EV Charging Basics

How do I start a charge session?

In simplest terms, you scan the station, then plug in and walk away. It’s that simple!

In more detail:

  1. When you open your PowerFlex app, you’ll automatically be brought to the Scan Screen (it’s the second tab on the bottom navigation row).
  2. Position the app’s camera window directly over the QR code located on the front of the station you wish to charge at. Your device will vibrate once the code is accepted, and a pricing screen will appear. NOTE: if it is too dark for the camera to scan the code, tap the Lightning Bolt icon in the lower-left corner of the camera window to engage your mobile device’s flashlight). If for any reason you are unable to scan the QR code, you may enter the 8-digit code manually in the box labeled "Enter QR code here".
  3. If your station requires payment, you will not be able to charge until you add funds to your PowerFlex wallet. See “Why am I seeing a ‘Low Funds Balance’ warning?” later in this guide.
  4. Read and accept the pricing terms on the screen and tap “Accept and Start Charging.”
  5. Remove the plug from the charger holster and plug it into your vehicle (give it a firm shove to ensure a clean connection). The charger and the vehicle will start communicating and your session will begin. NOTE: it may take up to one minute for the flow of energy to start.
  6. You may observe the progress of your charge on the Active Session Screen.

NOTE: Almost immediately after you plug in your vehicle, listen for an audible “click” sound from the charger itself. This click is from what is known as the “contactor” and indicates that a clean connection has been made and charging can begin. If you do not hear the contactor click, unplug, wait approximately 20 seconds, then start the process over by scanning the station again.

When charging on a PowerFlex Level 2 charger, the length of your charge session is determined by the Charging Preferences you specify in your App Settings. You may adjust these settings during a charging session by tapping the Settings icon on the Session Screen and pressing Submit. You may change your settings for all future sessions by tapping the Settings icon on the bottom navigation bar and selecting “Charging Preferences.”

When charging on a PowerFlex Level 3 DC Fast Charger, your car will continue to charge until it is unplugged, the battery reaches its capacity, or reaches the capacity level determined by the vehicle’s internal settings. The Charging Preferences set in the PowerFlex app will not apply during a Level 3 session.

How do I end my charging session?

Simply press the button to release the charger from your vehicle, remove it, and return the plug to its holster. Your transaction details will show in the PowerFlex app under Settings->Transaction History.

How fast are PowerFlex chargers?
The charging speed of a charger depends on a number of factors, including the type of charger, the vehicle model, and the available power at a charging site. PowerFlex enlists both Level 2 and DC Fast Chargers in its network. Level 2 Chargers are the most common in the PowerFlex network and deliver power between 6 and 10 kW. These chargers can deliver between 15 and 35 miles per hour, depending on the vehicle model and available power at a site. DC Fast Chargers, sometimes (incorrectly) referred to as "Level 3" chargers, deliver power at rates from 25 – 250 kW, depending on the model of charger, and are able to fully charge most EV batteries in 1-2 hours, and in some cases even fewer.
What is “Level 1 Charging”?

Level 1 Charging is the slowest EV Charging speed and it is commonly achieved by plugging your EV into a standard wall outlet that you’d find in your home. Level 1 charging delivers only 3-5 miles per hour and is not a service PowerFlex provides.

Why does the app ask me what kind of car I drive? Why do I have to set how much energy I want and how long I will stay?

At PowerFlex, we are committed to charging as many vehicles as possible as efficiently as we can, resulting in EV charging that is both accessible and healthy for the grid. To accomplish our goal, we ask for partnership with our drivers to help us schedule each charging session to maximize the potential of a charging site.

Having information about the vehicle make, model, and year, along with a plan from the driver for how much energy they need and how long they are willing to stay plugged in, can help PowerFlex create a charging schedule that can ensure that each vehicle gets the energy it needs in time to head off to its next destination. This schedule is constantly updated throughout the day as vehicles come and go from each charging site.

PowerFlex uses U.S. Department of Energy data to learn the battery size and estimated efficiency of each vehicle to help make its energy calculations. As always, your actual mileage may vary from your mileage request based on your individual driving behavior.

Should you need your charging as fast as possible, set your time duration to as short as the app will require to deliver the energy you need. But if you’re able to stay longer, your car will simply charge at slower rate of speed as the station delivers you the energy you request, saving more energy for others who may need it.

How does the “Keep Charging” option work?

Once your original energy request has been delivered, you can elect to continue charging if you like by turning on “Keep Charging” (found on the “Charging Preferences” page). By setting a maximum price you are willing to pay to enable Keep Charging, the charger will continue to deliver energy for as long as the station price stays at or below the level you set, until it is full or reaches its own internal battery limit.

NOTE: Keep Charging will only engage after the full amount of your requested energy has been delivered.

How much does charging cost?

Stations are priced differently depending on where they are located. You can view the pricing schedule at any station where you have privileges to charge by using the PowerFlex app to scan the QR code on the front of it.

Why is electricity at my station priced differently at different times of day?

In many locations, electricity prices vary based on the time of day based on the differing demands for energy. With EV charging, it is no different. Such a pricing schedule is called “Time of Use” (TOU) pricing, and typically the prices in the late afternoon and early evening are the highest, knowns as “peak” charging hours.

What are “idle fees"?

A charger may assess idle fees if a car is left plugged in but not actively charging. Idle fees are meant as a deterrent for “stall-napping” and are enforced to encourage drivers to move their vehicles when done so that others may charge.

The idle fee pricing and terms are described on the pricing screen that appears immediately after scanning the QR code on a station.


Why won’t my car charge?

Here are some potential causes for why a charge session may not go as planned:

  1. Make sure you have claimed the station successfully. A station is not claimed until the QR Code is scanned and the price to charge has been accepted.
  2. Listen for the “click” of the contactor after you plug in. The charger will make a single, audible “click” sound when a clean connection has been made with the car. If you do not hear the click, or hear more than one click (possibly indicating the charger has disconnected), you should unplug, wait approximately 20 seconds, then start the process over by scanning the station again and re-inserting the plug with a healthy shove to ensure a clean connection.
  3. Check your vehicle’s charging schedule or charging limit. If your car is only set to charge at a certain time of day, or if it already has more energy than its set limit, your car will not charge. In this case, you should unplug, then adjust your car’s settings and re-claim the station.
  4. Make sure you have adequate funds in your PowerFlex wallet. Check Settings-->Add Funds to view your current balance.
  5. If you do not have access to use the station, the app will notify you when you scan the QR Code. If you believe you should be able to access the charging station, check with your building or site administrator for assistance.
  6. Check to make sure there are indicator lights on the front of the station. If the indicator lights are not illuminated, there may not be power available at that location.
  7. If none of the above resolves your charging issue, the station or site could be having a problem. Please contact us for assistance at support@powerflex.com or 833-4-PWRFLX or (833) 479-7359.
I tried to scan the QR code, but it’s not working. What can I do?

Occasionally, due to the quality of the available signal, state of the mobile device, or other factors, the PowerFlex app may not scan the QR code successfully. Things to try in this case:

  • Use the manual code entry field to type the code in and tap “Submit”
  • Force close/quit the PowerFlex app and tap the PowerFlex app icon to re-open it.
  • Restart your mobile device and re-open the PowerFlex app.

If after completing all of these steps you’re still unable to start your charging session, contact us at 833-4-PWRFLX or support@powerflex.com for assistance.

What can I do if the plug gets stuck in my vehicle?

Many vehicles have security mechanisms to keep the plug locked into the charge port to prohibit others from unplugging it. Each vehicle is different, but things to try include:

  • Unlock the vehicle
  • Open the driver’s door, or other doors, to the vehicle
  • Insert your key into the ignition
  • Power on the vehicle
  • If your vehicle has a “Stop Charging” option in either the vehicle or its own mobile app, press it.
  • Press “Need Help” on the Active Session Screen and select “Stop Charging”.

Additional actions to try when using a DC Fast Charger:

  • Press the “Stop” button on the charger itself
  • Press the “Stop Charging” button on the Active Session Screen in the PowerFlex app.

Some vehicle models have charger lock controls located on the dashboard or driver door. Most vehicles also have an emergency mechanical release to eject the charger plug. Please consult your owner’s manual for more assistance should the plug become stuck.

Why am I seeing a “Low Funds Balance” warning?

Most PowerFlex chargers are not free to use. Drivers are required to maintain a sufficient wallet balance to cover the cost of their energy, plus an extra amount to cover any possible idle fees (assessed at some sites when the driver overstays the duration of their charge).

If you see the “Low Funds Balance” warning, you have a few options:

  1. Add more funds to your PowerFlex wallet — visit Settings-->Add Funds and follow the prompts;
  2. Enable “Auto-Refill” to your payment method — visit Settings-->Wallet Auto-Refill and follow the prompts (Note: most payment methods require a minimum deposit when enabling Auto-Refill);
  3. Lower your energy request. Visit Settings-->Charging Preferences to lower the number of miles or kWh requested so that your wallet balance will not fall below $0.00.
Why am I being asked to add funds when the station is currently free?

A site with time-of-use (TOU) charging rates may start free but may not stay free during the course of your session. Pay attention to the rate schedule at your charger when calculating your needed wallet amount.

If you are charging at a free site with idle fees, you may be asked to make a wallet deposit in the event your car is left in its space and not charging.

In each case, your wallet will only be debited if you charge when the cost of charging is greater than zero or if you incur idle fees.

Why doesn’t the charger plug fit into my Tesla charge port?

Most PowerFlex Level 2 chargers utilize the most-commonly found J1772 charger plug. To charge a Tesla on these stations requires the use of the Tesla/J1772 adapter which can be purchased from Tesla (most Tesla dealers include the Tesla/J1772 adapter with the purchase of a new car).

The Tesla/J1772 adapter will click into place on the end of the charger plug. It does not matter if you attach the adapter to the charger plug or the vehicle first.

Why isn’t my vehicle charging at its maximum charging speed?

PowerFlex stations are unique in that they smartly charge vehicles within the electricity capacity of the location they are installed. We call this Adaptive Load Management, and it enables us to charge many more vehicles simultaneously than may otherwise be possible. This means that if the site is full of charging EVs, it is possible that not every vehicle will receive full power for the entire duration of their session. This is precisely the reason why the PowerFlex app prompts you for how long you plan to stay parked and how much energy you need: that information is used to schedule the charging of your session along with the sessions of all the other vehicles plugged in, to make sure every vehicle gets what it needs.

If you discover you need a faster charge than the station is delivering, there are a couple things you can try:

  1. In your Charging Preferences, reduce the time you plan to park at the station. This will help increase the priority the site will place on your energy delivery request. Note that there is a minimum time required for the energy that is requested as each charger has a maximum speed that it can deliver the electricity to your vehicle.
  2. If you are at a parking garage where there are chargers on multiple floors, you may try to find a floor where fewer cars are plugged in. Oftentimes different floors are served by different electricity panels, so there may be more power to share in another location.
Why do I see an “Unauthorized Driver” message when I scan the QR code at my station?
Some PowerFlex stations are placed at workplaces, schools, condominiums, or other locations where charging is reserved for employees or residents. Access to these stations is granted via the email address used to create a PowerFlex account. If you believe you should have access to a specific charger, please verify that you are using the appropriate email address for that site. You can change your email address in Settings->Change Email. You must follow the email verification steps prior to your first charging session to ensure you gain access to the private charger.
I’m supposed to get free or discounted charging. Why isn’t that working?

Many PowerFlex chargers are located at workplaces, schools, or other locations where discounted or even free charging is offered. There are three common reasons why drivers would not see a discounted price they expect:

  1. The account was not created with an email address that grants the discount (e.g. a personal email address instead of a work email address).
  2. The email address has a typo in it.
  3. The email address has not yet been verified.
I see "Poor Network Connection". What happens if my mobile device cannot access the internet?

The PowerFlex app can claim a session even if it cannot connect to the internet at the station.

  1. Open the PowerFlex app on your device.
  2. Scan the QR code on the station.
  3. Insert the charging plug into the vehicle and head on your way.
  4. When you reach a location where the internet is available, open the PowerFlex app (or simply leave it open as you walk away from your vehicle).
  5. The app will re-acquire the internet and present you with the pricing screen.
  6. Accept the pricing terms and charging will begin.

Email Verification

How do I verify my email address, and why do I have to?

Email verification is only required in the case when certain additional privileges, such as access to a private charger or discounted charging rates, are granted via a specific email address.

Verification is also useful to ensure you’ve entered it correctly in the event you need to change your password or if PowerFlex Support needed to contact you if we detect an issue with your charging session.

What if my email verification code doesn’t arrive?

Check your Spam or Junk folders for the email with your verification code, as some email filters will block such messages. If the code does not arrive after 5 minutes, you can restart the verification process to request another code. If the issue persists, contact us at 833-4-PWRFLX or support@powerflex.com for assistance.


How do I change the email address on my account?

Go to Settings->My Profile->Change Email and enter your new email address.

NOTE: You must verify your new email address before your next charge session if the email address grants you access to a private charger.

Where can I find more PowerFlex charging locations?

Tap the first navigation tab at the bottom of the PowerFlex app screen to view our map of PowerFlex charging stations near you.