One of the biggest benefits of driving an electric car is the cheaper costs of filling and driving an EV, which has been supported by a number of free or low-cost publicly available charging stations. But as the public charging market adjusts to the realities of the EV world, rising prices are a side effect to doing business, and this has some customers understandably upset.
Autoblog Green reports that the CarCharging Group, which recently bought the bankrupt ECOtality, has adjusted their pay system in an effort to extract more money from customers. This prompted Joe Dugandzic of Phoenix, AZ to start a petition to get the company to reverse the rate hike, but the CarCharging Group says that this is just the cost of doing business.
The whole snafu centers around how CarCharging Group bills customers, as it had been based on a per-hour rate, costing customers $1.00 for every hour they plugged in, and faster Level 3 chargers cost a flat $5.00 fee. ECOtality had installed the Blink network of chargers with this charging method, and it led to their eventual bankruptcy.
Now though the rate is based on kWh usage, costing between 39-cents per kWh up to 79-cents per kWh, which is as much as 8-times the cost of charging from home. These rates represent a 200% markup, according to Duganzic, making it more costly to fill up an EV from these stations than to drive around a 40 MPG car for the same amount of miles.
Alas, this petition, with all of ten signatures, isn’t likely to make much of an impact. The EV charging market is self-correcting, and unprofitable business models are going to fall by the wayside. The convenience of plugging into a public charging station is going to cost a premium price, and if CarCharging Group can’t figure out how to make a profit, they’ll end up going bankrupt too.