Free charging is going the way of the Dodo bird

For a while, many electric vehicle charging stations have been free to use – partially because they were installed to attract EV drivers to certain businesses, and because the businesses support the idea of greener transportation. Recently, many of those businesses have started requiring payment via credit card to use the charging station. All of the charging stations were installed with Federal grant funding, so the business owners didn’t pay anything to attract electric vehicle owners to their business.

Walgreen’s drugstore chain installed Coulomb ChargePoint stations at many of its California stores. Initially, charging at them was free, but they now cost $2.00 per hour. While $2.00 may not seem like much to drive 80 miles (a quick safe-distance estimate for most electric cars currently available such as the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i and Ford Focus Electric), the chargers only put out at 3.3 kilowatts/hour which means it could take longer than an hour to fully charge. 3.3Kw of charging at $2.00 per hour translates into $0.60 per KwH which is about the same cost of driving a 28MPG vehicle – not great.

The Coda Sedan and the 2012 Ford Focus Electric can recharge at 6.6kW which means, if the charger could support it, they could receive twice the energy for the same cost as 2012 Nissan Leaf drivers and Mitsubishi i owners.

2 Comments on "Free charging is going the way of the Dodo bird"

  1. Whole Foods install chargers that are not part of a large network, and don’t appear to have any way to take payment. It’s my opinion they will stay free for the foreseeable future.

    EVSE’s that are part of a network, like Blink, Chargepoint, NRG have to charge to stay afloat. I’m not sure they will survive, EV owners will baulk at paying 60c per kilowatt hour.

  2. Storeowners / Mall owners – let’s think this through. EV owners probably have more disposable income than most (they likely also have an ICE vehicle available), and they will linger at your store/mall for hours in order to grab a dollar or two of electricity. Sounds like a GREAT deal to CAPTURE customers who spend. A much better attractor than buy-one get-one coupons!

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