Electrify America’s luxurious EV charging station is turning heads – but does it live up to its impressive appearance?

How would you change the EV charging network if you had the chance?
27 February 2024

EV charging stations need radical rethinking.

• EV charging stations becoming increasingly unreliable or broken.
• Electrify America’s EV charging stations are designed for user convenience.
• Could Electrify’s prototype be the future of EV charging stations?

Owning an electric vehicle is a clear 21st century choice when it comes to lightening your carbon footprint – but it goes hand in hand with finding out-of-commission charging stations or broken chargers. You’re in desperate need of charging your car and you see a third-party charging station coming up, but lo and behold, it’s out of service.

This is unfortunately a pretty common occurrence across the US right now, leading many of these third-party charging companies, like Electrify America, to regularly change and update their charging stations.

Repairing EV charging stations

Tesla EV charging stations.In response to these issues, the US government is investing $100 million to repair the nation’s broken EV charger network. Coupled with Tesla’s superior NACS (North American Charging Standard) connectors, we could be witnessing a new, reliable dawn of EV charging.

In fact, the future of EV charging may look a lot like Electrify America’s new charging station at 928 Harrison Street in the SoMa (South of Market) neighborhood of San Francisco. Instead of engaging in a competition centered around reliability, companies may now focus on the overall customer experience.

Right now, the majority of charging stations are located within or close to shopping malls or restaurants, for convenience. That means people can get on with daily chores or have a shopping spree while their car charges. But Electrify America has opened a station, dubbed “the nicest in America,” where customers can relax in comfort and wait for their vehicles to charge.

The new flagship indoor location looks more like a VIP airport lounge than an EV charging station, boasting two lounge areas featuring food and drink vending options, restrooms with baby changing facilities, complimentary fast wi-fi, and 20 fast 350kW chargers. It is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day, with security and monitoring services, promising safety for vehicles and customers at all times.

The Electrify America vision

President and CEO of Electrify America, Robert Barrosa, released a statement explaining how the company’s history had led up to this moment.

“Our expertise in building over 250 stations in California and more than 900 in North America uniquely positions us to bring high-quality charging infrastructure directly into communities where people live and work and support EV adoption across the state.” Mr. Barrosa went on to describe the lounges as “nice, sleek, and comfortable,” comparing them to “Priority Pass” airport lounges.

This luxurious opening follows a design concept from Electrify America in 2022, known as “The charging station of the future, today.” The concept’s aim was to create comfortable spaces for customers to relax in, enhancing the EV driver experience, with distinct community-centric design strategies put in place.

While Electrify America has opened outdoor flagship charging stations in Santa Clara and Baker, California, this latest site is the first to reflect its 2022 strategy. One main difference is that the San Francisco station sports 20 chargers, compared to the 10 in the earlier opened sites; seemingly a direct response to the nation’s growing demand for EV chargers.

Tesla still has the largest network of charging stations across the US, with 2,128 Superchargers locations as of January 2024. Most of those, though, are outdoors, and not in the most desirable locations. For instance, many are found next to gas stations, with nothing much for drivers to do while waiting for their car to charge (unless you love spending time in gas stations, of course!)

The shape of EV charging stations to come?

This latest charging station from Electrify America is a welcome move. The company, a subsidiary of Ford, has also announced plans to add NACS capacity to Ford, as well as other automakers. Some sources believe Electrify America has plans to switch from the Combined Charging System (CSS) entirely. The new facility may be a sign of things to come, not only for Electrify America, but for the EV charging industry as a whole.

Electrify America may proceed to convert existing charging facilities into something more upscale, like its San Francisco site. After all, Mr. Barrrosa says the company is “committed to making EVs accessible to all, particularly in dense urban areas like San Francisco.”

With the growing demand for EV chargers, customers may soon be able to experience charging stations like Electrify America’s across the country. Hopefully, they’ll be as reliable as they are stylish.