The 2021 VW ID.4 comes with unlimited CCS DC fast charging and Level 2 charging courtesy of Electrify America and VW’s settlement of the Diesel emissions fraud case. To take advantage of this offer requires an Electrify America app account with public charging configured. Thanks to the smart folks of Reddit VW ID.4 group for their Cliff’s notes.
- 2022-08-19 Original
Most home owner BEV owners will elect to install EVSE at home so that they can charge their vehicles over night at their home electric rates. A home charge is about $7 using Dominion Virginia Power’s residential time of use tariff.
The ID.4 includes a 120V portable EVSE that may be plugged into a regular 15 or 20 amp outlet. Nightly charging with this “granny cable” will keep the car charged for commuting usage.
Charging on the Go
Longer trips like a day trip from Norfolk to Richmond will require a visit to a public charging point to obtain sufficient energy to complete the voyage. For the trip we made last October to the JRG reunion, this would be a visit to a charger early in the return trip to bring on sufficient energy to arrive home with 10% reserve. This is a quick 15 minute charge.
Here in North America, Electrify America operates the second largest charging network and many manufacturers are partnering with EA for on-the-go charging. Check to see if your vehicle’s manufacturer offers EA charging for your model and year.
Electrify America Account
To charge at most public charging requires that you have an account with the provider, in VW’s case, Electrify America or at some time in the future, Tesla. Electrify America provides iPhone and Android apps that serve as session credentials for charging at public chargers. The Apple App Store and Google Play Store offer the apps free of charge.
Once the App is installed, open it and complete the registration process. If using the iPhone version, the App can be entered in Apple Wallet allowing tap and charge with your iPhone. Some providers may allow a tap and charge fill up using your near-field capable credit card.
VW included charging
Depending on the model year, VW offers DC public charging to North American (does Canada have a different deal?) owners. The 2021 deal is unlimited DC fast charging and Level 2 charging for 3 years of ownership. The 2022 deal is unlimited 30 minute fast charging sessions and unlimited Level 2 charging for 3 years.
Most route planners will keep charge stops in the 15-30 minute range so a free 30 minute stop is fine.
VW Charging Offer Credentials
To take advantage of the VW offer, your Vehicle must be enrolled with Electrify America. To complete enrollment, you will need the vehicle’s VIN and COMM Number. These appear on the US mandated window sticker to the right of the safety rating box. A bar code gives the VIN and COMM numbers in machine readable form. These numbers also appear in text form above and below the bar code.
Setting up Public Charging for the VW Offer
The details of App operation may change from time to time so I’ll give a general overview of what you need to do.
- Setup your APP account with EA. As far as I can tell, there is not website equivalent.
- Select the Account tab.
- SelectVehicles and add your ID.4.
- Select Premium Offers and the EA offer should appear.
- Select the EA offer.
- Fill in the VIN and COMM Number in the form that appears.
The VIN entry is identified as such. The COMM number goes in the enrollment code slot. This terminology is subject to change.
No Offer, No Problem
The EA paid option is $4/month. It allows you a discounted rate that saves about 25% on a charging session. If you are using public charging every now and again, the discount and added convenience features are worthwhile (Kyle, Out of Spec Reviews/Motoring).
BEV route planning includes battery depletion modeling and charge point recommendations. Early experience with the vehicle built in planners found that they varied in quality. Early non-Tesla planners frequently included destination Level 2 chargers, small DC fast charging sites, and any and all providers without regard to charge point availability or capacity.
Third Party Route Planners
There are several out there with A Better Route Planner and Plug Share being well regarded. Both apps are believed to be Android Auto and Apple Car Play compatible. Both offer website route planning. Free accounts allow you to have one plan active and the mobile app will locate that plan.
Of course, there’s an app
To use them, you will need an account with the App. Both offer free accounts and subscription accounts. Payed accounts offer the ability to save vehicles and voyage plans and to recall voyage plans. Putting a credit card on file allows billing and payment through these apps. They are useful when you find that you need to charge off of the Electrify America or Tesla networks.
I have found it easiest to do the initial planning using the planner’s website. Most allow you to plan round trips from home to home adding way points in the middle. This works quite well. Just ensure that you satisfy the return voyage initial charge requirement before starting home.
A good route planner will consider temperature, need for HVAC, battery de-rating for temperature, and elevation gain and loss in planning the route. Most will recommend charge points having an alternate in range in case the planned charge point is busy or out of service.
EV savvy planners will keep the battery charge in the lower half, favoring frequent short partial charge stops over longer charge to 80% stops. If this strategy does not take you far off the route, it actually takes less time charging than ICE style fill ‘er up stops.
Chargers break and plans change so most apps can be used for re-planning on the road. From Out of Spec Motoring experience, a lengthy voyage will encounter at least one busted charger. Often, this can be done through the app’s vehicle display interface.
The EA app will show the nearest available chargers and will hand off the address to Apple Maps for routing.
Charging Network Availability
The information presented here is anecdotal and results from being a regular follower of the Out of Spec Reviews and Motoring YouTube channels.
- In North America, the Tesla network has the most charge points and Tesla does an excellent job keeping its charge points operable. Tesla will not route you to a congested or busted charger.
- Electrify America is a distant second in number of available charge points. EA does a good job of keeping charge points in service. The EA app shows nearby charge points and will hand them off to Apple Maps for routing.
- Other national and regional networks are less robust and appear to have lower availability in the experience of the Out of Spec Motoring presenters.
If a route plan includes out of network stops, it is best to determine credentials and payment requirements when including out of network stops in the plan. Pricing offered non-network participants may include a surcharge.
Both route planning apps support charging session authentication and payment at participating charging networks.
Once ID.4 software 3 arrives, plug and charge will handle off-network authentication and payment for you.
Tesla’s software and App already support off-network charging. Savvy Tesla road-trippers often carry a Tesla to J1772 adapter to allow off-network charging away from the super-charger routes.
Use of one of these apps appears to be a good way to limit apps and accounts needed for driving.
Non-Tesla use of Tesla Destination Chargers
Many destinations offer Tesla Level 2 charging in cooperation with Tesla. Tesla Level 2 chargers are happy to charge non-Tesla vehicles as both speak the same session management protocols.
Destinations may or may not offer a J-1772 charge point in addition to the Tesla charge point.
J-1772 vehicles can charge at Tesla destination chargers provided that you have a Tesla socket to J-1772 plug cable handy. These adapters are about $150, reasonable for 2 60 amp connectors and a foot or so of flexible cable. Conversely, J-1772 socket to Tesla plug connectors are available to charge a Tesla at a J-1772 destination.
Another thing to consider in voyage planning.