The strongest chain is only as strong as its weakest link - it’s a universal truth that applies to pretty much everything. Take electric cars - there’s no doubt that they are game changers, fun to drive, and have the potential of making our lives easier. But they have one major weak point - charging. The whole experience of owning an EV relies on how convenient - or not - is the charging itself.
ChargePoint, a California-based EV charging infrastructure company, is one of the biggest players in the EV charging field. As of last January, the company had 225,000 charging locations spread across 14 countries. Its latest patent filing puts customer experience front and center potentially making EV charging a much simpler affair.
We all know, or at least heard of, what happens when we get to a public charging point. It may be a wrong charging stall - too slow for our car. The one we need is already taken and that means as much as half an hour of waiting - that’s before we can plug in. What if the charger is too fast and we end up paying extra but not utilizing its full potential? It seems ChargePoint is onto something.
The idea behind the patent is simple - a charging cabinet that can be used by multiple vehicles to start from. Then there’s the clever bit - the charger figures out which car needs more power, which can charge faster, and which one needs to charge slower. There is no longer a need to look for a specific charger, just plug the car in and let the electronics do their job. It’s obvious and simple and yet it’s not a common practice.
The tech goes deeper though, with multiple vehicles connected it can prioritize depending not only on what power they support, but which one was connected first. The technology can prioritize between those who pay premium subscriptions and those who just need a quick top-up. Having two cars drawing different power connected to one charger is no longer an issue - the charger can juggle the output as required.
Electric cars will truly take over and will become a no-brainer choice, once the charging experience is comparable to fueling a legacy vehicle. We have already gone a long way, DC chargers can cut charging times to 20 minutes, and new battery technology promises to halve that soon. The ChargePoint idea is a great step in a good direction.
Charging multiple vehicles at a single DC stall is not a new idea and many companies are looking into it. GM patented its "daisy chain" charging which takes advanatge of its Ultium battery technology. The first vehicle to feature it will likely be the upcoming GMC Sierra EV and we are bound to see this technology becoming more popular with other automekers.
CP makes different types of chargers. It sounds like you are talking about L2, whereas the article is mainly talking about SC fast charging.
Chargepoint's delivery of 6 to 8 miles per charging hour is pretty meaningless. No need to juggle anything until you can make them all level 2 Chargers.