ChargePoint network station in Walnut Creek, CA

What's the cost to charge an electric car at a public station, and why

The more electric car charging stations exist, the more useful will be electric cars, so long as the fees to use charging stations make sense.

Every so often an electric car owner discovers a public charging station costing $3 per hour to charge their car. Their reaction isn't always positive because of the fee paid per mile of range received by charging.

The public charging stations fall into three groups. The first group is the stations in one of the two electric car charge station networks in the U.S., the Blink Network run by ECOTality, and the ChargePoint network run by Coulomb Technologies. The second group are the other public charging stations that aren't in one of those networks. The last group are the stations, in California and elsewhere, left over from 10 or so years ago when electric cars were last manufactured by the automakers.

The cost to use each electric car charging station differs based on various conditions. Sometimes the station is owned by a business, and is available for its employees. Sometimes a city will own the charging station making it available for the city employees, the city fleet, or for the public. Sometimes a parking garage owner will install a charging station, making it available for electric car owners parking in the garage. Some of these public charging stations are free, while others cost money with a fee that varies from station to station.

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Comments

Would you mind citing your source for the statement, "The most important reason for this is federal and state law mandating that only utilities can legally charge for electricity by the kilowatt-hour." I am so far unable to verify this, (though I've only spent a few minutes so far.) But, how do I know it's true? If it's federal law, it shouldn't be difficult for you to cite. If it's state law, that would have to mean all 50 states rule the same on this? You should be able to cite at least one state law.
I do not think there are any Federal laws that pertain to this because California, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, and Virginia have removed this "resale of electricity" problem from their electric tariffs. Hopefully the other states will follow suit soon.
From the BlinkNetwork FAQ: "Why are you charging by time and not by kWh? The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission mandates that only utilities can legally charge for energy by the kilowatt-hour. We charge for hourly access to our Blink chargers, not the energy passed through them."
As people learn more about electric cars (actually "coal-powered" cars), they will realize how impractical they still are. They cannot survive on their own in the market without government bribes of your tax money and mine. If a car salesman tried to sell you a gasoline powered car with the limitations of a "coal-powered" car, you would laugh in his face and keep laughing hysterically as you walked out of the showroom.
How many Hummer's were sold under the Hummer Tax Break?
Some electricity comes from coal plants which have a large carbon foot print. It's true. But for an accurate comparision, the carbon foot print of PRODUCING, not using, a gallon of gas must be calculate. Extracting the oil, transporting the oil, refining the oil into usable gasoline and finally trucking the gas to your local gas station. So yes, cleaner electricity is needed and we are moving in that direction, but electrical production is still much 'cleaner' than gasoline production.
With natural gas prices decreasing and the likelihood of oil increasing, electricity may be the least expensive fuel in the coming years. Given the single most expensive component of an EV is the battery, the trajectory of battery prices and the R&D that is going into this segment, there is a highly probability that EVs will be cheaper than gasoline-powered cars even without the need for subsidies. Once the cost of the car and the maintenance is added together, and when combined with ubiquitous EV filling stations, the EV market will explode.
With natural gas prices decreasing and the likelihood of oil increasing, electricity may be the least expensive fuel in the coming years. Given the single most expensive component of an EV is the battery, the trajectory of battery prices and the R&D that is going into this segment, there is a highly probability that EVs will be cheaper than gasoline-powered cars even without the need for subsidies. Once the cost of the car and the maintenance is added together, and when combined with ubiquitous EV filling stations, the EV market will explode.
Good presentation of the issues. One additional key metric: refueling by charging at home, for instance at $0.12/kWh (less if you have rooftop solar), and getting perhaps 3 miles/kWh, means you'll pay $0.04/mile for most of your driving.
Good presentation of the issues. One additional key metric: refueling by charging at home, for instance at $0.12/kWh (less if you have rooftop solar), and getting perhaps 3 miles/kWh, means you'll pay $0.04/mile for most of your driving.
I read somewhere that the Blink 'free period' was extended to the end of 2012.
The FAQ on the Blink website says otherwise.
Ah Yeah you are right. It's the InCard Plus membership fee that's waived until 2013.
Your article does not take into account the costs of parking itself, where EV users actually save significantly, as compared to ICE users who pay both at the gas station as well as for parking.
The cost of parking is a wash - the parking lots I'm familiar with charge the same whether or not it is an electric or gas car. The cost of parking is a separate fee from anything charged by the charging station owner. However there may be instances, that I haven't seen, where the parking fee is included in the charging station fee.
These folks are dirt bags. Be very careful dealing with there technology. If anything happens to your car they will blame you and aggressively pursue you in court.

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