LOS ANGELES—EVgo and Amazon have teamed up to give electric vehicle drivers the ability to ask Alexa to help them find and navigate to nearby EV charging stations, as well as initiate and pay for charging sessions at EVgo stations, reports CNBC. The capability will be rolled out to Alexa-enabled vehicles as well as automotive accessories like Echo Auto later this year.
“We want Alexa to be useful for customers in their everyday lives, and 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 a statement.
Alexa will use data from EVGo’s PlugShare API, allowing drivers to find nearby charging stations, as well as access EVgo’s public EV charging map. The capability will also integrate EVgo Inside with Alexa, and with this integration, customers can register for a new EVgo account, find EVgo charging stations, initiate a charging session and complete payment within their Alexa app.
In the future, customers will also be able to view real-time charger availability and view session and billing information.
“The EV charging experience is a lot more fragmented than for gas customers, who can pretty much stop at any location,” said Anes Hodžić, vice president at Amazon’s Smart Vehicles group, at CES 2023 earlier this month.
Unlike the traditional stop for gas, EV drivers must factor in charging speed, plug type and payment options, while using several different apps to find charging stations, and as their vehicle’s range may be dwindling, Hodžić said.
“EVgo is committed to continuing to raise the bar for convenience of EV ownership for our customers,” said Cathy Zoi, CEO at EVgo.
Through the partnership, Amazon customers will have access to over 150,000 U.S. public charging stations listed on EVGo’s PlugShare, according to EVgo.
EV charging remains a barrier to widespread EV adoption. In a recent Deloitte survey, 48% of respondents said range anxiety was a top concern when buying an EV, followed closely by the time required to charge (47%) and lack of public EV charging infrastructure (46%).
For consumers who do drive EVs, their top desired amenity while charging is Wi-Fi connectivity (64%). Restrooms (60%), coffee/beverages (56%) and snacks/light meals (48%) were the next most desired offerings.
When charging on the go, 24% of U.S. consumers want a dedicated EV service station, and 20% want a traditional gas station with EV chargers. However, a significant number of people surveyed (25%) in the U.S. simply want access to charging when they need it regardless of location.
Because these EV owners will have time on their hands to spend at c-stores while their vehicles recharge, some retail experts say that c-stores may be required to change their formats. Here are five things c-stores can offer waiting EV customers.
For convenience retailers looking to bring EV charging to their location(s), NACS launched the EV Infrastructure Matchmaking Tool, which connects retailers with EV charging companies for all aspects and stages of offering electric vehicle supply equipment.
NACS also offersthe EV Charging Calculator, which allows retailers to assess the cost and profitability of offering EV chargers at their sites. The calculator focuses on what retailer utility costs associated with EV recharging are and what the corresponding revenue must be to recover those costs after allowing for potential ancillary in-store visits and purchase profitability.