- Electric vehicle charging company EVgo is partnering with Amazon to help electric vehicle drivers find EVgo charging stations and pay for their charge via Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant, according to a Thursday press release.
- The partnership will allow users with Alexa-enabled vehicles or those using Alexa automotive accessories to access data on 150,000 public charging stations through the Plugshare application programming interface beginning later in 2023.
- EVgo chargers are installed at a number of convenience store chains across the country, including some 7-Eleven, Wawa, Sheetz, Chevron and Pilot locations.
This integration could make it easier and faster for drivers to find and use chargers in their home area or while on the road.
“EV charging is a great example of a task that can be simplified and made more convenient through the power of AI,” said Anes Hodžić, vice president, Amazon Smart Vehicles, in the release. “We’re bringing Alexa’s AI and multi-modal experiences to improve the EV charging experience for drivers and streamline the process of locating, initiating and paying for a charging session.”
The data in the Plugshare API, owned by EVgo, is largely provided by other EV users, who check in when they visit a charger and submit certain information, like if there were problems with the charger or what condition the location was in. The companies plan to eventually integrate real-time information on which chargers are in use — along with account and billing information — into the Alexa interface.
It was not immediately clear if paying via Alexa could help bypass the issue of a kiosk not accepting payment, a common problem at malfunctioning chargers. It also wasn’t clear if all information from the API would be fed to users. The Plugshare API asks users to report not only the chargers they’re using, but any issues they encounter, including chargers that don’t work — data that could be helpful for drivers.
EVgo did not respond by press time to an inquiry for more information.
This voice-enabled EV charging and payments are the latest steps toward making charging as frictionless as possible. EVgo also recently released Autocharge+, which enables a driver’s car to be recognized by the EVgo network and begin charging as soon as it’s plugged in, rather than having to trigger the transaction on the charger or in a mobile device like normal.
“EVgo is committed to continuing to raise the bar for convenience of EV ownership for our customers,” Cathy Zoi, CEO at EVgo, said in the release.
EVgo owns more than 850 fast charging locations in more than 30 states. In addition to its branded locations, it also offers EVgo eXtend fast charging, a white-label service.