Insights | Mar 19, 2024

Simplifying the EV charging experience with plug and charge


Simplifying the EV charging experience with plug and charge  

Along with your smooth EV ride, there’s now a more convenient charging experience available in Canada. Who wants to fumble for their RFID card or phone app if you could just plug in, charge, and go. And if you are fortunate enough to be driving a GM vehicle, guess what, you’re going to be really happy to read this. This seamless charging experience is called plug and charge and you’re going to like it.  What’s plug and charge?  It’s a technology solution that allows you to just plug in your vehicle and start charging automatically. No card to tap or swipe, or app to install on your phone. This simple charging experience goes by a couple of different names – “Plug and Charge” using ISO 15118 or “autocharge” using DIN 70121. But really, the technology behind it isn’t as important as the fact that is just works .   

FLO enables a plug and charge experience for GM EV drivers  

Here at FLO, we’ve made this plug and charge experience a reality for GM EV drivers in Canada. Just pull up to a FLO SmartDC fast charger, plug in your vehicle, and start charging – no hassle, no fuss. There’s a one-time enrolment process to enable the feature but, once that’s done, any FLO fast charger will recognize the GM EV and start a charging session automatically.  

This type of simple and convenient charging experience minimizes the number of steps that can go wrong with a charging session and makes it effortless for the EV driver. FLO continually strives for better and more convenient charging experiences which align with our mission to provide the absolute best EV charging experience possible.  

But for the curious of mind, how does it all really work? 

Put simply, there are multiple entities that need to communicate to make the charging experience seamless. With a standard EV charging process, when you use your mobile app or RFID card to start a charging session, the network owning the app will check to see if you have a payment method linked to your account. Then it will contact the charging network to pinpoint the charging station you’ve selected (sometimes it is the same company that owns the mobile app and the charging network, but not always). When you scan your RFID card, the network operator needs to identify if the card belongs to its own network or a partner network and if there is enough money in the account. With the plug and charge experience, it’s like having the RFID card in the vehicle itself. Your car communicates with the charging station via the cable itself. This requires a deeper integration with the automaker’s software and EV charger’s backend systems.  

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The future of plug and charge experiences 

In order to bring a plug and charge experience to all EV drivers, regardless of make or model, there needs to be interoperability between the multitude of EVs and the various EV chargers and networks. There are diverse companies who make the cars, the chargers, the software (to connect the chargers), and the mobile apps. For a plug and charge experience to be ubiquitous, we need to have standards, open protocols, and interoperability across the ecosystem. The Plug and Charge ISO15118 protocol aims to do just that and our newest hardware supports this standard. There is complexity is getting all of these independent players and technologies to speak the same language, but the industry is working hard to get there and making great progress. We continually collaborate with industry players and automakers to drive more frictionless experiences in the industry. And the fact that we are vertically integrated means that we are well-suited to remove friction in the charging process.  

FLO strongly supports these efforts and is excited to offer technologies that make the EV driver experience easier, more reliable and better all around. 

Read more: FLO Charges Ahead as the Unrivaled Leader in EV Charging Reliability Amidst CBC Marketplace