Matt Teske’s Chargeway system could help solve driver confusion at the myriad ways to recharge your EV
Electric automakers today are competing to release newer, better-performing EVs and hybrids to meet the oncoming demand for electrification. Meanwhile, companies and governments alike are attempting to put in place sufficient infrastructure to ensure those vehicles don’t find themselves beached. Frequently, however, the two do not align – and even if a new EV owner can find a public charging point, using it can present a whole host of new difficulties.
Chargeway is one proposal to the meet the conundrum of navigating various charging standards. Matt Teske, a marketer, brand builder and long-term EV owner from Portland recently presented his colour and number system for differentiating the different plugs for electric charging, at the EV Roadmap 10 conference in his home town. Representatives from Chevrolet and Plug In America are now expressing keen interest to back the idea.
Teske’s system comes from the premises that electric charging is way more complicated than it seems, as novice and long-term drivers are equally put off by the inconvenience of the different plug types. Not only different plugs charge at different rates, but there are also different levels of charging: 120-volt Level 1, 240-Volt Level 2 and even higher Level 3 as well as stations for DC and AC charging. Even the names – J-1772, CHAdeMO, Combined Charging Standard (CCS) /SAE Combo– are tough to understand. And while Tesla’s Supercharger may have the brand’s elegance, using the system isn’t always as easy.
Teske’s concept offers a simple graphic of colour-coded numbers as a substitute for the above-mentioned standard names. The uniform graphic can be then applied to the EVs and the charging points, telling the car owners which symbol corresponds to their electric model, thus making charging straightforward and overcoming language and tech-literacy barriers. Suggestions from EV enthusiasts online have raised the question of further adapting the graphics to colour-blind people by replacing the circles with distinctive shapes instead.
Kathering Stainken, Policy Director of Plug In America, duly noted that the system “adapts the way drivers of a gas car think about filling up to how electric-car charging works, which can definitely help us achieve mass adoption of EVs more quickly, and make the charging experience for new drivers seamless.”
Winning the sympathies of manufacturers and grassroot groups, Chargeway is set for a breakthrough with trials of the system likely to be launched in Portland area in the next few weeks.
It’s a promising start, but a far cry from a universal solution. ElecTrans can’t help but wonder if there might not be an even simpler solution. Give us your thoughts in the comment section below.