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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Greenlots, Chargepoint and several other electric vehicle charging companies will allow roaming access across their networks, a move that could help speed EV adoption.

Why it matters: Your phone works on any mobile network, no matter which provider you use. And you can use any bank's ATM machine, regardless of where you keep your money. Now the same will be true of EV charging.

The state of play: Currently, most EV drivers can only charge at the stations where they've set up accounts. That means some EV drivers carry a wallet full of swipe cards, fobs, or phone apps for different networks along their travel routes.

  • The big exception is Tesla, which made it easy. Since 2012, all Tesla owners have to do is drive in, plug in to charge, and any billing happens on the back end.
  • The catch: Tesla's network is proprietary, so owners of other EVs can't use it.

Now the rest of the industry is catching up. Roaming enables EV drivers to find, access and pay for charging across multiple networks through their preferred network's mobile app — without additional sign-ups, fees, or markups.

  • The new roaming partnership includes Greenlots, ChargePoint, EV Connect and FLO and covers 54,000 chargers in the U.S. and Canada. Other partners are expected to join later, including EVGo.
  • Carmakers have also set up roaming agreements with many of the same players, allowing customers to find more than 60,000 plugs and handle payments via their branded apps.

What to watch: True interoperability would allow the charger to automatically identify the car, validate the charge, and start the current flowing without any need for key fobs or apps.

  • "How do we get that EV experience to match the gas station experience?" Kuan Archer, chief product and technology officer at Shell Greenlots.
  • That so called "plug and charge" protocol is beginning to happen, explains Car and Driver.

The bottom line: Overcoming one of the central pain points of EV charging — easy access — will help get consumers on board.

Go deeper

New York City passes sweeping protections for food delivery workers

A Grubhub food delivery driver rides a bicycle during a snowstorm in New York City. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

The New York City Council approved a sweeping legislative package on Thursday that aimed at improving pay and working conditions for delivery drivers working for app-based food delivery services.

Why it matters: The new protections put New York at the forefront of regulating the massive food delivery industry dominated by companies such as Grubhub, DoorDash and Uber Eats, the New York Times noted.

UNC race conscious admissions process upheld by judge

Students walk through the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Aug. 18, 2020 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill can continue its race conscious admissions process, a federal judge ruled on Monday.

Why it matters: The case could end up in the Supreme Court after the conservative nonprofit Students for Fair Admissions (SFFA) vowed to appeal the judge's ruling that UNC didn't discriminate against against white and Asian American applicants in its policy that it said was designed to increase diversity.

SEC debunks conspiracy theories about meme stock mania

Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The SEC issued its long-awaited report on the meme stock mania, which downplayed the narrative that a "short squeeze" was the primary driver behind GameStop's historic stock moves — and shot down conspiracy theories about the event.

Why it matters: The postmortem was highly anticipated, largely because of what it could hint about what the regulator thinks should be done in wake of the saga. But the report stopped short of specific policy recommendations.