Electrify America & VinFast

Electrify America is the largest network of electric vehicle fast-charging facilities in the United States. As of today the company has 750 stations and 81 more in the works. Electrify America is investing billions in building out stations and providing education about zero-emissions vehicles. On the one hand, as this is a growing segment it makes good business sense. But on the other, the $2-billion designated for spending is predicated on a legal finding that goes back to the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal, so it was perhaps a good coincidence in some ways for Volkswagen Group (i.e., as it produces more electric vehicles, it has the means by which they can be charged).

But Electrify America isn’t a VW-only network. Most companies that have an EV offering have established a relationship with it, including: Audi, BMW, Byton, Fisker, Ford, Hyundai, Lucid, Kia, Mercedes, Polestar, Porsche, Volvo, and, yes, VW.

Today Electrify America added another OEM to its list: VinFast, the Vietnam-based OEM that announced late in March that it will build an assembly plant for its electric SUVs in North Carolina.

VinFast operates a plant in Hai Phong, Vietnam, at present. Production in North Carolina is anticipated in Q3 of 2024.

The company says it will have global availability of its VF 8 and VF 9 EVs this year.

A car company operating a charging network. A Vietnamese company building a car plant in North Carolina.

Yes, electric vehicles are changing the world in many ways.

Free Gas

By Gary S. Vasilash

Back in 2005, when gas prices were rising, some OEMs, as well as local dealers, offered consumers pre-paid gas cars. Mitsubishi, for example, depending on model, provided $1,500 to $2,500 for a vehicle purchase.

What’s interesting is that 2005 wasn’t really all that bad a year gas-price-wise.

That is, in 2002, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, gas averaged at $1.38 a gallon. It was something of a steady climb to $3.29 a gallon in 2008. The average price in 2005 was $2.31.

Today Kia America and Electrify America announced that buyers of the Kia EV6 electric SUV will get 1,000 kilowatt-hours of free charging at Electrify America stations.

In a clearer context: that’s enough energy to drive from 3,500 to 4,000 miles. Depending on the model. And the comparative heaviness of one’s right foot.

While that is certainly a nice bonus, it is puzzling that when there are vehicles ostensibly as good as the EV6 that the pot needs to be sweetened with some electrons.

To be sure it is a customer convenience, but doesn’t it, in some way, undercut the basic goodness of the vehicle (i.e., “Hey, you might be thinking of something else, but we’re going to put a cherry on top, so it is better!”)? Not that I have anything against free energy, but somehow the value proposition of the vehicle itself ought to be sufficiently compelling.

“So, Sally, why’d you buy the EV?”

“Free charging.”

Electrify America Tops in Charging Analysis

By Gary S. Vasilash

Electrify America, the company that was established by Volkswagen as part of its penalties associated with “Dieselgate,” is the network calculated to be best by umlaut, an organization that performs benchmarking, and Charged, an EV magazine.

Electrify America scored highest, with 702 of a possible 1,000 points.

Tesla came in second, at 649.

There were two primary categories:

  • Digital Platform
  • Charging Location

The people performing the analysis drove some 2,100 miles in Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. They drove in a Mustang Mach-E and a Tesla Model 3.

In the Digital Platform category, which looks at things like the website and the app, Electrify America came in with 275 points. Tesla was well behind, at 165.

In terms of Charging Location, which is about the actual act of charging, Electrify America scored 426.75 points while Tesla came in at 484.25.

So the biggest difference is not out there plugging in at a station but while on one’s phone.

Guess it comes down to what is more important, especially when you just want to get the damn thing charged and on your away.

The other charge point providers and their scores are: Charge Point (611), EVgo (578), Greenlots (548), Blink (505) and EV Connect (472).