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.

SemaConnect is your partner for smart solutions that keep you charging ahead.

Want to learn more about managing your SemaConnect charging stations? Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions by station owners.*

EV Charging Basics

What kind of charging stations does SemaConnect offer?

SemaConnect sells AC Level 2 and DC Fast Charging (DCFC) electric vehicle charging stations. Our Series 4 home charger can charge any electric vehicle up to 12kW and 50amp at 240VAC in a home garage. Our commercial Level 2 charging stations can charge electric vehicles at 7.2 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 DCFC stations that charge select electric vehicles.

What’s the difference between the standard SemaConnect charging station and the “Plus” charging station?

SemaConnect 30amp, 48amp, and 80amp charging stations are Level 2 charging stations that use the same casing and software. The difference is the wiring. 30amp charging stations charge 7.2 kW, 30amp at 240V. 48amp charging stations charge 11.52kW, 48amp at 240V. 80amp charging stations, our “Plus” models, charge 19.2 kW, 80amp at 240V. While most light-duty passenger vehicles use 30-48amp charging stations for daily charging, vehicles with larger batteries, such as medium-duty fleet vehicles, may need a more powerful 80amp charging station for daily use. 

Please note that charging speeds are limited by the technology available in the electric vehicle itself. When you plug a vehicle into a Level 2 charging station, the on-board charger inside the vehicle converts the electricity from the station into a form that can be stored inside the vehicle battery. The charging speed is limited by the maximum electrical acceptance rate of the on-board charger. Most passenger electric cars can only accept between 3.3kW and 11.52kW, with plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) on the lower end. (DCFC stations bypass the on-board charger and are only compatible with battery electric vehicles, or BEVs.) Please review your vehicle owner’s manual to determine the maximum electrical acceptance rate of the on-board charger on your vehicle.  

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 and station owners 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.
  • 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 many Administrators can I add to my SemaConnect admin account?

We recommend adding multiple Contacts and Administrators at your location. On-site maintenance staff can assist with power cycling or troubleshooting in case of driver issues. If your organization restricts station access to Members, adding multiple Administrators allows you to quickly approve Member requests. You can add/update the approved Contacts and Administrators at your location using the SemaConnect Network or by emailing your SemaConnect account manager.

What is the federal tax credit for EV charging stations?

The Federal Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit is available for businesses that installed EV charging stations in the 2018-2021 tax years. Please see Form 8911 for more information.

What is SemaConnect doing during the COVID-19 outbreak?

SemaConnect is still open for business! We are here to help if you have any issues. Call or email us if you (or your drivers!) have any questions about your stations or need help charging. 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.

About Your EV Drivers

How long will it take to charge an 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, 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, drivers will get an average of 25 miles of range per hour of charging time at a Level 2 charging station.

How far can my drivers travel per charge in their EVs?

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 a cell phone. Drivers should refer to the vehicle manual to determine range.

Do drivers need a SemaConnect membership to charge at my SemaConnect stations?

A SemaConnect membership is required for charging at private and fleet stations. As the station owner, you can open your SemaConnect stations to all drivers or restrict access to users you approve.

How do you charge at SemaConnect?

SemaConnect offers many ways to start charging! Drivers 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 drivers create a SemaConnect account?

To sign up for a SemaConnect Account, drivers should visit https://network.semaconnect.com/ and click the green Register button. Fill out the required information, check the button to agree to SemaConnect’s Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, then click the green Create My Account button. They will then receive a verification email from SemaConnect confirming their new account. Click the link to continue with account activation. Drivers can also save a credit or debit card, receive notifications, request a SemaConnect Network Pass, or request access to a private station.

Do drivers need to add a credit card?

A SemaConnect account is free to have, and drivers do not have to associate a payment with a SemaConnect account. However, please be advised that if a driver chooses not to add a credit/debit card, they will only be able to charge their vehicle at free SemaConnect stations until they add a payment method. If your location uses a fee structure, including stations with a free charging period that switches to a fee after a certain amount of time, access will be denied.

When a driver does associate a credit/debit card with their driver account, their card will be charged an initial $10. This money is not a charge by SemaConnect, but rather it is what turns a SemaConnect account into a debit system for charging an electric vehicle and will be utilized to pay for charging sessions. For more information, visit Driver FAQ.

Where do drivers go for more information?

Click here to view the SemaConnect Driver Hub. Drivers can also contact customer service for assistance. Our phone number is 1-800-663-5633. 

Managing Your Stations –

Shared/Public Charging

Which features are available with my shared/public charging stations?

SemaConnect commercial charging stations are designed for commercial applications including commercial real estate, education, government, utilities, multifamily, and more. Features include: 

  • Charge drivers for usage 
  • Restrict access for public, private, or multi-group 
  • View real-time availability online or on the SemaConnect app 
  • Download usage/sustainability reports 
  • Integration with leading driver programs: PlugShare, ChargeHub, EVgo, Electrify America 
  • Load management-ready 
  • 24/7/365 driver support 

The Series 8 also includes a credit card reader for public charging. 

SemaConnect Level 2 charging stations include the first year of Network Services and Comprehensive Replacement Warranty with purchase.

What are the “More Than Five Ways to Pay” with SemaConnect?

SemaConnect offers many ways to start charging! Drivers 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. Pay with credit/debit card swipe (Series 8 only)
  8. Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay (Series 8 only)
Can I charge drivers for energy? / What is the difference between pricing policies?

As the station owner, you can determine the pricing structure of each individual station location. Here are some of your options:

  • Duration/Parking Fees – The driver is charged for the total amount of time spent plugged into the station. This can be a flat hourly fee (such as $2 per hour) or increase over time. Note: drivers are charged the duration that they are plugged in, even if they have completed charging.
  • kWh Energy Fees – The driver is charged for the energy that is transferred from the station to the vehicle. Please note that this option is not available in all states.
    • This fee structure is recommended at locations using load management features.
  • 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. You can also vary your structure based on the day of the week or month in the year.
  • Grace Period Pricing – To encourage station turnover, you can set free or nominal pricing for a set time limit, then increase fees once a driver has exceeded that time. For example, drivers get free charging for the first four hours, then pay from the 4th hour onwards.
  • Member Pricing – Create a member group of approved users that can charge for a different fee than public users. For example, employees or tenants charge for free, while public users pay an hourly rate.

You can choose one pricing option or use them in tandem. Some properties prefer to charge both an hourly Duration rate and a kWh usage fee.

What is the difference between access policies?

As a station owner, you have the choice to restrict access to your charging stations.

  • Members Only – Drivers must add an invitation code to their SemaConnect Account (and be approved by a station administrator) before they can charge at your stations. Members can initiate a charge with their SemaConnect account via SemaConnect Pass, SemaConnect App, or by calling SemaConnect Customer Service.
  • Members and Public – Any driver can use your charging stations. Public drivers do not need an invitation/access code, but any private members will need to follow the Members Only instructions above. Public drivers can initiate a charge with any of the “Five Ways to Pay,” but Members using a Member Pricing plan must use their SemaConnect account to receive this rate.
  • Open Access – Any driver can plug into your station, no restrictions. Station owners cannot charge for energy.
What is the difference between map visibilities?

In addition to station access, station owners can also limit visibility on charging maps.

  • Admin Only – Stations are only visible to station admins. Drivers cannot view stations in the SemaConnect app nor public maps such as Google Maps, PlugShare, or ChargeHub.
  • Members Only – Stations are only visible to approved members. Members must be logged into their SemaConnect account to view charging stations. Stations will not appear on public maps.
  • Members and Public – Stations are visible to all users and will appear on public maps.
How do I add drivers to a member group?

Station admins can log into the Organization Account at https://network.semaconnect.com/ . Simply log in, then go to Manage > My Organization > Organization Details > Invitation Code. You will receive an email when a driver adds this code to their account.

To approve and add a driver to your member group, simply log in, then go to Manage > Members. You will see a list of Members that have either been Approved or are Pending approval. Click the Actions button to approve or reject this driver. You can also revoke access to Members who no longer work or live at your property.

Managing Your Stations –

Multifamily Personal Charging

What’s the difference between Personal and Shared charging stations?

Some multifamily communities offer both shared and dedicated parking for residents. The Series 5 station is designed for dedicated/deeded parking spots. With the Series 5, property managers or homeowner’s associations can install a charging station and bill the resident directly for the cost of access and electricity.

Who can use Series 5 charging stations?

Because the Series 5 is assigned to a specific driver account, only that driver can initiate a charging session. EV drivers must be added to the charging station and use their SemaConnect account to start charging via mobile app or SemaConnect Pass.

How do I bill drivers for access to a personal charging station?

With SemaConnect, you can charge drivers a monthly base fee for access, plus a usage fee for electricity used. Choose a usage fee based on energy transferred (kWh) or plug-in duration. Drivers pay a monthly bill through their SemaConnect Account, and SemaConnect remits payments back to you, the station owner.

What is Charging as a Service?

Charging as a Service, or CaaS, is a subscription-based model for EV charging stations. Site hosts receive station hardware, upgrades, maintenance, and customer service for the duration of the program. Typically, site hosts set driver fees above the CaaS program pricing, then receive a remittance check from SemaConnect for the difference. Visit SemaConnect CaaS to learn more.

Managing Your Stations –

Fleet Charging

What’s the difference between Shared and Fleet charging stations?

Some commercial properties offer parking for fleets and for employees/public. With SemaConnect Fleet Management, you can designate a group of charging stations for your fleet. 

Here are a few features designed just for fleets: 

  • Fleet Vehicle Management 
  • Fleet Access Control 
  • Fleet Manager Portal 
  • Late Plug-in/Plug-out Alerts 
  • Schedule Charge Start Time 
  • Session Data and Analytics 
  • State of Health Monitoring 
  • Load Management-Ready 
Can unapproved drivers charge their private vehicles at my dedicated fleet charging stations?

No, each dedicated fleet station is tied to a fleet vehicle. EV drivers must use a designated RFID card to initiate a charge at a fleet charging station.

How do I log into my SemaConnect fleet manager portal?

Fleet and public charging stations use the same station management portal. Simply log into https://network.semaconnect.com/ to manage all SemaConnect charging stations in your organization.

SemaConnect Load Management

Does SemaConnect offer load management?

All SemaConnect EV charging stations include a robust load management capability with Peak Power Management and Power Sharing Management functionality. That means that regardless of your electrical capacity, you can provide high quality charging for your property or organization.

What is Peak Power Management?

Peak power management allows you to manage the maximum power available to a group of charging stations. Set your electrical capacity for your stations in the SemaConnect Network. Choose from:

  • Constant Peak Power
  • Time-of-Use Peak Power
  • Demand Response Peak Power
What is Power Sharing Management?

Power sharing management allows you to utilize your peak power settings between stations. Your station group will share a peak power level. Choose power sharing options from:

  • Set Charge – Each plug has a set power level.
  • Equal Charge – Each vehicle will receive equal max power which varies depending on the number of vehicles plugged in.
  • First In, First Out – Each new vehicle will receive max power until capacity is reached. Subsequent arrivals will start charging when first arrivals complete charging.
How do I enable load management on my SemaConnect charging stations?

Please contact your SemaConnect account manager to set up this feature.

*Please note: Customers can work with their account manager to create custom configurations for their stations that may not match the information in this FAQ. If you have questions, please reach out to your account manager.

Questions?

SemaConnect is here to help. Call us at 1-800-663-5633 or send us an email to get help.