Even at $1.50 Per Hour, Public Charging Stations Are So Crowded That More Are Being Installed

MAR 16 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 24

As we all are well aware of, public charging can be rather expensive at some stations, but as it turns out this expense is not always a deterrent if the location is a prime one.

Reserved For EVs

Reserved For EVs

Take, for example, the case of Naperville, Illinois where there’s only one public charging station and the cost to use the unit is a rather high $1.50 per hour (it was free to use for the first year, but there’s now a fee attached to it).

This lone charger has been heavily used despite the fee, and now the city of Naperville is moving forward by installing two additional dual-vehicle charging stations.

Caitlin Marcon, a project manager for the city, remarked on the situation:

“The city also received a number of complaints that many times a vehicle owner would come to downtown Naperville, and the station would already be in use.”

“Electric car owners would have to find elsewhere to park and wait around to get a charge before heading back home.”

Marcon believes that the additional charging stations will eliminate or reduce waits and that they will attract EVs owners from nearby cities.

Charging an EV at any of the city’s 3 stations will cost $1.50 per hour.

Source: Naperville Sun

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24 Comments on "Even at $1.50 Per Hour, Public Charging Stations Are So Crowded That More Are Being Installed"

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The article referenced mentions heavy usage during the free period (and indeed I was only able to use it during 1 of 4 attempts due to heavy usage). Nowhere does it say that usage continues to be heavy at $1.50 an hour. In neighboring communities, such as Bloomingdale, I have not seen any activity at the charging station after the switch from free to paid.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

$1.50/hr at 6.6kW is not a bad deal.

That’s ~22¢/kWh which is pretty expensive, actually – it is equivalent to $7.42/gal of gasoline.

You got your hypothetical $7.42/gallon figure by using the EPA MPGe conversion ratio of 33.7kwh/gallon of gasoline. But that ignores the fact that most EVs are ~2-4 times more efficient than gasoline cars by that same measure.

So it would be more honest to slash 50-75% (depending on the efficiency of the comparable ICE vehicle) off of the $7.42/gallon-equivalent figure and arrive at something like $1.85-$3.70/gallon-equivalent.

Yup… 33.7 kWh is just an “energy equivalency”. It does not take into account how the energy is used.

ICE vehicles are NOT terrible inefficient at using the energy in a gallon of gas — hence all the heat generated (wasted) in the process. (Not to mention all the OTHER energy that went into extracting, refining, transporting that gallon before it even reaches the car.)

EVs are comparatively VERY efficient at using the (equivalent) energy. Cases in point:

The average ICE only goes about 25 miles on a gallon of gas (burning up — in gasoline — the energy equivalent of 33.7 kWh in the process).

In comparison, my EV goes about 130 miles on 33.7 kWh. In other words, my EV is over FIVE TIMES as efficient at using a “gallon’s worth” of energy as the average ICE guzzler.

$0.22/KWh is still only $0.05-$0.06/miles.

Prius get about $0.07/miles.

Still cheaper than the best ICE car.

Cars with 3.3KW chargers wouldn’t touch it since it cost them about 2x the rate which is more than the gasoline cost equivalent….

But it has to be that way…

This really makes me appreciate the program that the City of Austin sponsors here with ChargePoint. $25 gets us six months of unlimited use of any ChargePoint station. The City also “directs” their green power sources (solar and wind) to this program, so when I charge at a ChargePoint station, I’m effectively using solar and wind-generated power.

If I need a charge, I’ll take it whether I have to pay or not.

Too much hype in your heading. You are talking about one station. One single data point, not a trend, not yet.

They need to keep the cost of driving an electrical car below that of a ICE/Hybrid vehicle. For my 2012 LEAF, 3hrs of charging would be $4.50, perhaps 10kwh to the battery or 30-40 miles. So potentially more costly than operating a ICE which gets 30 mpg. 10KWH at home would be a buck. To pay 4.5x that at a charging station is ridiculous. And yes I know..having a 6.6kwh charger would help reduce my costs. This is why they need to figure out a way to charge by the kWh.

And that would definitely be more expensive than operating a Prius getting 50mpg.

I find the headline distinctly at odds with the reality of the utilization level of both ChargePoint and Blink. Neither of them are seeing a system wide average of more than one car a day at a charge station. You are reporting local scarcity and that station is clearly an outlier.

Sure, free stations get used but that doesn’t prove anything other than people like to get something for nothing.

A paid for charger will not be successful if it is much above the local cost of electricity. How much is a matter of debate. An L2 charger at 30A will cost around $.25 a KWH which is a bit than double the national average. I think that is above the threshold. This assumes the car can charge at 6.6KW. Double the cost if it has a 3KW charger.

Sure you will get people that have to have a charge but for the most point, charging occurs at home.

How about pricing of $1 per hour plus 5 cents per KWH?
Charging a Leaf at 6.6 KW rate would be $1.33 / hour, and a Leaf or Volt at 3.3KW would be $1.15 / hour.

The base $1/hour would deter leaving the car plugged in after it is done charging, and set the pricing just high enough to deter those with low mileage PHEVs such as the PiP and Ford Energi’s from bothering to plug in keeping the space more available for the BEVs or PHEV/EREVs that have more more capacity and need to charge.

The Leaf needs to charge so the driver can get home. Owners of Volts, PiPs and Energis don’t need to do that, and are likely to not bother charging if it costs more than the equivalent miles in gas. (Or even if the price is close, since people are lazy.) The Tesla doesn’t need to charge, because its battery is large enough to get the driver home without the charge, so it is also unlikely to charge unless the power is competitively priced.

I see this as an illustration of why Leafs are impractical for most drivers, not of how to charge for power. Basically, if charging stations are going to become widely popular, they are going to have to compete with gas and home electric rates.

And I think you are confused about how to get enough charging stations so you can find one. It’s not by keeping out the more popular cars, it is by catering to them, so there is enough demand to encourage property-owners to put in more charging stations.

The only busy charging stations in northern Virginia are the free ones. I have two free charging station choices (one has 2 chargers and the other has 7) and even they are normally half full or less except at lunchtime.
I also have 6 or 7 pay chargers I use that cost between $0.75 and $1.50 an hour and they are seldom busy, again, except at lunch time.
Another positive is that ICE’ing incidents have tapered off a bit.

I wish the charging stations near me were $1.50/hour.

The ones near me are either $0.49/kWh or $2.50/hr. Car Charging Group charges far too much.

That is insane!!!

I am just asking …. why is it that conversations about EVSE pricing immediately assume it should be the price at home + a “reasonable” extra?

That is not how anybody discussed pricing at Starbucks.

We all know that charging (and coffee) is cheapest at home. And if you charge (or drink) elsewhere, we should not act as if we have a right to dictate the price.

Because coffee is best hot and fresh, but electricity keeps well. And because plugging in your car is easier than brewing a cup of coffee.

I expect vehicle that force their driver to pay for expensive or hard-to-find public charging will never become anything more than a very small niche market. Large batteries (think Tesla) and PHEV burn have a place with ordinary drivers, limited-range electrics don’t, really.

You are indeed a puzzle … this post is neither logical nor funny.

Time based charging really argues for faster on board chargers. i3 and Outlander owners will be the happier ones, if this keeps up.

I still like the idea of sponsored chargers that give you store credit. So you pay $5 to charge, but that give’s you $5 at Walmart/wherever.

This model seems to work at Krogers’ gas stations.

In CA, the stations are starting to charge by KWh (which is a good thing). But they are set at $0.49/KWh which is VERY expensive.

But that would mean ONLY those who “need” it would use it. Then again, L2 isn’t fast enough for those “need situations”.