Electrify America Caps Charge Times

In an effort to break bottlenecks at its charging stations, Electrify America is piloting a program to kick BEV owners off public chargers after reaching an 85% charge.

David Kiley, Senior Editor

July 11, 2024

2 Min Read
Electrify America trying to mitigate long wait times at charging stations.

The slowdown in battery-electric-vehicle sales is widely known, and largely attributed to high prices for BEVs and an immature public charging network. Now, early adopters may face a new frustration: being kicked off public chargers before their vehicle reaches 100% charge.

Electrify America is piloting a program at high-usage recharging stations in California whereby charging sessions end when a vehicle reaches 85% of charge. The reason is that the last 15% of charge on a BEV can take as long as reaching 85%. To speed throughput at charging stations, the session will end at 85% and drivers have 10 minutes to move their cars before charges are added for sitting idle.

According to Electrify America, the session won’t restart after plugging the car back in, nor will the rule be relaxed during non-peak times.

Clogging up charging stations is a growing problem. At Detroit Metropolitan Airport, for example, charging spaces can be taken up for days by the same cars. At retail outlets, like Walmart and Meijer, cars can be idle at chargers long after they are charged while vehicle owners shop. It’s frustrating.

It’s these inconveniences, as well as the overall underdeveloped network that has frustrated early adopters. Some 46% of current electric-vehicle owners in the U.S. told McKinsey & Co. they would likely switch back to an internal-combustion-engine vehicle, according to the consultancy’s 2024 Mobility Consumer Global Survey. 

In the next four years, electric car sales should grow at an average of 21% per year, compared to the average of 61% between 2020 and 2023, the report says. The growth rate of public charging is having difficulty keeping up because of the process of installing new electrical infrastructure.

Electrify America is monitoring social media forums like Reddit to gather feedback, as well as other methods. Early responses show, not surprisingly, a mixed bag. “I get why they are doing it, but my EV gets less than 200 miles (322 km) on a full charge, so it’s not great for me,” says one Reddit user.

“This is a good idea, and I can live with this because most of my charging is at home, but I can see how some people are going to say…one more thing that’s inconvenient,” says a user on a Volkswagen forum.

According to Kia, for example, charging 10% to 80% on an EV6 takes about 15-17 minutes on a fast charger, but the 80%-to-100% charge will take up to an additional 20 minutes as the rate of charge slows down. 

The ramp-up of electrification is not going to be a straight line. Federal mandates remain in place, driving automakers and charging networks to expand as quickly as  possible. But consumer resistance to buying BEVs is cooling automaker investments, slowing the number of BEVs hitting the market before 2028. New vehicles keep coming – just not as many as were planned only a year ago.

About the Author(s)

David Kiley

Senior Editor, WardsAuto

David Kiley is an award winning journalist. Prior to joining WardsAuto, Kiley held senior editorial posts at USA Today, Businessweek, AOL Autos/Autoblog and Adweek, as well as being a contributor to Forbes, Fortune, Popular Mechanics and more.

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