Enhancing the EV Fast Charging Experience – EVgo ReNew™ in Action
Accelerating the deployment of fast charging infrastructure is key to the mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). Public fast chargers enable EV drivers to take long-distance road trips and power up quickly when running errands in town. They also make it easier for residents of multifamily dwellings and those without access to home charging to participate in the EVolution. No matter who is behind the wheel, having more fast charging infrastructure available boosts range confidence for both current and future EV drivers.
As one of the nation’s largest public fast charging networks, EVgo continues to expand and deploy new chargers while maintaining our existing network as we strive to deliver a truly seamless customer experience. Building upon our existing charger operations and maintenance efforts, we launched EVgo ReNew™ — a comprehensive program focused on elevating the customer experience — at the beginning of 2023 to double down on our commitment to providing a convenient and reliable fast charging experience.
In our first ReNew blog from January of this year, we took a deep dive into each of the six pillars of the ReNew program: Resilience, Prevention, Diagnostics, Rapid Response, Analysis, and Continuous Customer Service. Since then, we’ve made significant progress across our network to deliver a best-in-class customer experience, including building bigger stations with high-power fast chargers and reducing station repair times by half, which you can read more about in our press release.
In addition to these visible network enhancements, we’re also focused on what we think of as “driver success” through our Roadrunners customer empathy program, expanding Autocharge+, and conducting extensive vehicle interoperability testing at the EVgo Innovation Lab.
Roadrunners: EVgo’s Customer Empathy Program
EVgo recently launched a new customer empathy initiative called EVgo Roadrunners to replicate real customer scenarios in the field. The goal is to learn how customers interact with our chargers to bolster what we call One & Done success rates, which is how we measure a driver’s ability to successfully complete a charging session on the first try.
During site visits, EVgo Roadrunners interact with customers to learn more about their charging experience. They ask questions about site layout, comfort, any interactions they may have had with our customer support team and more. This provides customers with the opportunity to provide honest feedback and suggestions for our team to enhance the charging experience. Recently, an EVgo Roadrunner spoke to a customer onsite who suggested that the EVgo app show the hours when a station is typically busy, which was shared with our app team for future development. Similarly, EVgo Roadrunners visit sites to record and report on issues before customers encounter them and then develop a detailed report to share with our Field Operations team to prioritize a solution. Overall, EVgo Roadrunners is a new initiative to ensure we’re delivering on our commitment to Continuous Customer Service—a critical pillar of the EVgo ReNew program—in addition to increases in staffing and new bilingual capabilities at the 24/7 EVgo Charging Crew.
The first step of EV charging is to plug in the connector, but this isn’t instinctual for many first-time EV drivers because the order of operations is opposite to the process of filling up a gas tank. As a result, one of the most common reasons for an unsuccessful charging session occurs during the initiation step. Enter Autocharge+. No tapping, no cards. Just plug in and charge. EVgo’s Autocharge+ enables drivers to start a charging session in seconds, eliminating the need to swipe a credit card, tap an EVgo program card (RFID) or open an app to initiate a session. It provides a seamless charging experience for drivers and bolsters One & Done success rates by removing separate identification and payment authorization, allowing more time for errands, dining out with friends or simply relaxing while you charge.
Over the last year, we’ve added eight new EV models to Autocharge+, offering more drivers a simple, streamlined charging experience. With nearly 30 eligible EV models, many EV drivers can start a charge faster and easier than before. If your EV isn’t currently eligible, stay connected with EVgo across social media (@evgonetwork) and sign up for our newsletter to be among the first to know when new vehicles are added.
Extensive Vehicle Interoperability Testing
At the EVgo Innovation Lab in El Segundo, CA, our engineers work with automakers to strengthen vehicle and charger interoperability. When completed prior to new EVs going to market, testing between the charger and the vehicle can identify and solve issues before customers drive to a charging station. This process helps create the best possible experience for drivers from the start.
In the first half of 2023, EVgo’s engineering team performed first-time interoperability testing on 14 EV models. Our work at the lab helps ensure a flawless “handshake” between the vehicle and the charger to deliver a seamless customer experience. Our one-to-two-day testing involves connecting the EV to all the different charger models in EVgo’s network, identifying multiple ways to initiate a successful charging session, testing for compliance with ISO and DIN charging standards and Autocharge+ verification. If any issues are identified during testing in the lab, such as communication failures between the EV and the charger, our engineering team can work with automakers to make adjustments, as needed, to the charging equipment or the EV to prevent potential issues in the field.
Through interoperability testing, EVgo gains a deeper understanding of the unique intricacies of each vehicle, which helps us better anticipate and prepare for future behavior.
Over the first six months of the year, EVgo improved One & Done success by six percentage points, and we’re not done yet. Our goal is to achieve One & Done success rates over 95% by the end of 2023, and we’re striving to make further improvements every day.
As always, you can keep up with our progress by following us on social media, @evgonetwork, and signing up for the EVgo newsletter. We've also created a series of videos that show you how each of the six pillars of the ReNew program come to life.
With EV adoption rapidly increasing in the U.S., the electric revolution is well underway. Whether you’re already an EV driver or considering making the switch, join the EVgo network as we pursue our vision of Electric for All. We look forward to powering your EV soon.