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Electrify America just built the nicest EV charging station yet — but is it reliable?

Published Feb 12th, 2024 1:19PM EST
Electrify America charging station
Image: CarterGee

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If there’s one stereotype that has been plaguing electric vehicles in the United States, it’s that you’re going to find yourself in a position where you need a charge, and the charging station you’re banking on is out of commission.

That’s not a stereotype for no reason. The reputation of many third-party charging companies like Electrify America and EVgo are constantly in flux due to the broken chargers that EV owners come into contact with. However, between the United States government infusing over $100 million to fix broken charging stations and virtually everyone switching to Tesla’s much better NACS (North American Charging Standard) connector, it feels like the future of EV charging is going to look a lot more reliable.

If the fight between charging providers won’t focus on reliability anymore, what’s left? One of the ways to differentiate your charging station from another is the experience your customers will have at your station while they are charging. While most charging stations are built in a location that relies on other things like shopping centers or restaurants to give people something to do while their vehicle is charging, it would be nice if the charging station itself was the place to relax, wouldn’t it?

It looks like the nicest charging station in America is doing just that and it’s not built by Tesla or Rivian or Mercedes. In fact, it’s built by…Electrify America? In a post on Reddit, a user called CarterGee detailed a new indoor location from the company in San Fransisco that looks closer to an airport lounge than an electric charging station. The EV owner was sent an email from the company announcing the new location, which includes 20 350kW chargers, two lounge areas, complimentary Wi-Fi, and restrooms.

Check out the email that Electrify America sent customers:

We’re thrilled to announce our first flagship charging station in San Francisco is opening on February 9th. Located at 928 Harrison Street in the SoMa (South of Market) neighborhood, it’s the first indoor flagship charging station of its kind from Electrify America.

Here are some of the amenities at this location:

– 20 Hyper-fast chargers capable of speeds up to 350 kW

– Two temperature-controlled customer lounge areas

– Complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi

– Two restrooms with baby changing stations

– 24/7 on-site security

Relax and recharge at our Harrison Street location, where high speeds and comfort meet.

The EV owner described the lounges in the location as “nice, sleek, and comfortable” and compared them to a Priority Pass lounge you’d find in an airport. The Wi-Fi was actually fast and the vending machines were a nice touch.

Okay, the chargers are neat and cool, but you can see those anywhere —though, again, largely in Walmart parking lots. The really interesting part here is the two lounges that are offered for folks to sit in while they wait for their cars to charge. These are nice, sleek, and comfortable. They’re also heated / air conditioned. I would describe the quality as akin to a Priority Pass lounge in a nice airport. It’s not exactly a Polaris experience, but it gets the job done.

Yes, there are snacks and beverages from vending machines. No, I wasn’t able to drink the catered coffee which appeared to be there only for employees. This ruined my day until I gave myself a pep talk to remind myself that I was currently standing in the best, most state of the art charging center on planet Earth.

The lounges also provide free WiFi which was, surprisingly, excellent. I took a meeting from here for work as I charged and didn’t experience any lag. The WiFi password was difficult and I entered it incorrectly four times.

CarterGee said, “This is the happiest I’ve ever been to give EA (Electrify America) my money, something that normally fills me with lowkey resentment of my own self. That’s a big, big win if you ask me. More of this, please, if you’re listening and in a position of power (pun intended) to make things like this.”

I’d love to see more charging stations like this one. While Tesla has the most extensive network, most of those chargers are outdoors and not in the most desirable locations to take a 20-minute break out of your car. The one closest to me is next to a gas station, and I’m not trying to hang out a Sheetz for a half hour — as nice as Sheetz is.

Electrify America has an interesting idea here. I wonder if the future of EV charging could look similar to the airport lounge game — whoever can build the best experience when you’re waiting for departure gets the customers. Now, the company just needs to prove that the stations are reliable and break the stereotype.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.