Learn the Basics about Charging Stations

Electric vehicles may seem new, but they’ve been around since the beginning of the automobile! The new generation of electric vehicles and electric vehicle charging stations (also known as electric vehicle supply equipment, or EVSE) began a resurgence around 2008 with the release of the Tesla Roadster…and SemaConnect was there at the start of the industry to keep drivers charged.

Here are our answers to the most frequently asked questions about charging at SemaConnect.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of charging stations does SemaConnect offer?

SemaConnect sells AC Level 2 and DC Fast Charging electric vehicle charging stations. Our Series 4 Home Charger can charge any electric vehicle up to 12kW and 50amp at 240VAC in your home garage. Our commercial Level 2 charging stations can charge electric vehicles at 7.2kW to 19.2kW and 30-80amp at 240VAC at any commercial application. Level 2 charging stations use roughly the same amount of electricity as a home clothes dryer.

SemaConnect also sells DC fast charging stations that charge select electric vehicles.

Which electric vehicles can charge at a SemaConnect station?

SemaConnect Level 2 charging stations use the North American standard electric vehicle charging plug known as the SAE-J1772. This plug is compatible with all commercially available battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) available in the North American market.

SemaConnect also offers DC Fast Charging stations with Combined Charging System (CCS) and CHAdeMO plugs, which are the two standard plugs for fast charging. Please refer to your owner’s manual to determine the correct DCFC plug for your vehicle. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles cannot use DCFC stations.

Tesla drivers can charge at SemaConnect stations using a Tesla to J-1772 or Tesla to CCS adapter. Please refer to your Tesla owner’s manual for more information on using adapters.

What do the lights on the SemaConnect stations mean?

SemaConnect utilizes an intuitive LED light system to make it easy for drivers to check station status.

  • Solid Blue – There is no vehicle plugged into the station. It is working and available for use.
  • Flashing Green – There is an electric vehicle plugged into the station and the station is delivering a charge. This vehicle does not have a full battery.
  • Solid Green – There is an electric vehicle plugged into the station, and the charge is complete. The vehicle has a fully charged battery.
  • Solid Red – The station has experienced a ground fault and is currently unable to deliver a charge.
How long will it take to charge my EV?

The charging times for electric vehicles can differ based on charging station amperage, battery size, and on-board charger. For example, to charge a Chevy Volt PHEV from empty to full battery, utilizing a 240V outlet would take roughly 4 hours, while charging a Nissan Leaf BEV can take 8 hours. 

However, just as you are unlikely to drive a gas vehicle to a completely empty tank, many people are unlikely to drive their EV to a completely dead battery. If you are charging a battery that is not empty, your charging times will be shorter. Generally, you will get an average of 25 to 40 miles of range per hour of charging time when you use a Level 2 charging station. 

How far can I travel per charge in my EV?

Electric vehicle range varies depending on the size of the battery, the type and weight of the car, road and weather conditions, driving style, and ancillary usage, such as running the air conditioning or charging your cell phone. Please refer to your vehicle manual to determine how much range you have.

What is SemaConnect doing during the COVID-19 pandemic?

SemaConnect is still open for business! We are here to help if you have any issues. Call or email us if you have any questions about your account, need help starting a charge, or need to report an issue at one of our stations. To keep employees and their families safe, our team is working remotely during the pandemic. We’ve also expanded our sick leave policy to take care of any employees who do get sick. Read more here.

SemaConnect Account

What can I do with a SemaConnect account?

With a SemaConnect account, you can:

  • Find SemaConnect charging stations
  • Initiate and pay for a charging session
  • Get notifications on station and charging status
  • View your charging sustainability and usage stats
  • Join a private member group
How do I get a SemaConnect account?

To sign up for a SemaConnect Account, visit network.semaconnect.com/ and click the Register button. Fill out the required information, agree to SemaConnect’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, then click the Create My Account button.

You will receive a verification email from SemaConnect confirming your new account. Click the link to continue with account activation. After creating your account, you can also save a credit/debit card, choose your preferred notifications, request a SemaConnect Network Pass, and request access to a private station.

Do I have to associate a payment with my SemaConnect account? / How much does a SemaConnect membership account cost?

A SemaConnect account is free to have, and you do not have to associate a payment method with your SemaConnect account. However, you will only be able to charge your vehicle at free public SemaConnect stations until you choose to add a credit/debit card to your account. You must add a payment method in order to charge at any station with a fee structure, including stations with a free charging period that switches to a fee after a certain amount of time.

If you do associate a credit or debit card with your account, your card will be charged an initial $10 to fund your account to pay for future charges. If you change your card in our system, your card will be charged $1 in order to verify your payment and add it to your account. This $1 will go into your SemaConnect Account balance.

How does the account replenishment process work?

If you choose to associate a payment method with your account, your credit or debit card will be charged an initial $10. This is not a charge by SemaConnect, but instead turns your SemaConnect account into a debit system for charging your electric vehicle. When you use your SemaConnect account at a charging station with a fee, the cost of charging your vehicle will be deducted from your account based on the station’s pricing structure. When your initial $10 is depleted, your saved card will automatically be charged $20 to replenish your account. $20 is the minimum replenishment amount, but you can choose to replenish your card in increments up to $200.

For more information on the account replenishment process, watch this video on how the account replenishment process works.

Will my SemaConnect account work at other brands of electric vehicle charging stations?

Your SemaConnect account allows access to the SemaConnect electric vehicle charging stations. The pass or other ways SemaConnect provides to initiate a charging session will not initiate a charge with other products. Likewise, fobs or cards assigned by other manufacturers will not activate a SemaConnect charging station.

SemaConnect Pass

What is a SemaConnect Pass?

A SemaConnect Pass is an RFID card directly associated with your SemaConnect account. You can use this pass to initiate a charging session at any SemaConnect electric vehicle charging station that you have access to.

How do I get a SemaConnect Pass?

You can request a SemaConnect Pass after creating your SemaConnect Account. To request a pass:

  • Log into network.semaconnect.com/.
  • There are two ways to reach the Network Pass section of your SemaConnect account.
    • From the Dashboard, click Order a New Pass within the Account Overview section.
    • From the Main Menu, click My Account, then Network Pass.
  • Under the “Order a New Pass” section, enter your shipping address and click the Submit button.
  • You should receive your SemaConnect Pass in the mail via USPS within 5-7 business days.
Will I automatically get a SemaConnect Pass when I sign up for a SemaConnect account?

No. In order to get a SemaConnect Pass, you must request to have one mailed to you by following the steps above. For your security, SemaConnect will only mail a SemaConnect Pass to drivers who request a pass that is linked to their account balance. In order to use your pass, you must first activate it by logging into your SemaConnect account.

How do I activate my SemaConnect Pass?
  • Log into your account at network.semaconnect.com/.
  • There are two ways to activate a Network Pass.
    • From the Dashboard, click Add a Pass within the Account Overview section.
    • From the Main Menu, click My Account, then Network Pass.
  • At the top of the Network Pass page, you may see the pass number assigned to you. Click the “Pending Activation, Activate Now!” link.
  • Confirm or type your Network Pass number in the box in the “Add a Pass” section. Then add your four-digit Validation Code found on the letter you received in the mail with your SemaConnect Pass.
  • Click the Save button.
What is a Virtual Network Pass?

The SemaConnect Virtual Network Pass is a new feature for charging at select SemaConnect charging stations. With VNP, you can initiate a charge using your phone’s Apple Wallet or NFC communications. When viewing a station in the SemaConnect mobile app, VNP-enabled stations will have a VNP icon.

How do I get a Virtual Network Pass?

If you are an existing SemaConnect Member: 

Android users: 

  1. Go to Manage Passes under “My Account” section  
  2. Click “Go To Settings”  
  3. NFC and contactless payments settings will open in the Android System  
  4. Toggle on the NFC and open the SemaConnect mobile app and open the SemaConnect App 

iOS users: 

  1. Go to Manage Passes under “My Account” section  
  2. Click “Add to Apple Wallet”   
  3. Apple will add a SemaConnect Pass. 
  4. Click Next   
  5. Apple will ask for Automatic selection of the pass where requested. It is recommended to select “Automatically Select.” 
  6. Click Done and open the SemaConnect App.   
  7. Virtual Network Pass is enabled 

If you are not a SemaConnect Member: 

You will need to become a SemaConnect Member to use VNP. While creating your account, follow these steps. 

Android users: 

  1. Click “Go To Settings” on Virtual Network Pass Page  
  2. NFC and contactless payments settings will open in the Android System  
  3. Toggle on the NFC and open the SemaConnect mobile app.   
  4. NFC is enabled 

iOS users: 

  1. Click “Add to Apple Wallet” on Virtual Network Pass Page  
  2. Apple will add a SemaConnect Pass automatically in the wallet. The pass will look like (Image -1)  
  3. Click Next   
  4. Apple will ask for Automatic selection of the pass where requested. It is recommended to select “Automatically Select.” 
  5. Click Done and open the SemaConnect App.   
  6. Virtual Network Pass is enabled 

Multifamily Personal Charging Stations

What’s the difference between personal and shared charging stations?

If you live in an apartment or condo and have an assigned parking space, your property manager may install a personal charging station at that spot for your exclusive use. Station access is tied to your own SemaConnect account. Other EV drivers must request access to their own personal charging station, or use a community shared charging station.

How do I activate a charging session at a personal charging station?

In order to initiate a charging session at a personal charging station, you must have a SemaConnect account and have been given access by an account administrator.

  • The account administrator for the private organization must invite you to join the organization and provide you with an access code.
  • When you obtain the access code to use the personal station, log into your SemaConnect account.
  • Use the left menu to navigate to My Account > Station Access
  • Type or paste your invitation code into the designated field.
  • Click Submit.
  • Your Network Administrator must then approve your activation into the system before you can begin utilizing the personal station.

Once your personal charging station has been added to your SemaConnect account, you can initiate a charging session using a free SemaConnect Pass or the SemaConnect app.

How will I be billed for charging at my personal station?

Drivers at personal charging stations will be charged a monthly base fee, plus a usage fee decided by the property manager. The usage fee may be based on energy flow or time spent plugged in. You can ask your property manager or log into your SemaConnect account to view your station’s pricing policy.

Your monthly subscription bill will charge your credit card the base fee for the upcoming month + your previous month’s usage fee.

Will use of my personal charging station affect account replenishment in my SemaConnect account? / What charges can I expect on my credit/debit card?

Your monthly subscription to your personal charging station is separate from your payments at shared charging stations. You will be billed every month for access to your personal charging station.

Your SemaConnect account maintains a separate balance for usage of shared stations. You will only receive a bill for the automatic account replenishment fee when that balance dips below $0. This is a separate credit card charge from your personal charging station bill.

Charging at SemaConnect Stations

Do I need a SemaConnect account to initiate a charging session?

No. SemaConnect is an open network of electric vehicle charging stations. To start a charging session with SemaConnect, you can: 

  1. Use a SemaConnect Pass card 
  2. Use the SemaConnect Virtual Network Pass (VNP) 
  3. Start a charging session through the SemaConnect App, available for iPhone and Android 
  4. Visit network.semaconnect.com on mobile browser 
  5. Call 1-800-663-5633 and press “9” to start a charging session by phone 
  6. Start a charging session through the PlugShare or ChargeHub apps 
  7. Use the credit card reader (Series 8 only) 
  8. Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay (Series 8 only) 
How do I start a charging session by using my SemaConnect Pass?

To start a charging session by using your SemaConnect Pass:

  1. Hold your pass up to the card reader at the front of the charging head. Your card contains an RFID chip that can be read by the internal card reader to access your account information.
  2. Follow the prompts on the LCD screen to plug in your vehicle.
  3. The LED lights at the top of the station will turn from blue to flashing green to indicate that your car has begun a charging session.
  4. Any fees associated with the charging session will be automatically deducted from your SemaConnect account. Please note that fees are set by station owners, not SemaConnect.
How do I start a charging session by using my Virtual Network Pass?

To start a charging session by using your SemaConnect Virtual Network Pass:

Android users: 

  1. Begin by turning on your NFC. 
  2. Hold your phone close to the station’s screen. In most cases, you will need to tap the station screen. 
  3. When NFC is authenticated, your phone may vibrate based on your individual settings. 
  4. Charging will begin and the station’s LED light will turn green after authentication. 

 

iOS users: 

  1. Hold your phone close to the station’s screen. 
  2. Your Apple Wallet will request authentication using your passcode or biometric data. 
  3. Charging will begin and the station’s LED light will turn green after authentication.  

 

Any fees associated with the charging session will be automatically deducted from your SemaConnect account. Please note that fees are set by station owners, not SemaConnect.

Please note that while your mobile phone must be unlocked, you do not need to open the SemaConnect app to initiate a charge using a Virtual Network Pass. 

How do I find a charging station using the SemaConnect App?

Visit the App Store or Google Play to find and download the free SemaConnect App. To find a station using the SemaConnect app:

  1. Sign into your SemaConnect account.
  2. From the station map, select the location where you’d like to charge. You can also search for charging stations by using the address bar at the top right corner.
  3. The color of the location pin indicates station status.
    • Blue = station is currently available for use
    • Green = station is currently in-use by another driver
    • Gray = Station is offline and has not communicated its status with the SemaConnect Network
    • Red = Station is currently out of service and not available for use
How do I start a charging session by using the SemaConnect App?

When you have arrived at the station where you want to charge, select that station’s map pin to view Location Details.

  1. Click the Location Detail bubble to view more details including directions, number of available plugs, rates, hours, and property notes.
  2. To view stations, tap “Plugs” or the “Show Stations Here” button.
  3. Select the charging station where you want to charge. The name of each station is listed on its LCD screen, and the station serial number, which begins with the letters BAE, is located on the left side of the station.
  4. Select the Charge Now button.
  5. Click Yes to authorize the charging session at the station you have selected. The app will connect to the station to ensure you have permission to charge there.
  6. If your authorization has been approved, you will receive a message to plug in your vehicle to begin charging.
  7. Please plug in your vehicle now to initiate the charging session.
How do I start a charging session by using the PlugShare App?

Visit the App Store or Google Play to find and download the free PlugShare App. To start a charging session using the PlugShare app:

  1. The app will open to a map that shows all charging stations in your area. You can use the search bar at the top of the screen to search for stations somewhere else.
  2. Select the map location where you would like to charge, then click the name of the location to view more information.
  3. PlugShare locations allow you to view location notes, plug types, photos, and check-ins from other drivers. Thanks to the SemaConnect and PlugShare integration, you can use the PlugShare app to charge at public SemaConnect stations.
  4. Select the Pay with PlugShare button to start charging at a SemaConnect station. You may be asked to sign up for a PlugShare account.
  5. Choose the station where you would like to charge. If this is the first time you are using the app, you will be asked to input your credit card information for PlugShare.
  6. Follow the prompts, then plug in your vehicle.
How do I start a charging session by phone?

If you DO have a SemaConnect account:

  1. Call 1-800-663-5633.
  2. Choose Option two to speak with a live Customer Service Representative.
  3. A SemaConnect Customer Service Representative will issue a remote start to your vehicle using your SemaConnect account.
  4. Please do not plug in your vehicle until directed by the Customer Service Representative

 

If you DO NOT have a SemaConnect account:

  1. Call 1-800-663-5633.
  2. Choose Option nine to start a charging session. *Please note, you must choose option nine to input your credit card information. For your safety, it is against SemaConnect’s privacy policy for a Customer Service Representative to take your credit card information over the phone.
  3. Follow the automated prompts to start your charging session. You must have a credit or debit card available to pay for your charging session.
    • Enter the numerical portion of the serial number for the station where you are located, followed by the # sign. This serial number begins with the letters BAE; only enter the numbers following these letters.
    • Press one to confirm that you are at the correct station
    • The telephone system will let you know what type of fee is being assessed – parking or energy-based, and tell you the cost of parking.
    • Press one to confirm that you would like to continue with your parking session at that station.
    • The system will let you know that you must use a credit card to pay for this service and that you will be assessed a $0.30 cent processing fee in addition to your parking/charging fees. Press one if you would like to proceed.
    • Enter your credit card information. Be sure to enter two digits for the expiration month and four digits for the expiration year.
    • Press one to confirm your credit card information and to authorize the session.
  4. The automated system will then prompt you to plug in your vehicle. You have two minutes to do this. If you do not plug your vehicle in within the two-minute window, the session will time out.
  5. Once your car is plugged in, the LED lights on the station will turn flashing green to let you know that your charging session has begun.

 

*Please Note: initiating a charging session with the automated system will place a $20.00 hold on your credit or debit card. Once your credit card company approves the final transaction, that hold will disappear and be replaced by the final total of the charging session.

How do I start a charging session via network.semaconnect.com?

If you DO have a SemaConnect account:

  1. Log in to network.semaconnect.com via your mobile browser
  2. Click Station Locator, then select your location.
  3. Click Charge Now and select the station you want to use.
  4. The next page will show you the cost to charge. Click to Confirm.
  5. Plug in your vehicle.

Once your car is plugged in, the LED lights on the station will turn flashing green to let you know that the session has started.

 

If you DO NOT have a SemaConnect account:

  1. From your mobile browser, visit network.semaconnect.com.
  2. Choose Start Charging Now
  3. Fill in the station serial number and your credit card information. You must have a credit or debit card available to pay for your charging session. Note: The serial number is located on the left side of the station and begins with the letters BAE.
  4. Plug in your vehicle. You have two minutes to do this. If you do not plug in within the two-minute window, the session will time out and you will have to go through the steps again.

Once your car is plugged in, the LED lights on the station will turn flashing green to let you know that the session has started.

 

*Please Note: If you are not logged into a SemaConnect account, initiating a charging session on network.semaconnect.com will place a $20.00 hold on your credit or debit card. Once your credit card company approves the final transaction, that hold will revert to the final total of the charging session.

How do I activate a charging session at a members-only or private station?

In order to initiate a charging session at a members-only or private station, you must have a SemaConnect Account and be a member of the private organization.

  1. The account administrator for the private organization must invite you to join the organization and provide you with an Access Code.
  2. When you obtain the Access Code to use the private station, log into your account.
  3. Use the left menu to navigate to My Account > Station Access
  4. Copy your invitation code into the field that says “Enter Code Here.”
  5. Click Save
  6. Your Network Administrator must then approve your activation into the system before you can begin utilizing the private stations.
  7. Once your membership to the private organization has been approved, you can start charging with the SemaConnect App or SemaConnect Pass.

Finding SemaConnect Charging Stations

How do I find a SemaConnect station to charge my EV?

It’s easy to find SemaConnect electric vehicle charging stations through the SemaConnect App!

  1. Open up your SemaConnect App on your iPhone or Android.
  2. Click the Map button found in the main menu of your screen.
  3. A map will open up with color-associated map pins to indicate charging stations and their status.
  4. If you need to find a charging station in a different location, you can use the search bar at the top of the screen.

You can also use our online station locator.

I know there is a SemaConnect station at the office building next door, but when I search for it on the app, nothing comes up. Why can’t I see this station?

Some station owners choose to make their charging stations private or members-only stations. If you are not a member of the charging station organization, you will not be able to see this station on your map or initiate a charging session, even if you are able to plug in. Please use the SemaConnect app or PlugShare to find a publicly accessible charging location.

Charging Costs

Why do SemaConnect stations have different prices at different locations? / How much does it cost to charge at a SemaConnect charging station?

SemaConnect is the designer and manufacturer of the charging stations, but does not own or manage the stations once they are installed. Station owners determine the pricing structure of each individual station location. While some stations are free to use, others have fees associated with them. These fees can include, but are not limited to:

  • Parking Fees – The driver is charged for the total amount of time spent plugged into the station. This pricing could be set or variable to increase the longer the driver spends at the station.
  • Energy Fees – The driver is charged for the energy that is transferred from the station to the vehicle.
  • Time of Use Pricing – The fee for the charging session may vary based on the time of the day and the amount of strain on the grid. Think of this as a “rush hour” fee.
  • Grace Period Pricing – In order to encourage station turnover and allow more electric vehicles the chance to recharge, a station owner may allow free to nominal pricing for a set time limit. Once past that time limit, station fees may jump to a higher price.
  • Member Pricing – A specific group of people, such as tenants of a building or employees of a company, may have the ability to charge their vehicles for free or a nominal fee, while guests and visitors may be charged a different fee determined by the individual station owner.
How do I know how much it will cost to charge my EV at a SemaConnect station?

You can determine the station fee in a number of ways:

  • The associated cost for the charging station should be listed on the LCD screen on the front of the charging station.
  • The SemaConnect app lists the station fee when you click on that station’s map pin and then again on the Location Details.
  • The PlugShare app lists the station cost when you click that station’s map pin.
  • If you are paying through the 1-800 number, the station fees will be recited before you are prompted to input your credit card information. Please note that using the automated system will incur a $20 hold on your credit/debit card. This hold will revert to the actual cost of your session after your bank approves the transaction.
  • You can call 1-800-663-5633 and choose option two for Customer Service. Provide the SemaConnect Customer Service Representative with the station’s serial number, found on the left side of the station head, preceded by the capital letters BAE, and the representative will look up that station’s pricing policy.
I paid for my charging session with my credit card and only charged for an hour. Why is there a $20 charge on my card?

Much like when you swipe your credit card at a gas station to fill up your gas vehicle, when you enter your credit/debit card information to charge your electric vehicle, a hold is placed on your account. This $20 hold will revert to the actual cost of your charging session as soon as your credit/debit card company approves the charge. This hold can last anywhere from 0-3 days. The length of time is determined by individual credit card companies. Please note: the $20 hold will apply to all credit and debit card transactions initiated through the 1-800 automated system.

I paid for my charging session with my SemaConnect account and only charged for an hour. Why is there a $___ charge on my card?

As long as you have a balance of $0 or greater in your SemaConnect account, you can begin a charging session at any SemaConnect station. If your account has a negative balance, your account will attempt to replenish at a multiple of your pre-selected replenishment amount ($20-200). This will be a one time charge to bring your account back to $0 or higher.

Example: If you have a negative balance of $45 and an account replenishment amount of $20, your credit/debit card will be charged $60 (rather than three separate charges of $20).

Questions?

SemaConnect is here to help. Call us at 1-800-663-5633 or contact us online to get help.