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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Beam Charging Responds!

Beam EV charging stations are prevalent in New York City parking garages
My previous post about a misadventure at a parking garage in New York City got the attention of Beam Charging. Within hours of the post going up, I noticed a comment from a person named Joseph from Beam Charging, apologizing for the problem and promising to make immediate changes including retraining parking attendants, correcting the communication error I had on the EVSE and, here's the best one: he's lowering the cost from the existing $3.95/hour to much more competitive $2.95/hr. Of course this is still more than you would pay to charge at home, but public charging is a convenience and you have to expect to pay for that. The ActiveE can take 7.2kW per hour from these EVSE's so I'm getting much more bang for the buck than say a Nissan LEAF owner would since the LEAF can only accept 3.3kW per hour. 

I then received an email from Joseph and it turns out he is actually Joseph Torquie, the president of Beam Charging! I applaud him for reacting so positively to my problem. I know it's going to be a tough time in the beginning, and there will be a lot of lessons learned by both the EV drivers and the EVSE operators, but seeing how well Joseph responded to this is very promising. I won't hesitate to use the Beam chargers in NYC now, in fact I'll seek them out when I need some juice while in the city.

Here's the comment he left yesterday:

Hello Tom,

This is Joseph from Beam Charging.

I am very sorry to hear about your disappointing experience at one of our locations! It really upsets us at Beam to hear a story like this.

From the pictures you have taken it looks like the 77th Street location between Lexington and 3rd Ave.

That garage has been undergoing construction for the past 5 months and we have been constantly battling with keeping it operational and escaping damage as the floors were renovated. This does not excuse its current condition and we have taken swift action to have the station cleaned. After investigating why you were restricted from using your ChargePoint card, we found out there had been a programming problem and have since fixed it. Other users may have experience this problem as well, but failed to notify us of the issue. Thank you for pointing this out.

Regarding the training of the attendants, we have implemented a new training program in the last few weeks and we are retraining all of our garages. We will now prioritize the referenced location for training! In addition to the multiple training sessions, as requested by our garage partners, we have posted instructions in both English & Spanish on the charging stations. This provides a “back-up” if an attendant slips through the cracks and misses our training sessions. If a customer does not have a ChargePoint RFID Card or a smart credit card, on the station door there is an 800 telephone number at the bottom of the instructions. This gives the customer the ability to start a charging session over the phone with the help of a ChargePoint or Beam operator.

Since your visit to our Beam location, we have updated our hourly rate to $2.95 for all of our stations. Our pricing structure is continuously being adjusted based on current EV models, usage, and demand. The hourly cost has to account for the Volts, the BMW Active-E, and of course the Teslas that visit our locations. As you know the technology and charging time requirements are different for each of those vehicles.

We also offer a $98/month unlimited charging option to avoid having the consumer feel the pain of the large technology difference between the EV of today (built last year) versus the EVs arriving in the near future. We hope to also offer other plans for those who charge less frequent as we move forward.

Lastly, we are working with multiple entities in NYC to try and increase the intelligence of the grid. With Smart Grid technology, the grid could identify that an EV is connected and what type of on-board charger an EV would have and pricing structure could be adjusted to fit the EV. Unfortunately we are not there yet.

We at Beam try everyday to find better ways to increase our level of service, customer support, and overall charging experience.

The EV community is small but rapidly growing, and Beam is committed to making sure that everyone's input is recognized!

I thank you for taking the time to point out the above issues to us. We will work very hard to rectify them and avoid a reoccurrence.

I hope that in the near future you will visit a Beam location for a much more enhanced experience and know that your feedback has directly impacted the NYC EV charging environment in a most positive way!


Respectfully,
Joseph
Beam Charging


Pretty cool, right? Thanks for taking the time to respond Joseph! I'm sure you've won over some ActiveE drivers with your quick response and promise to help make charging easier and less expensive!

4 comments:

  1. Very cool. This is the way change comes about! Great job Tom! And kudos to Joseph - he will get my business in NYC too!

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  2. All,
    Thank you for the support. Beam will continue to work hard to earn your business and its place as the EV charging provider of choice!

    To clear up the Chargepoint versus Beam card confusion:

    Beam is a member of the Chargepoint Network and if a customer already has a Chargepoint card, they do not need a Beam card. With the Chargepoint card you can use all of our Beam locations as well as other stations on the Chargepoint network.

    Through our website, you can also use your Chargepoint card to sign-up for our monthly plan and use the same card to access our Beam locations as you would normally. The difference would be you would not be billed hourly, but rather a monthly fee.
    We are working on additional pricing plans that better suit the varying needs of our customers and we will post them on our website as they become available.

    We are in the process of updating our website to clarify that a Chargepoint card holder does not need a Beam card to use our locations.

    Thank you again for all of your input; it is greatly appreciated!

    Joseph

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  3. Thank you Tom and Joseph, glad that's all sorted out!
    I am looking forward to using the Beam service with my existing Chargepoint card.

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