The next frontier:
EV charging in the wild

Even if you can’t charge at home.

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Learn more about the PropelPower network ​here​.

Some folks have a knack for numbers. They can see stories and narrative in the figures. Propel’s go-to data wizard, Senior Analyst Will Faulkner, drives an EV. Will is also a leader of the PropelPower team, working on Propel’s next big product launch: A consumer focused EV charging network.

Will lives in San Francisco with his wife and new child, and he like most urban families, he doesn’t have a garage. That makes charging his EV at home a real challenge.

Challenge 1: Charging Availability

For EV drivers without home charging, this is the make or break issue. Bottom line, if you can’t charge at home, and you are a commuter, you will likely need access to charging at work. Today, workplace chargers are typically “Level 2” and charge you in 4-8 hours while you park.

For public charging, Will says “get the PlugShare app” to find chargers nearby. This is Yelp for charging. Will found a newer Level 3 fast charger (50kW, 1-2 hour charge) at his local grocery store. When the RideShare drivers aren’t hogging it, it’s Will’s preferred charging option. Having a Level 3 option nearby is critical for quick bumps or charging up for longer road trips.

Once you ID your local charger ecosystem, Will recommends to “sign up for the RFID tag from every charging company”. The RFID tag is the most reliable way to get the transaction through. Paying through the app(s) is typically inconsistent and frustrating.

Challenge 2: Range

If you can’t charge at home, it’s all about range. A typical gas vehicle gets 300-500 miles per fill, so Will says “your minimum range requirement should be around 220 miles” That gets him to and from work each week as well as running regular errands.

It’s also important to note that when charging your vehicle, the charge speed slows way down at about 80% full, so it can take extra time to fully “top off” your battery. If you have 220 range, you really only get 175 miles in typical daily use case.

“Charging your vehicle slows down at about 80% full, so it can take time to fully “top off” your battery.”
Will Faulkner

Challenge 3: Different plug tech and the CCS Hookup (AKA the “Combo”)

Your EV needs the right charging hookup to take advantage of the current EV charging networks. Tesla and Nissan require specific plug types. Will wanted to charge at a variety of charging providers without adapters and didn’t have easy access to the Tesla charger network. The most common option for public chargers is a CCS hookup. This enables you to access most level 1, level 2 or fast-charging options.