Ecotality is basically admitting that it doesn't know how much to charge for an EV fast charge. That's why the maker of Blink EV charging stations just started testing pricing models, posting on its blog that it would change pricing plans for US markets "on a regular basis." Ecotality will collect the data, measure usage and use that info to figure out the theoretical pricing sweet spot. It's a tough decision, because you can charge for the juice in any number of ways.

Judging the initial response to a plan to charge $5 per charging event for subscribers ($8 for "guests") things are a bit sour. That's the rate now in effect in California (so, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco). No one there seems real happy with the one-size-fits-all flat fee and many say that either a per-second or per-kilowatt fee would be more equitable. Ecotality wants data from more markets to calculate the price, and says it will start enacting pricing plans in Arizona, Tennessee, New Jersey and Pennsylvania to find the elusive right revenue model. To which we say, good luck. Check out the company's blog post (and comments) here and note that the company does say, "We will collect the data on usage and then identify the model that works best."


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 61 Comments
      Levine Levine
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Ecotality is basically admitting that it doesn't know how much to charge for an EV fact (sic) [fast] charge" Talk about dishonest business dealing...... No one including Ecotality engages in a business endeavor without knowing before hand the market price of its product or service. Using Ecotality's logic, a person would order an expensive wine without knowing the price before hand. Applying Ecotality's logic from a producer's point of view, a person would invest millions of dollar in the vineyard business without knowing the market price of his wine. Obviously, it is all nonsense or a smoke screen to conceal the truth. Discarding its plead of being ignorant about the price for fast charging a EV and laying out the facts bare, the verdict is inescapable: Ecotality is just being dishonest. Plain and simple. Truth be told, Ecotality's business model is billing a premium price to the EV driver who is desperate for a charge to complete his journey. Predatory? Yes. Opportunistic? Yes. Captive customer? Yes. Does it reflect poorly on Ecotality's PR? Yes. To deflect the naked, brutal capitalism behind the high price, Ecotality claims it doesn't know what price to bill EV drivers to charge up.
        Dave D
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Levine Levine
        Exactly. What they're really selling is the ability to get a fast charge and they clearly think the average amount of kWh used per driver will be a lot less than $5.
        Nick
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Levine Levine
        B.S. EV pay per charge is something entirely new. You can make as much reaearch as you want, but you only know for sure once you can measure consumer response.
      purrpullberra
      • 1 Year Ago
      This 'writer' lies in stories and completely makes crap up. He is not worth reading.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @purrpullberra
        A broken clock is correct twice a day. While he certainly has a very poor reputation, each article should be read on its own. If you have some specific point to make, don't be lazy - make the correction!
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @purrpullberra
        but what good is a clock that you don't know 'when' it is correct. We do more work fact checking Danny's stories... than Danny does with his writing in the first place.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Apparently no complaints worth making on this one. However, I did take Mr. King to task for a faulty headline on another post...
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          So what's the complaint with this article?
      Deneway
      • 1 Year Ago
      Badly wrong pricing plan. Think of the outcry of gas stationed charged for 20 gallons regardless of actual need.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Imagine going to a gas station, and no matter how full your tank is, or how big it is, they charge you $50. But they don't always fill up your tank, but sometimes they do. How long would that gas station stay in business, compared to the others?
        TurboFroggy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Yeah and imaging that same gas station filling your tank to 80% in 20 minutes but it takes another 30 minutes to get a full tank, but you don't care, you want that $50 worth so you stay 50 minutes blocking the pump the entire time. This is the crux of the stupidity of per-session pricing.
      Rotation
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't like it. It's a good price for a whole fill, but for a partial fill it's a disaster.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      $5 to charge a Leaf, which has a range of ~75 miles according to the EPA... That's equivalent (at the moment, anyway, certainly not static) to the cost of fueling my wife's Honda Civic for the same distance. I can see why BEV owners might be upset - paying gasoline prices for electrons.
        BraveLil'Toaster
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        Actually, it's worse than that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gasoline_gallon_equivalent Since a gallon of gasoline is good for 33.5 kWh of energy, and a Leaf will consume at most 20 kWh (noone rolls in with a fully dead battery, and the quick chargers only charge to 80% anyway), that's 59.7% of a gallon of gas. Of course, you're getting about 99 MPGe, but you're still paying $5 for $2.388 worth of gasoline.
      Anderlan
      • 1 Year Ago
      What's wrong with per kWh, LIKE AT YOUR HOUSE?
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Anderlan
        And then what happens when they fully charge up and then just leave their car there? That prevents other cars from getting a charge and prevents the charger owner from making more money from other people.
        Jesse Gurr
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Anderlan
        Because State law dictated that if a business charges by the kWh, it MUST be a utility. Then you would have to register as a utility to sell electricity by the kWh. That is why these businesses charge by the hour or charge for use of the space. But that law is starting to change. Some states have already changed the wording for that and others are in the process. For a list and more information check out this link: http://www.theevproject.com/cms-assets/documents/103425-835189.ri-2.pdf
          Dave D
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          Great info and link. Thanks.
        Anderlan
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Anderlan
        And like the utilities charge each other, and like, uh, EVERYTHING ELECTRICITY?
      Anderlan
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd pay $5 for a full fast charge. As others are saying, that's pretty close to the price of 80 miles worth of gas in a Prius. But if I just pop in and suck 1kWh for 3.5 miles, I hella don't want to pay $5. Per kWh is the way to go, JUST LIKE YOU PAY AT YOUR HOUSE. DUH.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Anderlan
        Because you are not at your house. Do you pay the same for popcorn at the movie theatre that you pay for popcorn at your house? Someone paid for that land and paid to install that charger. They want some kind of return on that investment.
      Dave
      • 1 Year Ago
      You're not gonna be totally empty when you get to the fast charger. And a fast charge usually goes to 80% before slowing down for battery conditioning reasons. So, a fast charge in a Nissan Leaf would cost: $8 / 16 kwh = 50 cents per kwh That's about what I figured all along. You gotta pay for the installation and maintenance of the equipment as well as the cost of real estate and property taxes. And fast charging will mostly occur during the day rather than during nighttime hours when electricity rates are lower.
        Dave
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave
        Of course, they could charge less per use if the chargers were used more often. Its a chicken and egg problem. There's not enough paying BEV drivers to support the cost.
          Ryan
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave
          They should also state that a certain percentage of the fee is going towards building more DC fast chargers. That way it will help benefit them in the future by being able to travel further.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave
          You have to start somewhere. Remember that automobile drivers started by buying gasoline in canisters at stores. It was like buying water at a supermarket and hauling it back to your car. Not convenient at all. But eventually, gasoline cars got adopted anyway besides the flaws. EV is existing it's awkward teenage years as a technology. Trust me... when those eggs hatch, you are gonna get fancy lookin' birds.. :)
      JakeY
      • 1 Year Ago
      They are probably not charging for the most logical kWh because that would put them under utility laws and that's more of a hassle and probably costs them more money. Something like a per minute fee is more probable.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @JakeY
        If that's the reason, then that sucks.... :(
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          I wasn't happy with that link so I searched for more info and found this: http://www.theevproject.com/cms-assets/documents/103425-835189.ri-2.pdf Goes into more detail about it.
          JakeY
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          Small correction to my point. This does not apply to all states, but apparently there have been recent legislative changes that makes it so it's viable to bill by kWh without being treated as a utility: http://www.carcharging.com/about/news/all/carcharging-implements-new-pricing-policy-at-per-kilowatt-hour-rates/
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Do they not get it... Charge per the quantity of energy delivered: kilowatt-hours. People are used to doing this with gasoline. Why do it any other way. Seriously.
        Jesse Gurr
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Gas stations price gasoline by the kWh? Didn't know that. Last time I checked a gallon is not a quantity of energy. Could be wrong.
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          A gallon is a quantity, not necessarily of energy. A gallon of water has no energy. Well maybe kinetic energy, but not anything useful. If I say I have a gallon. That doesn't really say anything. A gallon of what? A gallon of gas has energy in it but "gas" isn't a unit of energy. Joules is a unit of energy. I could say that I have a "gallon of BUTs", would that be better? Maybe gas stations should charge $/Joules of gas or $/BTU of gas. Or we could just change it to Liters like Europe.
          Naturenut99
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          He was saying to price electricity use as we already charge for electricity use. Which is by kWh. We charge by the gallon for gas. We already charge for electricity by kWh. Which is the only way that makes sense. Therefore we should charge similarly for EV charging. Obviously the law is in the way to charge by kWh. But there should be no reason we cant amend that for EV charging.
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          haha! No I'm good. :D
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          A gallon is a quantity of energy. You could convert it to BTUs/gallon and.... yeah.
          Jesse Gurr
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          OOPS I meant to say "Gallon of BTUs" not BUTs. Darn no edit button!
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Jesse Gurr
          I hope you understand that i was talking about a gallon of gasoline. The BTU ( or kilowatt hours ) per gallon number can be found out if you look. We just buy gas in gallons because it is a convenient unit. We should buy energy in kilowatt-hours because that is also the most convenient. Any other semantics you'd like to argue about?
      Giza Plateau
      • 1 Year Ago
      Develop minimal, cost effective chargers. Not stupid houses with built in TV that runs 24/7. build in credit card payment so anyone can use it. Charge by the minute if per kWh is illegal due to insane laws. The price can be relatively high for the rare convenience but 8$ for say 8kWh top up is perhaps too high. Maybe 25cents per kWh and maybe a 1$ start up fee. Maybe also consider charging for the parking so people don't just leave the car at a fast charge site for hours. A camera in the post should do the trick.
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