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Rivian Will Use Your EV to Spread the Word About Bad Public Chargers

Rivians now grade public chargers every time their owners use them, and share those ratings with other customers.

byNico DeMattia|
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For all of Tesla's shortcomings, one thing it does undeniably well is charging. Tesla's Supercharger network is vast, outstanding to use, and incredibly dependable. Outside of that, electric car charging can be a pain. With charging stations fewer and farther between than Tesla's, and often out of order, charging with other, third-party networks can be a frustrating experience. But Rivian wants to help by using its cars to gather data about every charging station they use, to grade them for customers.

Every time a Rivian plugs into a public charging station now, it'll immediately begin sending data back to home base. From there, Rivian analyzes tons of data points, such as charge speed, ease of payment, thermal behavior, and of course, whether the damn thing even works at all. Every charging station is then given a letter grade, from "A" to "F," and that letter grade is updated every time a Rivian uses that charger.

“Surprisingly, actually, there’s multiple chargers rated F,” Wassym Bensaid, Rivian’s head of software, told The Verge, who tested the new system out in public. “That was one of the ‘a ha’ moments as we went through the data.”

Rivian has been gathering charging data for over a year already, so the system will already provide owners with charging station grades as soon as they pull up their nav screen, looking for one. However, in the future, Rivian will be adding a customer feedback system, in which customers can rate chargers themselves and that data will be combined with its own to hopefully paint an even clearer picture. “Charging should just work,” Bensaid said. “And the more we get happy customers, the more we remove charging anxiety as a barrier for adoption.”

This new system is just one of the ways Rivian is trying to make charging easier for customers, along with its new access to Tesla's Supercharger network, and hundreds of its own chargers coming in the next year or so. Public charging is by far the most annoying aspect of driving electric vehicles, but systems like Rivian's will go a long way to alleviating much of that frustration.

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