The public infrastructure for electric vehicle charging is a mess. Some stations are free, while some require payment. Of the latter, you may have to be preregistered with the charging station network or need a chipped credit card to pay at the station. Recargo, the maker of the PlugShare charging station locator app, attempts to standardize payments for charging with its new Pay with PlugShare feature.
PlugShare both a Web site and an app for iPhone and Android that shows the locations of public EV charging stations. Along with each station entry, users can add notes, most importantly explicit directions on finding the stations, as they might be hidden in the back corner of a parking garage.
Today, Recargo adds a Pay with PlugShare button to the iPhone version of the PlugShare app, with an update to the Android version to follow this winter.
A user will be able to drive up to a station, plug in his or her car, then find the corresponding station entry in the PlugShare app and make whatever payment is required to initiate vehicle charging. Pay with PlugShare stores Visa, MasterCard, and Discover credit card information, which Recargo will use to pay the electric vehicle charging station provider.
According to screenshots of the app provided by Recargo, once payment has been authorized, the PlugShare app will show when charging has commenced, and when the amount of time or electricity paid for has run out. That feature will be especially useful in parking garages where it is impossible to get a phone connection. Then the user would plug in the car, then go to an area with mobile phone coverage to make the payment and initiate charging.
As most electric cars have associated telematics apps, the user would also be able to double-check the car's charging status.
Not all charging stations will accept Pay with PlugShare at launch. Recargo has initially signed a deal with SemaConnect, which runs a network of over 600 electric vehicle charging stations in the US. SemaConnect's map of stations shows concentrations on the coasts, and through the middle of the country on Interstate 70.
Recargo says that its Pay with PlugShare feature is network-neutral. The company will be seeking new charging-station network partners.