NRG Analyzes 10 EVgo Freedom Sites: Fast Charging Preferred 12 To 1 Over L2

NOV 29 2015 BY MARK KANE 52

eVgo Freedom Station

eVgo Freedom Station

NRG EVgo announced that after a detailed analysis of 10 EVgo Freedom Station sites at Whole Foods Market locations in the Bay Area, that besides a significant increase in charging (by 191% year-over-year), it turns out that DC charging trampled AC charging.

Each Freedom Station is equipped with a DC charger and an AC station, and DC:AC preference is 12:1 comparing the number of charging sessions – which kind of makes sense when you think about quickness/desirability factor of the two platforms.

The number of DC fast charging sessions at 10 Whole Foods Markets in September was 6,900. The top DC charger at Whole Foods Market Fremont noted 1,452 sessions, which is almost unbelievable!

“The Whole Foods Market Fremont location is the busiest DC fast charger in the national EVgo Network. In September of this year alone it provided 1,452 DC fast charge sessions. On average that amounts to 45 sessions a day at that Freedom Station® location. Most EV drivers can get a nearly full charge in less than 30 minutes with DC fast charging meaning that station is in use dependably and almost continuously!”

“There are now a total of 13 Bay Area Whole Foods Market EVgo Freedom Station® locations which offer both the CHAdeMO and CCS DC charging standards as well as Level 2 charging. Since they began operation they have had a dramatic impact on the environment.

  • 8,770,895 miles driven on electric vehicles powered at these stations
  • 360,942 gallons of gasoline usage avoided
  • 3,945,274 lbs. of CO2 equivalent emissions avoided–That is nearly 2,000 tons!”

“In Redwood City, at the Whole Foods Market Freedom Station® the number of fast charge sessions jumped from 21 in March to 393 in September which is an increase of 1700%.”

Terry O’Day EVgo Vice President for the West Region, said:

“A dramatic increase like this shows not only the growth in the popularity of the network but a rapid embrace of fast charging by the EV driving community in Redwood City. California is the national leader in EV use and EVgo is excited to be the national leader in public DC fast charging.”

Arun Banskota, President of EVgo, commented:

“This kind of explosive growth shows that the EVgo strategy of putting the highest quality fast chargers in the highest demand locations is setting the standard for electric vehicle charging.”

Tristam Coffin, energy and environment coordinator for Whole Foods Market Northern California, remarked:

“We brought in EVgo chargers because our customers care deeply for the planet and demand the cutting edge in environmental technology. It’s gratifying to see that the stations are being used. It’s good for us, good for the planet, and great that our customers can get a fast charge and be on their way.”

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52 Comments on "NRG Analyzes 10 EVgo Freedom Sites: Fast Charging Preferred 12 To 1 Over L2"

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DC Fast charge is obviously most important for the person on the go. But L2 is still an important piece of the puzzle. It’s all about location and putting the DC chargers where they are needed and putting the L2 stations where they are needed.

Considering DCFC is 6 to 13 times quicker than L2, it’s no surprise there are more DCFC sessions. 12X is also no surprise given that people aren’t likely to sit around for hours waiting for L2 while they would 30min or hour (or two!) wait for DCFC.

What it doesn’t show is how much waiting was involved. If DCFC was used almost continuously at some stations as the article states, that probably means people were continuously waiting. That’s not good PR for EV; gas car drivers would say “why would I get EV when I have to wait to charge my car?”

Yup, I no longer take my BEV for long around town trips where I will need a quick 5-10min L3 top off to get home if my return trip is past late afternoon.

The L3 station is always hogged by some ass trying to reach full charge. One time I asked the guy at 96% if he can stop coz I have wife and kids in car and only needed 5mins. No luck getting a bit of courtesy.

Makes me think that all DCFCs should have an automatic shut off at, say, 90%.
I long since realized that sitting around in my Leaf waiting for the last 0.1kWh is a fool’s game.

Some jurisdictions don’t allow pricing by energy, and X% could run afoul of that rule. Then nationwide billing would be nightmare, especially if EV driver charges at different jurisdiction from time to time.

Far better is to eliminate free charging. Nissan and BMW could’ve given free membership fee instead of carte-blanche free charging. I think it was you who suggested it long ago?

Billing DCQC by the minute would push both the equipment and vehicles to faster and shorter charge times. Long term this is the right solution.

In the near term, getting people to buy their first plug-in is more important. The “free fill-ups for 3 years” is a great marketing tool to get butts in seats. I think it will just be part of the growing pains.

If there are lots of waiting, it may be counterproductive. They might say “EV is just pain to charge with all the waiting. I’m not getting another EV.”

Indeed, there have been times I asked this myself (give up EV) after waiting an hour for two Leaf with “no charge to charge” that’s charging at 6kW using DCFC. I just needed 10 minutes of pick-me-up to get home.

The “waiting” does mean that the owners are getting demand and revenue, encouraging them to invest in more equipment to keep customers happy.

That is much better than the opposite extreme, public chargers sitting empty.

By “owners”, I assume you mean providers like eVgo. They won’t know if there’s waiting. Only the people who are physically at the chargers would know. That includes bystanders who see EV as cumbersome waiting nonsense.

Sitting idle for 5 or 10 minutes at a time is a good thing. That shows there’s no waiting, and there’s demand. But that’s not what’s happening, especially at key intercity locations.

“Makes me think that all DCFCs should have an automatic shut off at, say, 90%.”

I don’t think fixed percentage is right way to do it. Some cars may be still charging rapidly at 90% while others are cutting the power down below 80%. It depends so much on the battery chemistry, temnperature and maybe age. DCFCs should cut off charging at fixed power level e.g. 10 kW. If you can’t take the power, get out or move to AC charger.

You can use Erlang-B calcs to estimate how many stations are needed to avoid queues based on utilization rate and chance of having to wait.

A single station can only support 0.20 capacity (station used for 12 minutes / hour) if you want to keep the odds of waiting to 20%. But two stations have a capacity of 0.95 (57 minutes an hour) and 3 stations have a capacity of 1.9 (114 minutes / hour).

If you have a single station at a location that is almost constantly busy, you almost always have people waiting to use it or frequently have people skip using it because it’s busy.

At a supermarket, DC fast charging obviously makes more sense than L2 charging. The reverse is obviously true about workplace charging. Mall or theater charging is somewhere in the middle. However, all these statistics are significantly skewed by ‘free to charge’ programs, which often only apply to DC fast chargers and not to L2 chargers. I have personally met Leaf owners at some chargers who were topping off to 100% on a DC charger because it was free, making it part of their daily routine, rather than charging at home. More than once I needed to use a DC charger (even for just 10 minutes) to get home, and had to wait for a local who was over 80% and unwilling to move to a nearby L2 charger which would charge at about the same rate once the battery is that full, because the L2 charger had a fee, while the DC charger was free. I don’t get this mentality, the time savings is worth the cost for me to charge at home, and I think it is a minority of owners that think this way, but the reality is if only 10% of ‘free to charge’ leaf owners behave… Read more »

Of course, there is an issue for renters and multi-family dwellings providing at-home charging, but I think this is solved by incentives and new building requirements (and market pressures) to put L2 charging at these locations, rather than encouraging these people to use DC fast chargers.

Brent, it sounds like your frustration mirrors mine. 1 hour of L2 is also free, but people don’t bother changing over, even when it’d be same speed as DCFC.

I wrote several blog post about it, “Jerks all around us: ICED, Leafed, Leafracked” for vetting, “Love letter to Nissan Leaf DCFC users” to help awareness. I think if more people are aware of the issues, it will help.

Incorrect … the 2-year (fee-less) promotional charging programs associated with new vehicle purchase/lease cover BOTH Fast AC charging and DC Quick charging sessions.

“However, all these statistics are significantly skewed by ‘free to charge’ programs, which often only apply to DC fast chargers and not to L2 chargers.”

They do not all cover L2 charging. My BMW free charging is only for DC fast charging.

The DC fast charger in Belmont ( is free to all but the L2 chargers next to it are paid. I have twice encountered Leaf owners there who were going to 100% an unwilling to switch to L2.

The DC fast charger in Mountain View ( is NRG eVgo, as are the L2 chargers at the same location. I have encountered i3 owners there who were unwilling to switch to L2 while topping off (because it was paid).

I have a friend that regularly used to make the drive from the south bay to Sacramento in his Leaf, but he has stopped trying, because the DC chargers have become too used. He now uses his ICE. Anecdotally, most of the people he runs into at DC fast chargers were locals charging for free, not people using them for range extension. This also matches with my experience.

If someone doesn’t have a charger at home, it’s probably coming from the mentality that their electric bill is going to go up about the same as they’re paying for gas.

You get a lot of people like that in the public, automatically assuming that if you’re powering a car, it must be expensive, when instead it only costs about as much as running your dryer, which is a fraction of what your electric bill is.

I mean “a charger at home in favour of free charging outside the home” as opposed to other reasons for not having one, like their landlord won’t let them install one.

I wonder if EVgo will tell us how much of their charging is paid for by the end user.

I suspect a vast amount of their charging users are folks with BMW ChargeNow or Nissan NCTC. To those folks charging is “free” so will will consume it whenever they can. And in the priority of L3 over L2.

For EVgo paying customers, L3 is overly expensive, so L2 might get more traction.

The NRG / eVgo DC fast charging is not “overly expensive”, except for the core group of “Just-Drive-The-Prius(TM)” folks who calculate the cost of every mile of every trip, but don’t calculate the additional cost of keeping a Prius around (maintenance, depreciation, insuranurance, license fees, etc). I know of folks who use the Toyota RAV4 EV at only public DC charging, and they must pay the $14.95 per month plus ten cents per minute (no freebies). Using that payment model, and charging regularly, it’s dumb to charge to 100%, as the charge rate reduces above 80%. So, let’s assume 1250 miles per month / 15,000 miles per year, all at an NRG / eVgo station. The RAV4 EV can add about 50% in the timed 30 minute sessions, or about 60 miles of range (2 miles per minute). So, every 1.5 days requires 30 minutes of charging to meet 40 miles per day driving. The cost is 10 cents per minute at 2 miles per minute = 5 cents per mile, plus 1250 miles / $14.95 monthly = 1.2 cents per mile. Total cost to use NRG exclusively is 6.2 cents per mile, or $77.50 monthly. Yes, it’s only more… Read more »

Rav4EV does not have DCFC unless it’s modified to use Chademo.

DCFC (what ggpa called L3) is cheaper than L2 when charging close to full speed. $0.10/min = $6/hr compared to L2 $1/hr. But DCFC is 45kW (to 80% for SparkEV) while L2 is 6.6kW (max). So DCFC is 6.8 times more power while costing only 6 times more.

As long as DCFC is 40kW or above, it’s cheaper than 6.6kW L2, 20kW for 3.3kW L2. For 6.6kW L2 Leaf, that’s 60% battery while it’s 90% battery for SparkEV. For Leaf, see my “Love letter to Nissan Leaf DCFC users” blog post for more info.

Skarky, there is some fine print you should consider ..

You say L3 only costs $0.10 per minute and L2 costs $1 per hour. That is true if you have a monthly plan, which I assume most people do not want to pay for.

For the majority, L3 costs $0.20 per minute and L2 costs $1.50 per hour. This skews your formula, even before we consider

– L3 starts at 40kW, but tapers off quickly
– per session fees of $4.95

There is an old saying “gambling is a tax on those that cannot do math”. L3 pricing is similar.

DCFC starts at 45kW, and continues at that rate until 80% for SparkEV. That’s hardly tapering off quickly. For me, EV has completely replaced my gas car thanks to DCFC, so it’s well worth the membership cost.

You’re right in that non OTG would pay much more than L2. However, if one uses DCFC more than twice a month, it pays to get OTG membership.

You write “it pays to get OTG membership”, but I wonder if that is correct.

Your blog post “Jerks all around us” and your comment above about waiting an hour to charge tells me your OTG membership is also causing you a lot of frustration.

To each his own …

Jerks all around is with respect to those who charge for free. They wouldn’t behave that way if they paid for it.

It does pay to have OTG membership if you DCFC more than 2 times per month. Do the math yourself if you don’t believe me.

Sparky, it seems you misunderstood my comment. I get that numerically OTG pays after 2 visits, but life is not only about money.

After reading your blog/rant and comments, it seems EVgo is also a frustration and a waste of time.

If you want most widespread DCFC, eVgo is the only game in town. For peace of mind of not having range anxiety, eVgo OTG plan is worth the money. Wait anxiety is better than range anxiety.

You never know when you need DCFC, and I run into unexpected travels after work and visiting friends more than 2X per month. Otherwise, I’d have to stop using EV, because I never know when I need to go further than 80 miles.


Congrats on your RAV3 Chademo upgrade. As an Engineer I applaud that achievement from a technical perspective.

My main point was to identify the types of EVgo users, and honestly, I did not think of RAV4 Chademo, because that represents less than 1% of all plug in cars.

But for that niche group, your description makes sense, if they know in advance to buy the monthly plan, and they do not mind hanging out at EVgo for 10+ hours every month. Just like the “free” NCTC works for others.

But if somebody used EVgo regular to do that
amount of charging, it would be 625 minutes at 20 cents and another 21 session charges of $4.95 each, for a total of $239.

You “know of folks who use the Toyota RAV4 EV at only public DC charging” … Sure, but not many folks.

My question remains. How do the EVgo L2/L3 choice work out for people who pay full price?

>>>> But if somebody used EVgo regular to do that
amount of charging, it would be 625 minutes at 20 cents and another 21 session charges of $4.95 each, for a total of $239. <<<>>> You “know of folks who use the Toyota RAV4 EV at only public DC charging” … Sure, but not many folks. <<<<

It only takes two to make my statement true.

Tony, my exact words were “Sure, but not many folks.” Now by the normal rules of English grammar, that means that I concede your point, even though it (probably) only applies to 2 people.

On the other hand, you tried to generalize the experience of your tiny sample which is silly, made a snide remark to Prius owners (I am not one BTW), and offered a super lame justification in your second post.

I did congratulate you on the technical aspect of developing the RAV Chademo, but that same level of respect does not apply to your online etiquette.

Mileage and cost per mile vary based on how much a driver charges at home vs. using public DC Quick charging.

Not many BEV drivers drive 15,000 miles using public infrastructure alone. Of an average 15,000 miles per year, the a typical EV driver will charge 00-95% of miles using ‘home’ charging with 5-10% using ‘public’ charging.

Tony makes an interesting point, for those needing to use public infrastructure … it is more economical to use it more often than needed for extending range.

Note: this assume accessibility to DC Quick charging does not occur a cost for time waiting. I’m referring to busy locations with a queue, not necessary the time spent while charging. This is more a concern at a metro location like Whole Foods (limited number of charging stalls) vs. a waypoint location along an extended travel route.

Expect the preference for DC Quick charging is much higher than 12:1 at charging locations at freeway exits along regional commuting corridors.

There are no L3 charger today if you exclude norway. I think you mean L2 AC vs. L2 DC.

One way of looking at the functions of Level 2 charging and fast charging that I thought of is this: Being able to charge at a Level 2 destination charger makes it possible to spend less time charging en route with a fast charger. That is of course if there are those options.

L2 DC is a 50kW charger aka fast charger.

That term, L2 DC, is idiotic.

I get it that a bunch of engineers dreamed a complicated chart to explain their limited (US only) charging nomenclature.

For the mass market consumer, it’s L1, L2 and L3

L1 – 120 volt household power
L2 – 240 volt public and private charging
L3 – DC quick charging

Calling it “idiotic” seems unnecessarily pejorative, but certainly it’s confusing to apply the term “L2” to DC fast charging. It’s useful in this sort of discussion to separate DCFC from the slower L2 charging, and not at all informative to use the same term for both.

I don’t like these levels at all. Just stating the rated power and AC or DC would be enough.

And how do you call real L3 DC charger (DC charging > 100kW)? This game really gets stupid, someone should have done better naming.

L1 DC makes no sense, because its far to slow!
L3 AC makes no sense because there are no cars (in the US) for it.

I propose:
L1 = L1 AC
L2 = L2 AC
L3 = L2 DC
L4 = L3 DC

Well, duh.

We are talking about grocery store location. How long do you stay at a grocery store? 20 minutes to an hour. That is time enough for a fast-charge but nearly pointless for L2.

Now for workplace charging, stadium charging, and other places where you will be for several house, then L2 is more important.

Depends … on how far the round-trip destination is from ‘home’, and the range capacity of the PEV driven.

For most PEVs a 50-60 mile round-trip does not require destination charging. Destination charging is important as it extends a PEVs range by 20-30 miles per hour a vehicle visits the destination. Based on the length of typical visit to a destination, offering charging offers visitors in a donut region the ability to visit using their PEV. For visitors local to the destination, charging is optional, with charging a critical offering for those nearby to attend, but en-route range extension (PHEV or BEV+DCQC) will be required for those further away.

I have a MY12 MiEV and a roundtrip to/from work of 67mi, that includes some HOV. I can make it easily in sommer and with careful driving also in winter, when not using heater & HOV.
I have access to a 110V outlet, which suffices to fully charge my battery during a workday.
L2 AC would be nice for the occasional trip to a 2nd work.

I have a MY12 MiEV and a roundtrip to/from work of 67mi, that includes some HOV. I can make it easily in summer and with careful driving also in winter, when not using heater & HOV.
I have access to a 110V outlet, which suffices to fully charge my battery during a workday.
L2 AC would be nice for the occasional trip to a 2nd work.

Restaurants are more a 1 hour thing and that gets me 6 to 7 kWh which can make the difference of venturing a little more far at about 4 to 5 miles per kWh. It enabled me to go on a few well planned trips without using DC charging.

Milkmaid calculations. The truth is just the NRG evgo is expensive for anyone not on the Nissan prepaid free charging plan. And while there is plenty of cheap and even free L2 alternatives around the NRG evgo DC fast charging at whole foods is the only DC fast charging far and wide, especially when needing CSS instead of chademo. Of course I would never pay premium to NRG for L2 but for DC I don’t have a choice, hence the adoption numbers.

It does not say anything about L2 in general.

Don’t get me wrong, I am happy and thankful for having the option of paying NRG $10 per charge on a road trip to fill up 80% in 30 minutes. I only need it every other month anyways. Just their L2 cannot compete with chargepoint in Northern California.

Sounds like they are skewing numbers for a round of funding now that they are independent of nrg. They may also be using this as a justification to no longer install L2 (AC) units at future stations.

It would be good to see how many of the charge sessions were covered by Nissan or another automaker.

The local Whole Foods (Lafayette) has these chargers. It also has two free Chargepoint L2 chargers. I don’t think it takes much to understand NRG’s low L2 usage. They’re a ripoff. That’s why.

EVgo charges $1.50 / hour for L2, which IMO is reasonable for 16A public charging and cheap for 30A L2 charging.

scott franco, the evil, greedy republican

My experience with EVgo is contrary to this. I skipped the DCFC for a L2 charger at the mall because the EVgo DCFC charger was expensive, and I didn’t need a full charge to get home.

On the other hand, blink charges by KWH now, and I use that DCFC regularly to get me home after night school. On that, 6 minutes gets me home.

I think we’ll see low power DCFC replace L2 at commercial inner-city locations.

Full power DCFC will be the norm for inter-city travel.

L2 charging will be relegated to home/long-term parking.

NRG sounds surprised by this finding. My response is “duh!” Why would anyone level 2 charge at a Whole Foods if CHAdeMO is available? On the other hand, if their stations were at places where people park for the day, the ratio would be reversed. Just common sense.


Considering the difference in price as well.

Most people who pay for charges want the fastest charging possible, else they won’t charge.

Those who don’t pay for charge will take anything they can get… LOL