For sometime now charges have been levied for public 240v charging. The much faster 400v DC quick charging has remained free. Until now that is.
Here is a copy of an email I received today
Blink announced they are introducing a $5 per session charge for Quick Charge usage. My last quick charge lasted 13 minutes and consumed 7.5kWh of electric. At $5 per session that equates to 66c per kWh versus the 9c I pay at home. I’ve kept a log of how much the slower 240v public charging has cost me, and it averages 17c/kWh, so quick charging is certainly much more expensive. A reflection of the extra value placed on the convenience of charging 6 times as quick.
One can’t blame Blink in trying to monetize their products and services. However Tesla have announced nationwide free quick charging for the Tesla S for the life of the car. Nissan themselves offer free quick charging at the Franklin TN HQ and Smyrna TN Visitor Center. So competition for low cost or free quick charging is on.
Will EV Charging make enough money?
With a growing number of EV technology companies either merging (Blink and ChargePoint) or going bankrupt (Coda, BetterPlace), one wonders if the Blink business model is sustainable. The problem Blink have is their own customers are their competitors, with cheaper charging at home, drivers will use public charging only if they need the charge or if it is free. One EV infrastructure company eVgo, have introduced a monthly fee for their public and home charging equipment. The customer does not pay for any electric, even at their own home, just a monthly flat fee. eVgo is quite expensive at $89 per month for a 3 year contract. Laws passed in California (The EV Open Access Act, or SB454) outlaw exclusive networks like eVgo, requiring equal access with a credit card, just like a gas station.
Could a gas station make more money from EV divers?
The $5 fee is shared between Blink and the property owner. So if private gas stations installed these units, they could get maybe $2.50 per charge less their electric costs. They may make almost twice as much on a single charge session than the profit on a $50 gas fill up!! Margins on retail gasoline sales are small, its the convenience store that makes the real money. With an EV driver spending 20-30 minutes charging vs 5 minutes for a gas car driver filling with gas, gas stations could stand to make more per transaction than from gasoline drivers. I wonder if anyone has told them? I bet the oil companies haven’t, they make more than the gas station per fill-up. I bet the Government hasn’t either, the govt stand to make over $6 tax on each fill-up, versus zero for a public electric charging session. Expect that to change as soon as gas station EV charging appears. Currently I am only aware of two gas stations in Tennessee that have quick charge units, one in Nashville and one in Chattanooga.
Ubiquitous Quick Charging could be the catalyst for a surge in EV sales
I believe if every gas station had a quick charge unit, drivers would be more comfortable with the technology and EV’s would become much more popular. It would go a long way to reduce ‘range anxiety’ (the irrational fear of running out of charge), if one knew a quick charge was as close as any gas station. Nissan maybe of the same opinion, they have announced they will help introduce another 400 quick charge units in select markets where LEAF sales are strongest.