ChargePoint and FLO Team up to Simplify Electric Car Charging

Customers can now access both companies' stations with the same account.

BMW

One of the biggest issues with owning an electric car is the patchwork nature of charging infrastructure. Unlike with gas stations, drivers can't simply go from one charging company's station to another without having multiple accounts, cards, or fobs. Now, however, two of North America's biggest charging-network operators are trying to change that.

ChargePoint and FLO, which operate large networks of stations in the United States and Canada, respectively, will let customers charge on both of their networks with a single account. ChargePoint and FLO claim this agreement is the first of its kind in North America.

Known in the industry as "roaming," allowing drivers to charge at multiple companies' stations using the same account seems like a no-brainer, but it hasn't been universally adopted. Even some stations that allow drivers to charge for free still require them to have an account with the station's operator. Roaming would allow electric-car drivers to move from station to station as easily as drivers of gasoline cars switch between Shell and Mobil. That could make electric cars more attractive, in turn creating more business for charging companies.

"These experiences are good for EV drivers and simultaneously benefit station owners by increasing utilization of charging spots and opening up opportunities for businesses of all kinds to participate in the new fueling network," ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano said in a statement.

The partnership is now in effect and encompasses more than 33,000 public charging stations, the two companies said. Drivers can use their existing ChargePoint or FLO accounts and apps to access all stations. The partners will use a protocol called the Open Charge Point Initiative (OCPI) to share data in order to coordinate billing and station availability.

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