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Merging networks give electric car drivers more places to charge

Consumer Reports News
March 8, 2013

It ought to go without saying that with relatively few public chargers for electric cars, if you have an electric car you ought to be able to plug into any one of them.

That wasn't the case last year, when highlighted the challenges EV owners face when traveling beyond the range of a home recharge. (Read: "Electric car drivers left hanging in charger wars.") But now with a new partnership forged, it is getting much easier for EV drivers to recharge on the go.

The two largest charging network providers, Ecotality (Blink) and Chargepoint, have come together to create a joint billing and data connection called Collaboratev. As a result, Collaboratev will allow each network's customers to charge up at any Blink or Chargepoint charger by swiping a single card and get a single bill. The networks are working to recruit other, smaller networks to the system, as well.

Unfortunately, this still doesn't mean any electric car can charge up at any charger. Tesla's proprietary chargers, for example, won't charge a shorter-range electric car. (However, Teslas come with an adapter to connect to slower chargers.) But the agreement seems a big step in the right direction for EV drivers.

For more information on electric cars or other alternative fuels, see our special section.

Related: Rapid charging at a Tesla EV "Supercharge" station
Electric car drivers left hanging in charger wars

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