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Taking Chargers to School: Rivian Will Now Grade Public Charging Stations

Rivian is grading chargers to make plugging in easier and more reliable for owners

Rivian R1S on the road
  • Rivian is using multiple data points to grade chargers available to owners.
  • Chargers are graded on an A-to-F scale.
  • Data points include how payment was processed, charging speed, failed attempts to charge, and much more.

Speaking with The Verge, Rivian head of software Wassym Bensaid says that "charging and trip planning in EVs should just work. You should not think about it.” In light of that, the automaker has begun to deploy a system that grades often inconsistent public charging infrastructure. The system grades charging stations much the way we all were in school. An “A” is awarded for solid, reliable performance, while an “F” is, well, bad.

Per Bensaid, the system uses multiple criteria to grade each charger, so it’s not just down to “Hey, does this charger go deliver electricity to my battery?” Instead, Rivian gets data “related to not only the number of successful sessions, but then how many trials did you make? How was the payment? What’s the speed of interaction? What’s the overall peak performance that you have within a session? What’s the thermal derating behavior?”

Using the system, Rivian found a number of chargers that received an F. “Surprisingly, actually, there’s multiple chargers rated F,” Bensaid said. “That was one of the ‘a ha’ moments as we went through the data.” Rivian has been working on the software and combing through the data for the last year before going public with its findings. Soon, Rivian customers will be able to grade chargers themselves, and that input will be used alongside company data to evaluate the experience.

Bensaid makes it clear that the data collected by Rivian isn’t perfect — the data is only collected from Rivian EVs, so a person’s experience charging at a bad station with a Tesla may be totally fine — and emphasized that the picture painted by the data is far from a complete assessment of charging in the U.S.

Edmunds says

Having manufacturer-derived and crowdsourced ratings available for charging infrastructures will be hugely beneficial for Rivian owners and will hopefully push charging companies to work toward a consistent charging experience for everyone.