in Autocharge+ and has a CCS connector, it will be able to send a unique identifier to EVgo’s charging station so the EVgo network knows it’s you, and knows that you’ll be paying the bill for the charge. This idenitifer will work similarly to your EVgo program card (the one that you scan at the station if you’re not using the app). Once the station gets that signal, charging sessions will automatically begin, so you can spend more time running errands or relaxing instead of worrying about starting the charging process.
Setting It Up
To see what Autocharge+ looks like, I fired up my EVgo app on my phone to check it out. The first thing I had to do was update my vehicle in the app, which still had my Nissan LEAF in it. Sadly, that vehicle (if I hadn’t traded it in) wouldn’t be compatible with Autocharge+ because it’s a CHAdeMO car and EVgo only provides this for CCS vehicles.
After adding my Bolt EUV to the app, I then went to the payment methods section and updated that. But, I didn’t see the Autocharge feature like on EVgo’s website. It turns out that because I hadn’t used the app in a while, it didn’t get updated automatically. So, I went to the Google Play store to get the latest version of the app.
When I opened the app, it had me verify my phone number and my email again, presumably because they need the app to be more secure if they’re going to use your financial information the way Autocharge+ does. After doing that, the app didn’t just ask me for the year, make, and model of my vehicle. It offered to scan my VIN number, which I went ahead and did because I know it needs that for Autocharge+. It wouldn’t scan my windshield VIN, but it was able to scan the sticker in the door jamb (manual entry is also available).
But, when I went to the vehicle section, it informed me that I can’t use the EVgo app to enroll my vehicle. Linking with the myChevrolet app is still required for my vehicle (or, if you have another GM brand EV, you’ll need that brand’s app). It was hard to figure out how to do this in the myChevrolet app, but in short, go to the “energy” screen and click the three dots at the top, and that’ll bring up a menu with a “public charging services” button where you can link your EVgo account.
If you don’t have a GM vehicle, you need to finish your enrollment at a fast charging station. When you plug your vehicle into the charging station, it communicates its own identity to EVgo, after which it connects itself to your EVgo account. You’re now ready to go! That means whenever you connect your car to the EVgo network, it will begin automatically using the unique ID.
What About Fraud?
One thing I saw come up on social media was that some people are concerned about the feature being used to rob them somehow.
To avoid fraud, EVgo says it has set up several security processes. For example, if the time, location, and state of charge (SoC) are impossible or improbable, the session will be stopped. Customers will then receive a notification about potential fraud and they’ll have to confirm before Autocharge+ can continue. (For instance: If your account is used in California to start a charge and then 10 minutes later it’s used again to start a charge in Ohio , this would be flagged as potential fraud.)
As long as you’re signed up to receive messages from EVgo, you’ll always get notified when an Autocharge+ session starts.
EVgo also recommends you contact the EVgo Charging Crew right away if you suspect a session that pops up in your app wasn’t started by you. You can call 877-494-3833 for 24/7 assistance for this or any other needs.
This Is Fixing To Be A Much Bigger Deal Than It Is Today
While there are many EVgo stations, EVgo’s recent deal with GM and Pilot/Flying J truck stops means that they’re going to be an even bigger player, especially for highway travelers. Having plug & charge capabilities for all CCS EVs makes them a lot more convenient to use, which is great for drivers.
But, this is only one area where the industry is finally catching up to Tesla. There’s a lot more to do.
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.