Public charging is about to get ridiculously expensive

Charging By Amount Of Electricity Used Instead Of By The Hour

Public charging is about to take a simple business model and make it unaffordable for many with the consequence that it will deter electric car drivers from charging on the go.

What was once free is about to cost a lot of money with the public charge model about to turn on the fees. While, it is difficult for any business to stay afloat during a recession, charging expensive fees certainly seems like a recipe for disaster.

From Free Charging To Expensive. Some of you have noticed that the free public system is slowly going away and is replaced with hefty prices. Most electric cars, the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i MiEV have a 3.3kW on-board charger. If you have the newer Ford Focus electric or Coda’s EV, the charger jumps to 6.6. If you happen to have a Tesla Model S, then your charger handles 10 kW, although to be fair, J1772 won't allow 10 kW since most public stations are capped at 240 volts with 30 amps, which gives you 7.2 kw. What does this mean? The higher the charger rate is, the faster you can charge. And therein lies the rub, public charge stations want to charge you by the hour, not how much electricity you are consuming.

Trickle To Gulp Charging. To put things into perspective, a Nissan Leaf or Mitsubishi i MiEV owner would have to pay $2 an hour using a slow 3.3 kW charger. However a Ford Focus Electric or Coda driver would spend the same amount a twice as fast 6.6 charger. That means the Ford and Coda would charge twice as much electricity for the same $2 an hour i MiEV or Leaf. $2 an hour for the Tesla driver with its 10 kW charger becomes very advantageous.


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As a Nissan LEAF driver, I would never regularly use a Level 2 (240v) charger at $2/hr. I understand that the suppliers need to show a profit, but I'm sure that the service providers know that a fee of $2/hr is not a good business plan. They may not have a choice for some reason. CHAdeMO DC quick charging at $2 for an hour is a great value. 20 minutes and the car is at 80%.
Hi Brain, exactly, it is a not well thought business model and not too many are going to fall for it. Also, I think it's just the beginning and businesses have no idea how to deal with this. Once they caluclate and see the difference in on-board chargers, then they will readjust their plans. Another problem could be due to how much their cabling can safely deliver. At least it opens up the conversation.
I think the problem might be that in most places, only utilities are allowed to sell electricity directly -- by the kilowatt-hour -- so charging station operators must use an indirect system. They charge the car owner by the time hooked up, and pay the utility for the electricity consumer.
That's pretty much the problem and I think businesses can make a good case to utilities. The whole idea of selling by amount of time, regardless of amount charged is not going to sit in well and will not attract clients. Thanks for that point, Nicolas
Most regulations do not permit anyone besides utilities from charging for electricity. That's why the per hour of use fee tends to be used. However the whole business model needs to be re-thought. Instead of charging for a service the business should use the service to attract and keep customers at their site. This is how WiFi has evolved. Originally businesses tried to charge to use WiFi. Now most realize that business model doesn't work.
Yes, you're right, WIFI went through the same thing and that's why company throttling back customers are seeing them go away. But the point is still to rethink the business model, which will happen, one way or another. Utilities are interested in figuring out how much electricity is actually being used. With the advent of "smart grid", it makes sense to monitor this and eventually pay for the amount consumed, the the amount of time used. Thanks for this point, Nicolas