Naperville, Illinois Sets $1.50 Per Hour Fee on City’s Public Charging Stations


Fee-free public charging stations are quickly becoming less common.

Better Be Prepared t Pay $1,50 Per Hour to Charge

Better Be Prepared t Pay $1.50 Per Hour to Charge

Charging shoulnd’t necessarily be free, but what’s the right rate?

In Naperville, Illinois, the rate is now set at $1.50 per hour of charging.

Naperville residents (at least those who own plug-in vehicles) aren’t exactly thrilled with this price.  Naperville city council had been discussing a fee of $0.75 per hour, which was deemed to be an acceptable rate by EV owners in the area.  However, the city council voted for a last-minute change to $1.50 per hour, then council passed that into law with an 8-0 vote.

As Naperville Patch reports:

“Councilors said during Tuesday’s meeting the 75 cents fee was too low and the $1.50 amount would sway “squatters” from utilizing the parking spots for too long and also said seemed fair since electric vehicle users do not have to pay a road use tax like other motorists who utilize gas-fueled cars.”

Prior to the $1.50 per hour charge, use of public chargers in Naperville had been free for an entire year.  Naperville is now in the process of adding more public chargers.

According to Naperville Patch, the following rules apply to the city’s charging spaces:

  • A three-hour parking restriction is in place while the vehicle is charging
  • All electric vehicles in the space must be plugged in and charging
  • The parking space is for electric vehicle use only, all other vehicles will be towed.

But is $1.50 per hour too much to charge?

Source: Naperville Patch

Categories: Charging


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48 Comments on "Naperville, Illinois Sets $1.50 Per Hour Fee on City’s Public Charging Stations"

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I don’t have a problem with the fee.

But why have a three hour time limit? Charging the higher fee will already discourage people from squatting. What if someone really needs a longer charge, and they are willing to pay for it?

To me $1.00/hour is about as high as it should go, as that is the level where it’s roughly parity with gasoline costs for 3.3kW charging vehicles.

$0.30/kWh also seems about right.

Less than the residential electricity rate disincentivizes home charging and so leads to contention for chargers. Other the other hand, greater than Prius-equivalent (50MPG) rates makes you feel stupid for having bought an EV instead of a Prius. So, I think those are the reasonable bounds of what you should charge for, um, charging.

Let’s set an average US residential rate of 10cents/kwh and an average gas price of $3.25/gal. Let’s set a public charger rate of 6kW (6kWhs and 22 miles per hour).

Minimum $/h: $0.60
Maximum $/h: $1.43

So, this is a little just a teensy bit above the Prius Price of driving. Really not too bad. I’d pay it quite happily if I needed the juice. You can’t complain unless you’re getting reamed like you would in a conventional gas car. And Prius is the best of the best gas cars.

I wonder how this works for QCs. (From empty to slowish topping-off, that’s 24kWhs and 85 miles per hour. More in cars with bigger batteries than 24kwh, but that’s only the Tesla and their QC adapter isn’t even out yet so let’s not consider them.)

Minium $/h: $2.40
Maximum $/h: $5.53

I propose a new phrase for when EV drivers (and Game of Thrones viewers) have to pay 50MPG equivalent price for a charge: “I paid the Prius Price.”

First, there are tons of reasons to buy an EV or PHV other than financial. A Tesla won’t save enough on gas in its lifetime to be more economical than most ICEVs, yet I don’t know of any owner feeling stupid about this. Next, unless one relies on paid, public charging for most his/her driving, your comparison falls apart and its pricing becomes close to irrelevant. For example, over 95% of my charging is done at home, so even if public EVSEs were 10$/h, I’d still coming out ahead. Said differently, I have no problem paying even 10x the “Prius price” once in 20 charges. In fact, this is pretty much what I’m doing already: I almost always QC if I need juice away from home, and won’t stay for longer than needed, so I regularly pay 5$ for a 10 to 15 minutes session. And I’m perfectly happy with this (although, for fairness, I’d prefer a per-minute, or combined minute + kW*h pricing, even if it ended up costing more), because not only even that is still cheaper than the average ICE, but paying a little more than a Prius on such occasion is what allows me to save… Read more »

I would happily pay $1.50/hr if I had a 30 amp charger. With the 15 amp charger in my Volt, I feel like $1.50/hr should be considered a charitable donation.


yeah, a buck fifty is too high. I would never pay it. 1 dollar max….

I’m okay with this price, but I’m afraid that it’s a lot higher in practice for the folks who spend less than an hour connected, if they always get charged for the full hour despite only using some of it. This goes double (or 10x) for QCs.

The power really should be sold in 15 or 30 minute chunks instead of hitting you with a full hour every time you kiss the charger.

I wouldn’t try to over think it. $1.50/hr is fine. Nobody will use L2s in short term parking anyway. Who charges for just 30 minutes anyway?

i do

30 minutes is 10-15 miles. It’s one errand. I’m running behind if I have to spend an hour doing an errand. Smaller chunks are definitely worth thinking about for QCs, though. And I think the future is naturally going to have a few more QCs. Always think ahead.

I do all the time. Free chargers in my home city, and I plug in if even for 5-10 minutes. Every time I go to the grocery store, I get a 20-30 minute charge, and that covers the entire round-trip energy usage or often more. Not all of us have Teslas…

1 hr at 6KW is like 20 miles for you Leaf guys. So 30 minutes is more like 10 miles. You have to plug in on a regular basis so you can make it home? I assume the answer is no but if it’s yes, you bought the wrong car. And, you are saving like $.50 on the free chargers. It’s kind of like how some people drive all over town to save a few pennies per gallon on gas.

Free is going away (case in point, the above article). The free chargers are an aberration which will correct itself as people come to understand that charging is easiest at home and business stop feeling the need to pose green. All the studies say that ESVEs are really just to inspire confidence in EVs in a skeptical populace,

The incredibly low utilization of the Blink and ChargePoint networks is proof that people simply don’t use low amp L2 chargers. If you take the free ones out of the mix, the usage is way lower.

I also think that L2 is pretty useless at locations other than where people naturally spend a long time, e.g. work, school, parks, hotels etc AND where availability can be guaranteed, via reservation or other means; this is IMHO required, and too often overlooked.

E.g., with a family, I’m not going to risk taking an EV if I must charge to complete the trip, but can’t be sure I will be able to: no guaranteed spot, no deal. And if I didn’t really need to charge, then I’m not going to pay more than at home for it obviously.

Now I wouldn’t say that the Blink/CarCharging network sits virtually idle. Their L2s, yes, but also not surprisingly, QCs see quite a bit of traffic.

I don’t think low public EVSE utilization is because they are not useful. They are very useful to me driving a Volt. I don’t need them very often, but when I do I am really glad they are available.

The low utilization is due to the very small number of PEVs on the road. Even on the west coast. Norway will have a significant number in a few years, so we should see EVSE utilization go up there first.


I do. I charge whenever I can, as long as the EVSE breaks up that hourly charge into a per-minute cost (like most Chargepoint stations do). If I get billed for an hour when charging for 30 minutes, I will use the station once.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

Uneconomic for wimpy 3.3kW charging, a bit rich but not horrible for 6.6kW .

Exactly. – GSP

I agree $1/hr sounds more fair but I’d be ok with $1.50/hr. A business can write off the expense of the electricity as advertising and can easily make it up in goods and services sold to captive customers, but a govt entity has to make the price of electricity pay for the everything.

If anybody thinks $1.50 per hour is too high, you can think of it as

$0.50 is for the electricity
$1 is for equipment rental. The EVSE you are using was not free

Need more PEVs to split the equipment casts with.


I obviously have too much free time.
I ran a quick and dirty analysis of installing and operating an EVSE.
$4,000 installed cost
35% tax credit
7 yr equipment lifespan
$30 monthly service/maintenance costs
$0.25 per transaction service fee
$0.15 per kWh electricity cost (probably low with meter fees, taxes, etc.)
1.5 hours average charge length
4.5 kW/hr average vehicle charge rate (high now? – low in 3 years)

Usage Fees
@ $0.75 per hour break even is: never (the more volume, the higher the losses)
@ $1 per hr break even is 9 charge sessions per day (13.5 hours of usage every day)
@ $1.50 per hour break even is 3 sessions per day (4.5 hrs)

@ $0.25 per kWh break even is 5 sessions per day (7.5 hrs)
@ $0.30 per kWh break even is 3 sessions per day (4.5 hrs)
@ $0.50 per kWh break even is 1 session per day (1.5 hrs)

As a business owner, how would you price it? Note: In some areas, charging by the kWh is limited to utility companies only.

I would be inclined to look at a $0.50 transaction fee + 2 x actual electricity cost.

Yes, this is a pretty fair analysis. It doesn’t take into account the cost of the parking space itself. Granted, they’re often provided for free, but it’s part of the cost.

$1.50/hour seems like a fair fee for many situations – especially if there’s no opportunity for using the electricity to drive business. They could charge $2/hour – but, with business validation (such as nice restaurant), give a couple hours for free.

Really: most charging should be done at home, or work, if they provide that service.

The problem is that nationally, the average usage rate is less than one charge a day per station. This is true for both Blink and ChargePoint. And, that includes both free and pay stations.

For L2, yes.

L3/quick-chargers are used much more frequently; see my comment above

15cents for power? That’s highish for most states. I pay 8cents for residential which I assume is higher than commercial.

Also, what the sam hell is a kW/hr? Do you mean that the average power level of the charge is 4.5kW, as if there are half 6kW LEAFs and half 3kW LEAFs & Volts? I’ll buy that, but hopefully more EVs will be 6kW going forward.

I agree with your thesis, though. $1.50 isn’t too far off.

What needs to happen is more QCs. They are higher up front cost, but you can get more customers through during the day.

As long as people realize that they are not really paying for the electricity, they are paying for the convenience then even a variable fee is acceptable. This is nothing new as fuel prices or parking fees vary from one location to another.

I’d much rather pay a premium for public charging if that would at least increase the chances of the public station survival, maintenance, and hopefully growth.

Why is this a straight $/hr rate? We don’t pay for gas using the filling time.
EV owners should pay for the fuel cost $/kWh, if they want to dissuade owners from Parking too long, then charge a separate $/h Parking fee but to try and rationalize fuel cost into time is ridiculous and effectively forces a different cost on different users.

There will need to be a regulatory change. In many (most?) locations, only the power company can sell electricity.

Also, the electricity costs are so low that just passing on the power company’s rate is near meaningless. 1 hr of charging at a 6KW station is less than $.70 at the national average.

In some states/localities, it is illegal to resell electricity; $/kWh is not feasible for them. So a parking fee per hour gets around this factor.

Scale the pricing dependent on how close it is to the main entrance to the facility. The closer the charging station the higher the rate at $1.50 – $2.00 /hr. The further out the less per hour.

Also, make the closer spots W-I-D-E-R to help prevent door dings. 😛

Actually, EVSEs should be far from the entrance to dissuade people from ICEing. It really pisses people off when close parking spaces are open but unavailable. Think in terms of public relations.

Is the $1.50/hr billed at 2.5 cents per minute, or is the minimum charge $1.50?

Getting ICE’d should get them a ticket.
But then again, peoples still park in the Blue disabled parking spots still that aren’t disabled in any way.

Good point.

Now almost no one will use them. And then they’ll say “Why did we install these chargers when no one uses them?!?!”

Once EVs hit a sufficiently high enough percentage of all vehicles – people will use them. But only when they’re actually needed.

No they won’t. There have been studies that show EVSEs only add to people’s confidence that they can buy an EV and make it places. EVSE usage doesn’t go up as people overwhelmingly charge at home.

PEV owners may get 95-99% of their charging at home, but public charging really beats having to walk 1-5% of the time! (Or even worse, use gas)


An hourly rate that works for those with 6.6 kW chargers isn’t fair for those with 3.3 kW chargers. Certainly, a choice of a 3.3 or 6.6 kW charging rate with appropriate hourly costs could be incorporated into public charging stations. If you selected the 6.6 kW charging rate but your EV’s charger is only 3.3 kW, you would pay for your mistake.

Alternatively, the charging station could autosense the charging rate adjusting the hourly cost accordingly.

I would make it a buck an hour prorated. Stay as long as you want, but realize that the longer you stay the more you are paying since you will be charging at a slower rate. Or if you want to really dissuade people from staying too long, charge them an extra 25% for after 3 hours.

One of the reasons Walgreen’s starts at $0.49 is that Chargepoint typically takes a minimum cut of $0.44 each time a fee is charged.

I too would hope that the billing be pro-rated, but the minimum network-provider fee may make that unfeasible.

Back when Walgreen’s EVSEs in Colorado started charging $.49/kWh a lot of people got upset, but it really makes sense. If you charge the going rate for electricity people will just use the EVSE whenever they are in the area, regardless of need, and the limited EVSE resource will start to see overuse. We saw that when Walgreen’s EVSEs were free – sometimes I had to try three locations to find one that was open. Charging extra means that EV drivers will only use it when needed to extend their range for a given trip. So, I don’t have a problem with $1.50/hour, even at 3.3 kW/h, if all I want is an extra hour or two “top up” in order to get home. And towards that end, the 3 hour limitation makes sense. I would hope, however, that the $1.50/hour is prorated based on time spent – that is, that a 1 minute charge wouldn’t cost you $1.50. They key is to view these as short-term, occasional use range extenders, not as the place where EV drivers roll up after a 60 mile one way commute and let the car sit for 6 hours charging back up to 100%,… Read more »

Bingo. $1.50 is cheap when compared to the alternative of abandoning your EV and walking home. IMHO, that’s why such charge points should be used for *need*, not *convenience*. And that will only happen if the price is sufficiently high.

On a related (sort of) note, I wonder if GM has ever considered allowing the Volt to serve as a 50kW to 100kW portable charge point. Seems like it would just take some control software and a charge cord emanating from the trunk. IMHO, if you knew your Volt-driving spouse could provide an emergency-charge if needed, that would reduce the range-anxiety of owning a pure-EV.

sucks for 3.3KW but good for 6.6KW, 7.5KW, 10KW charging….

BTW, what do Naperville utilities charge for peak TOU power? In California, $1.50/hr is fair IF location is a useful destination (Mall, Theater, Restaurants), otherwise site will be wasted and ignored. If availability is a problem, kWh billing offers no incentive to move once charging has finished. And 3.3kW on-board chargers are fine at home, but wasteful of public charging infrastructure. EV drivers that anticipate ever using public charging should reject them.

Silly question, but what if the high fee guaranteed no yearly “EV road feel” that some states have enacted? If I was assured, that all income, above the cost of electricity went to road maintenance, or the school district budget, would it be ok? Just a thought.

rip off but if you really need it then go for it