'Roaming' charging stations would reduce ‘range anxiety’

AAAchargingstationsNow here’s a good idea to help potential electric-vehicle owners get over “range anxiety,” the concern that they might run out of juice when driving away from their home or work charging stations.

While charging stations are being added to more and more locations, many of them are operated by specific networks, according to a story by John Voelcker at Green Car Reports.

“They often require drivers to have set up an account beforehand, and to validate their charging session with a special membership card,” Voelcker wrote. “In practice, that means drivers must set up multiple accounts with multiple charging-station networks to be able to use the majority of charge stations on their travels.”

But in a new venture called Collaboratev, two large networks of charging stations have formed a company to enable and promote interoperability--not only among their stations, but others as well.

“In effect, that means that electric-car drivers will be able to join one network but "roam" among other networks of charging stations, just as mobile-phone users can move seamlessly among networks without having to know which company operates the one they're connecting through,” Voelcker wrote.

Collaboratev (get it? love the name) will provide users with a single bill regardless of which network they charge on, an idea with great appeal to consumers, Pike Research analyst John Gartner said in the Green Car Reports story. A payment system across multiple vendors, he said, would "alleviate consumer concern over being tied to one charging network, and therefore make electric vehicles more attractive to mainstream vehicle buyers," he said.