Initial Experience at Electrify America

I recently started driving an Ioniq 6. Hyundai is currently offering unlimited* free* charging for new owners. At first glance this seems like a good deal. Who doesn't like free, fast charging? However, like most free deals the reality falls far short. Read on for the pros and cons of the EA "free" charging plan.


When you take ownership of your Ioniq 6 the dealer will help you set up the Electrify America app and provide you with a code to enable the Ioniq 6 charging plan. So far so good. The fine print says the sessions are limited to 30 minutes, but the car is supposed to charge from 10 to 80% in 20 minutes, right?

Finding a Station

In Southern California at least, the free charging plan seems to be very popular. In the Electrify America (EA) app, it is common to see all nearby stations saying either 'full' or 1/4 available. Beware that the app can indicate that there is a charger available when it isn't a fast charger, or doesn't have a connector compatible with your vehicle. There are filters available to specify fast chargers (150kW or 350kW) but they don't seem to be sticky, so you'll have to re-select them each time.

So you've picked a station to visit, either because it says there is a charger available, or it's close by and you're hopeful it will open up by the time you get there. As you approach the charger, see if there is a line of cars waiting. If the lot is largely empty, a line may form on the natural approach to the chargers. If the lot is smaller or busier, the line may form opposite the chargers. Especially if people are parking in nearby spots, it's a great time to park and say "hi" to the other people waiting, and to figure out who is ahead of you. The first couple times I had questions for the 'veterans'. When trying (unsuccessfully) to charge my previous EV at an EA station, a helpful EV9 driver tried everything, including using her own account to charge, and finally pointed me to another charging station next to a Ford dealer that worked perfectly. More recently I've been answering questions and helping people charge while I wait.

30 Minute Time Limit: Theory and Reality

The 30 minute limit has been a little more constraining than I expected. Most chargers I've tried are labeled 150kW. Theoretically 30 minutes at 150kW should provide 75kWh, more than enough to charge a 77kWh battery unless it started below 5%. In reality, the charger operates at a much lower rate. It's hard to tell if the charger or the car is throttling the charging, but I've seen rates between 140kW on the high end down to 20kW at the low end. The upshot is that I almost always spend 30 minutes at the charger, even if I arrive with more than 50% charge. So be prepared, and don't expect to fill up to more than 90% in one free 30-minute session.

In all, between waiting for a charger to open up and the lower-than-advertised charging times, be prepared to spend an hour at the charging station, even if you have a recent EV like the Ioniq 6 that advertises fast charging rates.


Last modified on 4 May 2024 by AO

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