Plug and Charge Brings Tesla-Style EV Charging Simplicity to Other Brands

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  • Plug and Charge is a new way of automating payment for EV charging, bringing Tesla-style convenience to people who drive something other than Teslas—for instance, the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.
  • The Plug and Charge protocol tells the charging station what kind of EV you’re plugging in and conveniently bills you.
  • We were inadvertently among the first U.S. drivers to try it out earlier in December.

Suppose every time you went to buy gas, you needed a phone app or an RFID fob—and you had to be pre-enrolled with the brand. Drive in, validate the pump, and then learn how much you’d pay for your gasoline. No fob or app? You’d have to call a toll-free number to provide credit-card info over the phone.

That’s pretty much how electric-car charging works today, for everyone but Tesla drivers. Some EV drivers carry up to six swipe cards, fobs, or phone apps for different networks along their travel routes.

There’s a better way—and as early as 2012, Tesla showed the U.S. how to do it. You just drive in, plug in to charge, and any billing happens on the back end. That’s how it should be, and the company’s high-speed Supercharger network now lets you drive a Tesla almost anywhere in the lower 48 states.

Like Apple, though, Tesla has the advantage of a closed ecosystem: Only Teslas can charge at Tesla Supercharger sites. The company controls both sides of the transaction. Eight years later, the rest of the EV world—dozens of separate EVs, all of which may charge on dozens of different networks—has started to catch up. Read More

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