Electrify America to begin limiting charging to 85% to reduce wait times

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Electrify America just announced a “Congestion Reduction Pilot” program with hopes of getting cars on and off chargers in a more timely manner to ultimately reduce wait times. The idea: A state of charge limit of 85%.

As Electrify America explains, certain stations – beginning with just 10 in California – won’t let you charge an EV beyond 85%. As soon as it hits that number, the charger will automatically stop charging, and the 10-minute grace period begins. If you still haven’t removed the car from the charger after those 10 minutes, idle fees will apply.

The goal here is to get cars off EA’s fast chargers once they’ve already completed their “bulk charge.” With today’s technology, essentially every EV drastically slows down its charging speed once it surpasses about 80% state of charge. For example, the 10-80% charge on a Kia EV6 will take you about 16 minutes on a fast charger that’s capable of outputting at its maximum charge rate. However, that final 80-100% charge will take you at least 15-20 minutes because of how much the charge rate slows. This clogs up charging stations unnecessarily, leading to long wait times and frustration for those stuck waiting.

On the flip side, some road trips might require you to eke out every last percent of charge in order to make it to your next destination. EA recognizes that, which is why all of the chosen pilot stations are high-utilization locations that aren’t typically used for road tripping. The distance between stations and station utilization statistics were the two main considerations, so those in need of a full 100% charge should be able to find alternative charging options in a reasonable radius.

And don’t even try to skirt around the rules. Electrify America says that if you try to start a charging session with an EV that has a state of charge over 85%, it will not begin to charge. The same goes for if you try and plug back in after it kicks off at the 85% limit. There won’t be any exceptions for manufacturer-backed charging plans or any other loopholes either.

Electrify America says the pilot program is beginning this month. You can see the list of stations here, and EA says it will continually update the list if it chooses to expand the pilot program as it monitors station performance and customer sentiment.

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