Jun 24 • 7M

The Secret Way to Charge on the Electrify America Network

Avoid Frustration With This Step-By-Step Guide

Open in playerListen on);
Follow our journey as we buy a Rivian R1T electric truck to pull a travel trailer equipped to run exclusively on solar power!
Episode details


This week, we’re going to share the secret to charging quickly with the Electrify America (EA) network.

EA has the biggest network of charging stations by location in the country. We’ve done lots of road trips. Without EA, the trips would be impossible.

We learned this secret from one of the customer service agents, so we confess, it isn’t exactly classified information. Still, what we’re going to teach you contradicts the written instructions Electrify America provides. You read that right. A customer service rep told us how to avoid all kinds of hassle by ignoring the written instructions! And it works!

We’ve been charging on the network for years and have had consistent problems. This secret method has dramatically improved our success rate with charging.

Before we give you the charging step-by-step, you’ll want to download the app and install it on your phone.

Next, you’ll want to set up an account. If you’re going to charge twice or more on a road trip, we’d recommend signing up for the “Plus” account, which costs $4 per month and saves you that much on almost every full charge. The app makes it easy to cancel and restart if you don’t take frequent road trips and don’t need to charge with EA locally.

Get set up before you hit the road to avoid stress. Remember, charging on a road trip is typically stressful. When you pull in for a stop, the weather may be unpleasant–hot, cold, rainy or snowy. You may be tired and cranky. Worst of all, you may be anxious to use the restroom. That is not the best time to be figuring things out or dealing with problems.

Now, here’s the step-by-step for you to follow.

  1. Use the app to find a charging location and tap it.

  2. Touch the “Directions” button on the menu that pops up to engage your default navigation app.

  3. Upon arrival at the charger, pull right up to a charger, choosing carefully and parking your car appropriately based on where your vehicle’s charging port is located.

  4. Without getting out of the car (if possible) identify the two-digit number of the charger. Note: on the charger screen, you may see a message that says, “Plug in first.” Ignore that! That’s the secret!

  5. Before you even get out of the car, open the app. Pull up on the tab that appears at the bottom of the screen that says, among other things, “plug in first to charge.” Don’t plug in first to charge! Using the app, tap the charger number where you’re parked. If it is out of order or otherwise unavailable, you’ll be notified in the app. If it is ready for use, another screen will pop up with a swipe button at the bottom for starting the charge–don’t swipe it (yet).

  6. Now, it’s time to get out of the car and plug in. This is trickier than it sounds. The cable is liquid-cooled to allow for super-fast charging. It’s kinda heavy. When you insert the cable into the car’s charging port, lift it up and push it in. This is vitally important in cold weather!!! Devin sometimes uses his knee for this purpose so he has hands free to use the app on his phone.

  7. OK, swipe the swipe button that says swipe to charge. A screen that says “initiating charge” should pop up on the app. Over the next 30 seconds, the charge will begin. The first sign that the process is working is that your car should lock on to the charger with an audible click. Now, it’s OK to let go of the charging cable. The car should then recognize that the charge is initiating. The charger itself will also start making a whining sound like it is spooling up for something big. Within about 30 seconds, your car should signal that it is receiving juice.

  8. Now you can go find lunch and a restroom.

  9. While charging, you can and should check the app for status updates. When you open the app, you’ll see a blue charging status balloon at the top of the page. You can swipe among three different data sets or tap the balloon to bring up a screen with complete data. Occasionally, the charging will stop unexpectedly–this is an Electrify America glitch–so check regularly. EA threatens to bill for the idle time you remain connected even if the charge quits before your battery is fully charged.

  10. When you’ve got the charge you need, head back out to the car to disconnect. Push the button on the charging cable handle or press the stop charging button in the app. Within a few seconds, the car will release its lock on the cable so you can remove it (which may require you to push the button on the cable handle again). Then stow the cable on the charger.

  11. If you check the app now, you’ll see a Session Summary report. We never look at that because EA sends an email with the same data.

Now you know the secret to more successful charging on the Electrify America network.

This secret step-by-step has worked great for us over the past six months. We still have trouble occasionally, so it doesn’t guarantee success. EA may change its app and systems at any point. If you’re reading this in 2036, we’re pretty sure these instructions won’t work anymore! There’s no telling how long they will.

We’d love to hear about your experience charging with Electrify America. What are your tips for successful charging?

Leave a comment