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An intro to ChargePoint – a useful charging network to know for Australian electric car owners

Once you start looking to see where you can find public EV chargers, you’ll quickly notice that ChargePoint is one of the key public charging networks with chargers installed in shopping centres and hotels.

Most of them are free to use, and most of them are the slower, ‘destination’ style charging at 7.2kw – adding around 30-35km of range for every hour of charge.

Knowing about ChargePoint’s chargers is essential for non-Tesla EV owners given they can’t use Tesla Supercharger or Destination Charger networks.

What’s ChargePoint?

ChargePoint
A BMW i3 charging at a ChargePoint charger

ChargePoint is an independent company that makes EV chargers and manages a huge deployed network around the world.

They are one of the largest and most accessible charging networks globally with chargers in many countries – including over 90 charging stations in operation around Australia. This map shows charging stations on the ChargePoint network:

You can sign up to their network online and then simply go and use their chargers whenever you wish. You’re able to use their chargers on a wide range of EV’s from many manufacturers – although in many cases you’ll need an adapter. More on this later.

How does ChargePoint work?

Using a ChargePoint charger is simple – locate a nearby charger through their app and once you arrive, scan your ChargePoint card up against the charger and plug in. You can also add your ChargePoint account to Apple Wallet on your iPhone or Apple Watch and use that app to initiate a charge.

Once charging the app will tell you all the details about your charging, how much greenhouse gases you’re saving and more. After you’re done you just unplug the connector and drive off.

Now that Australia has standardised on the European ‘Type 2′ plug, most new EVs’ – including all Teslas – will need to use an adapter or conversion cable from the previous J1772 (Type 1) standard to the Type 2 connector.

We’d suggest taking a look at buying a cable like this Type 1 to Type 2 conversion from EVolution Australia if you anticipate using ChargePoint chargers frequently.

How do you sign up?

The first step in getting a ChargePoint account is to Sign Up on their website. Once you’ve signed up you can have a ChargePoint card delivered which looks like this.

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You can also download their app to keep an eye on your charge status and statistics over time.

The ChargePoint network

While their network is much bigger in other countries like America, there are still plenty of both paid and free chargers available. You can browse their whole network online too.

When using their mobile app it will automatically show you the nearest chargers using your location. From there you can see what chargers are nearby and how many there are. In the image above it’s showing 1 charger in the bottom left as well as 2 chargers in the centre area.

ChargePoint
Here you can see a Level 2 charger that’s available to use

If they’re lit up in green then that means they’re free and available to be used. Blue means they’re in use and Grey is an unknown state. When you do tap on each charger you can see exactly what connector type it uses, how far away it is and how much power it can give you to charge.

ChargePoint
If a charger is grey it means it’s state is unknown

When you show up at a ChargePoint charger, you just swipe your RFID card, wait for the station to unlock the charger for you to use, and then plug it in. It takes about the same length of time as it would to start pumping petrol.

ChargePoint is pretty great – if only they would update their charge cables to Type 2

ChargePoint

With more and more Australians buying and wanting to buy EV’s it’s good for consumers to have ChargePoint deploying and managing charging infrastructure for businesses.

However, ChargePoint charges seem to be a little unloved once they’ve been installed – with some breakages taking months to fix, and I don’t hold out much hope for a concerted effort to switch over their charge plugs from Type 1 to Type 2 to support the new wave of EV’s now coming on the market.

So have you used ChargePoint? What was your experience good or bad? Let us know in the comments.

Keith enjoys nerding out about Electric Vehicles, owning a BMW i3, Tesla Model X and now, running Drive Zero .

2 Comments

  1. My very first EVSE charge was the Chargepoint unit at Club Trillium, just north of Melbourne. It worked exactly as intended, which was a relief to a new i3 owner/driver, heading back to Canberra, armed otherwise only with the supplied 8A granny charger.
    it seems a shame that CP isn’t more active in Oz…

  2. Tried to use the one in Forster NSW but discovered it had type 1 connectors. It’s the only public charger in this neck-of-the-woods but doesnt support modern Oz standard vehicles.

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