Electrify America Sketchy On Chevy Bolt Trip: There's An App For That
JUL 14, 2019 Wade Malone
Download the Electrify America app [
] before taking your Chevy Bolt on a road trip.
At least once a year, my wife and I like to take a trip to get as far away
from city life and our responsibilities as possible. This year, we decided
to take a road trip out of the Dallas area to a rural part of Oklahoma for a
relaxing five day weekend. We would be staying in a secluded cabin about 30
miles north of the Beavers Bend area.
This was an area I had visited multiple times in my life. It just so
happened that an Electrify America station had opened off of I-30 at a
convenient point between Dallas and Broken Bow, OK. The timing was perfect:
for the first time, we would make this trek in an electric car.
We had already taken our Chevy Bolt EV on a few regional trips to Austin and
San Antonio. In fact, our Oklahoma trip would not be the longest distance
we'd ever driven in the Bolt. Only about 210 miles separated us and our
cabin rental, compared to about 290 miles between Dallas and San Antonio.
However, our San Antonio trip moved us from one urban area to another with
plenty of charging options along the way. There was never any concern about
range. If we reached our destination and our preferred charging station
wasn't available, we could drive a few miles down the road to another one.
The distance between us and our cabin in rural Oklahoma was technically
shorter, yet it felt much further. Once we left Texas, there would be no
DCFC or even L2 charging available nearby. Other than the Electrify America
station 80 miles away.
This wasn't our first rodeo: planning ahead reduces headaches
Assuming everything went perfectly, we would leave home and not stop until
reaching the Electrify America station roughly 130 miles away in Mount
Pleasant, TX. We would charge our Bolt there for about 30 minutes to ~85%.
Then we would complete the final 80 miles of our route. At the cabin, we
would regain 45-50 miles each night using a standard wall outlet.
However, we could not assume everything would go according to plan.
Electrify America is still very new to the charging scene. Many early users
had been complaining about the reliability of the stations and I had already
witnessed some issues myself.
When the Denton, TX station opened up not terribly far from me, I gave it a
try. My first experience had been a mixed bag. Four of the six stalls said
that the credit card readers were down. One did not say it was down, but
when I attempted to use it, the station failed to initiate a charge. At this
point I called Electrify America to see just what was going on.
To the credit of their customer support, they were very helpful and directed
me to the station I had not tried yet, saying that it had just been recently
used. I gave that one a shot and indeed it worked. Once the charge began,
speeds were the quickest I had ever seen on my Bolt and the interface, while
a bit clunky, was very informative.
But considering the potential issues, we would not take any chances. We
decided we would top off our Bolt at an EVgo station on the outskirts of
Dallas. We would only be there to recover the 30 miles or so between our
home and the station. This would ensure that we could arrive at the cabin
after driving highway speeds even if all other charging options failed us
along the way.
In addition to the standard L1 charger, we also took our 7.2 kW Clipper
Creek with a NEMA 14-50 plug as an backup. If the Electrify America station
was down, we could top off at one of several RV parks near the cabin that
had 14-50 connections.
Electrify America card reader fails again, but customer support had it under
Topping off at the EVgo charger on the way out of town went smoothly. In our
experience, EVgo chargers are rock solid, so getting a charge was no issue.
After about 2 hours at speeds of 65 to 70 mph, we arrived at the Electrify
America station with just under half of a charge. Unfortunately, most of the
stations again read "Credit card - mobile pay reader currently unavailable."
We called Electrify America as I had done previously and they directed me to
stall 4. The 4th stall did not have an error message, so I tried using my
card. The card reader did not seem to be down, but whenever I tried it would
After multiple attempts, we were about to give up and leave. But the helpful
support representative was able to start the charge session remotely. Once
charging began, we were again very impressed at the speed. At EVgo, the top
charge rate I see is typically 46 kW. On this trip, I received peak charge
rates of 53 kW according to the Bolt's dashboard.
We were understandably relieved. While I was prepared to charge at an RV
park if needed, we were not looking forward to sitting around for hours on
Ultimately, we did end up pulling in to one of these RV parks while we ate
dinner and stretched our legs. But we only stayed for a bit over an hour. I
wanted to test it out in case we needed a faster charge over the five day
Electrify America app seems to solve issues with credit card readers
Despite hiccups with Electrify America's credit card readers, the trip was
successful and largely stress free. If the station had been totally down, we
would have had multiple backup options at RV parks. Thankfully this was not
Following our trip, Electrify America launched their smartphone app. Based
on early experiences, this is an absolute must download for anyone
considering charging at an Electrify America station. Four out of the four
times I had visited their stations, multiple units had their credit card
readers out of service. This was especially frustrating since they were
otherwise completely functional.
So to test the mobile application, my wife and I have tried the iPhone app
only on chargers where the "Credit card - mobile pay reader currently
unavailable" error is present. So far, using the app we have been able to
successfully start a charge session every single time.
Not only that, but the process is much quicker than navigating the clunky
user interface of the actual charging stations and praying that the card
reader actually works. Having spoken to other users of the app, we aren't
the only ones that have noticed much greater reliability compared to the
credit card readers.
The phone app is painless to set up an account. You can choose the "pay as
you go" Electrify America Pass or the Pass+ monthly subscription plan. The
subscription plan has has no session fee and a lower charge per minute but a
$4 monthly fee.
After our trip we were initially nervous about going any significant
distance that relied solely on the young charging network. But since
downloading the application and having multiple excellent experiences with
their customer service, I have renewed faith in the future of Electrify
America. Once the kinks are worked out with the software, they will likely
become the dominate name in CCS and CHAdeMO charging.
Chevy Sales: SUVs Thrive, Cars and Trucks Struggle in Second Quarter
July 19, 2019 ... Malibu (ice) sales were down 26.7 percent, but with
30,794, it was the brand’s bestselling car. A couple of models did see some
growth. The tiny Spark sold 7,226 units for a 62.2 percent increase, and the
Bolt EV sold 2,965 units for a 13.8 percent increase ...
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