EVgo acquires company behind popular PlugShare EV charging app, we ask some questions

EVgo announced today the acquisition of Recargo, a company better known for being behind PlugShare, a very popular EV charging app and website used for finding charging locations across networks and homes.

Over the years, PlugShare has become the go-to app for electric car owners looking to find charging stations.

It is sort of the Yelp of EV charging.

About seven out of 10 EV owners in the US have downloaded the PlugShare app.

The company also developed a payment system for EV charging.

Now, EVgo, one of the biggest charging network companies in the US, announced that it acquired Recargo in a $25 million cash-only transaction.

Cathy Zoi, CEO of EVgo, commented on the announcement:

“At EVgo, we have a relentless commitment to growing the EV driver base and enhancing the customer experience. The Recargo team shares that same commitment, developing innovative software to improve the charging experience. Recargo’s PlugShare platform has become the go-to mobile app for EV drivers.  EVgo and Recargo’s combined software expertise will make driving an EV and charging it even easier — and more delightful.  Together, we will extend and accelerate the reach of our business while continuing to shape the future of EV charging.”

Nick Wild, CEO of Recargo, will continue to serve as President and CEO of the new wholly-owned subsidiary under EVgo.

He commented on the acquisition:

“EVgo and Recargo have a long history of partnering to enhance the driver experience. The entire Recargo team is excited to have the opportunity to further accelerate our growth as part of the EVgo family. PlugShare has been the first and most trusted choice for EV drivers looking for information on public charging, and we are thrilled that the EVgo team is committed to the continued independence of our PlugScore™ system, increasing transparency and supporting broad interoperability and neutrality.”

There are some concerns about EVgo’s acquisition of the app.

One of PlugShare’s biggest advantages is that it includes data on charging stations from all public charging networks.

Also, they weren’t backed by a specific charging network, and therefore, they were not incentivized to skew reviews of some charging stations a certain way.

Ivo Steklac, CTO/COO of EVgo, did comment on trying to preserve the neutrality of PlugShare:

“This acquisition brings a great technical team into the fold and EVgo and Recargo can accelerate our collective growth, capitalizing on a shared focus of software innovation, commitment to open standards and interoperability, and a history of strong partnerships with automakers and other charging providers. To enhance transparency, EVgo and Recargo intend to publish PlugScore calculations and methodologies, enhance algorithms and further integrate customer and network feedback to improve the utility of the score while preserving its neutrality. Additionally, we expect to swiftly move to accept Pay with PlugShare (PWPS) on the EVgo network, opening the platform to other charging providers, giving drivers a simple way to use multiple networks and pay for charging in-app using PlugShare’s platform.”

We contacted Evgo about some of those concerns, and here’s what Jonathan Levy Chief Commercial Officer at EVgo said:

I think the biggest question for Plugshare users is will EVGO keep the network neutrality that Plugshare has enjoyed. For instance will you show an Electrify America station if it is close to an EVgo station at the same prevalence?

Absolutely. EVgo and Recargo share the same values for mass adoption of electric vehicles and supporting the community of drivers around the world to make that happen through increased access to charging, clear and independent data and analytics, and improving ease of payment. PlugShare will treat EVgo the same as every other charging network. Zero bias in reviews, PlugScores, and trip planning routes. 

PlugShare’s role as a neutral and fair platform for EV drivers, charging networks, and automakers to come together and share information to make it easier to go electric will remain constant.  PlugShare and EVgo will be taking immediate steps to increase the transparency of the PlugScore algorithm and ensure that ratings and user reviews are unbiased and equitable no matter the charging network.  In terms of displaying, adding, and modifying locations, PlugShare intends to continue to treat EVgo the same as it does every other charging network

 The stats about 7 downloads per 10EV makers. Is there any more breakdown on the statistics there? How many for Tesla owners for instance?

For every 10 EVs sold in the US there were 7 unique installations of PlugShare on mobile device (April 2021)

We estimate 40.5% of registered PlugShare users in the US are Tesla drivers

What is the future of the app? Will it focus on EVGO stations only? If it is to remain neutral, what is the point of purchasing the app?

 The acquisition of Recargo is a win-win for EVgo, PlugShare, EV drivers, automakers, and charging companies across the country. Recargo is more than just the PlugShare app, it’s a tremendously talented team that has built PlugShare, Pay With PlugShare, PlugShare API, PlugInsights, mobile advertising, and more. Recargo and EVgo can accelerate the development and deployment of new products to make EV driving and charging even more convenient and reliable.

 In terms of the app itself, it will indeed continue to be neutral and share information for all charging networks to make sure EV drivers have range confidence.

Nick Wild, Recargo CEO and now CEO of the new Plugshare division of EVgo added:

It was 100% clear from when we first started talking to EVgo that they were completely committed to maintaining PlugShare’s neutrality. Both teams know this is the key to serving drivers. EVgo will not be receiving any special treatment or bias within the app. PlugShare has been built on connecting drivers and infrastructure operators. We’re confident that we will deliver a combination of steadfast principles and hard technical assurances and transparency to the industry to maintain everyone’s trust.

Our driver base continues to closely mirror the vehicle install base.

One of the things I would like to stress is that the PlugShare has extremely active user bases across all manner of vehicles. We design with supporting drivers of the full spectrum of today and tomorrow’s vehicles in mind. To me one of the most exciting parts of 2021 and 2022 – is seeing the huge diversity in vehicles and the corresponding growth of our PlugShare community.

Electrek’s take:

We’ll be keeping an eye on the popular and very useful app/website that brings together the widest amount of charging options for electric vehicle owners. There are a lot of advancements in real time charging status, trip planning and timing that can be put forward.

Unfortunately with Plugshare now no longer being a neutral party, other charging networks are less likely to share data which is unfortunate.

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Avatar for Fred Lambert Fred Lambert

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