Posting in Energy
Users have a large role to play in helping to determine fair rates to charge their electric vehicles.
Though most drivers agree that they should pay something to charge their EVs at private business locations, according to the Christian Science Monitor, many charging stations are currently charging $2 per hour, which users see as an unfair rate. Most mass-market plug-in electric vehicles use about 3.3 kw per hour - which costs an average of about 50 cents per hour. Newer models can charge even more efficiently.
Most states do not allow individual vendors to set usage rates on their own (they are set by state-regulated utilities). But California has passed a law allowing owners of charging stations to decide how they want to charge: per hour or per kilowatt-hour; other states are expected to follow suit.
Two executives at Coulomb Technologies, who are responsible for the installation of the ChargePoint network of charging stations, have argued that EV owners should use their market force and avoid using stations that charge more than $1 per hour unless absolutely necessary.
Many business may still keep their charging stations free, as an incentive for EV owners to frequent their businesses. Many government or office locations may also make public charging available as an incentive for EV adoption. But as an industry standard develops around a fair rate for EV charging, users have an important role to play in expressing what they consider to be a fair price.
Readers, what do you think would be a fair rate to pay to charge your electric vehicle?
Jul 29, 2012
I only pay about ten cents per KwH at my house, but I also have a customer connection fee of $6 a month even if I use not electricity at all, along with various fees and taxes that I pay over and above the cost per KwH. For an convenient EV charging station you have to figure in the cost of the delivery mechanism, and add the cost of the meter, the new lines, the maintenance, etc., not just the cost of the electricity. Why do these EV owners want someoe else to pay for their stuff? Isn't it enough that the American taxpayer already gave the a rebate of several thousand dollars when they bought their car? Now they want someone else to pay for their charging stations? They can call Capitalists greedy so long as successful capitalists are paying for all their stuff. I
When you buy gasoline or petrol you pay not only for the volume of liquid that you pump into your tank (gallons of liters) but also for the costs associated with bringing the liquid to you - production, refining, distribution infrastructure, marketing etc. What you do not do is pay on the basis of the TIME it takes to pump the liquid into your tank. If you did, you might pay wildly different prices depending solely on the speed of the pump. Indeed you might have different pump speeds at the same station. In the world of petroleum (and compressed natural gas) the global standard is to be charged by the volume you pump (which includes all these other costs). So you can go anywhere in the world and at least have an idea of what you are paying for. With electricity it is more complicated because while most people have a pretty good idea of what a gallon or liter or barrel of petrol looks like, they have no idea of what a watt or kilowatt of electricity looks like or what a kilowatt hour is. So how do you know what you are paying for? So the question is really about what STANDARD should we use for selling electricity at EV charging stations. And should such a standard be adopted globally or will there be different standards in different locations. At home we pay for electricity by the kilowatt hour. Yet our bill does not end there. We also pay additional costs for distribution, introducing green energy into the system, upgrading existing infrastructure etc. So our bill has one price we pay with many sub-items identified. The price per kwh is just a portion of that bill. Should we be priced the same way at the charging station? Or should one overall price (charging time, kw per hour purchased) be a proxy for all of these costs. Or should EV charging points be allowed to charge in any manner they wish and it is up to the EV owner to determine what is the best deal? I suspect that we are in early days and that over time a single global standard will evolve, probably brought about by some agreement between industry and governments. For now, EV owners are going to have to learn to do the math.
I know how much I would like to pay for my electricity at home, but that is not going to happen. Why should EV owners get to set their price?
The going residential rate here is 5.5 Kwh. Commercial rates for which they would certainly qualify is half that. Based on that $1 an hour would be generous. A bit north of here where block heaters are just about a necessity at night. Standard parking meters offer a plug coming out of the pole just below the meter for your block heater, 50 cents an hour gives parking and power in downtown areas. Time runs out on the meter so does the power, incentive not to let the meter run out.. No special equipment needed.
How about they pay what it cost to provide? The cost of the electricity (including all the usual transmit charges, etc) + the cost averaged per charge for setup and maintenance of the charging station + every other cost the consumer pays for any other type of service provided = Real cost to provide. Why should EV owners be subsidized by society? As many here like to envision, at some point all of us will be driving EVs. Can we afford to subsidize EV owners then? No. So why start now?
The article states pretty clearly that most EV drivers are happy to pay for the electricity, and no where does it describe them as wanting other people to pay for their stuff. And the market will certainly prove that EV owners are willing to pay a realistic price. A current model Nissan LEAF can only consume about 4 - 5 kWh of electricity per hour when plugged into a 240 volt charger, costing around 50 cents (avg price for U.S., varies by region). at 2x the cost of the power delivered, a dollar an hour seems perfectly reasonable to most EV drivers. at 4x the cost of the power delivered, some EV drivers might balk, but likely they would just be savy, and look for the best prices (like gasoline shoppers look for the best price at the pump). So if the charging station across the street offers a charge at $1.50 an hour, and the one in front of them charges $2 they'll gravitate to the lower price. What is needed is a price per kWh though, not a time base price - and this is what EV drivers are really more upset about - because a Tesla can consume electricity as much as 5 times faster than a current gen LEAF can, yet at an hourly rate, drivers of both cars would pay the same price for an hour of charge. The Leaf driver can only go about 12-18 miles after an hour of charging on a 240 volt charger (estimated), while the Tesla driver could potentially go 60-90 miles (if they had the dual 240 volt charger option installed) and the Ford Focus electric could go 24-36 miles. A fairer model would be to charge by the kWh, somewhere around 3 or 4 times whatever the per kWh rate is for the electricity consumed (in order to earn a profit and to recoup investment and maintenance costs).
...that the government will be more than happy to tell providers what they may charge, in the way that wholesale gasoline prices were regulated in the '70s, thus leading to the infamous "gas lines". This price will be set by some emotional metric and have little relationship to the cost of providing the service. This interference alone will kill widespread deployment of these things. For example, an owner of a shopping mall installs them the parking garage. There is a potential of dozens to hundreds of customers a day for these chargers. Fixed-cost will be divided over many users. On the other hand, the owner of a business at a far-flung location beyond the suburbs considers installing one. His potential of customers might be a couple a day, if even that. His fixed cost per customer will be exponentially higher than that for the shopping mall. And yet consumers (and ultimately the government) will feel as though the cost-per-charge at both locations should be the same. The problem is that for widespread EV adoption, consumers will only feel comfortable driving any significant distance if they know they can charge at the far-flung locations. Expectations that such charging will be cheap will be problematic.
...a profit margin to make it worthwhile for purveyors to even consider going to the trouble of installing these. For EVs to become more than a small niche for the eco-stylish, these things will need to be at least as common as gas stations. It simply won't be possible to subsidize that many. And you are right that the subsidies can't last forever. At some point when there are enough EVs, the subsidies will reverse into taxes to make up for the taxes no longer collected on gasoline. This isn't a bad thing; just inevitable.
What people forget is that there are over 7 million gas pumps powering the current US private and commercial fleet of vehicles. With a few rare exceptions, are any of them owned by local, state or federal governments? No. So why should EVs expect it. The tough to swallow reality is that it will take AT LEAST that many public charging stations to convert the nation to EVs. Until then people with EV's will have to spend thousands on their own charging stations. Someone has to pay for public charging stations and it should not be the taxpayers of the US. It cannot be for 1 reason. 7 million charging stations is a cost prohibitive demand even for the US government. Private business will do it when the market demands it. Profit will drive EV growth on many fronts. I am waiting for the Model T of EVs to come out. Something rugged, simple, with decent range and above all, affordable. When such a vehicle hits the market the demand will be over whelming. The company that builds it will make billions off it. As more people can afford EVs the electric grid needs to grow to support more EVs, another overlooked issue. Right now a person looking to buy an EV needs to have their power company determine if their neighborhood grid can handle an EV charging station. Some suburban grids cannot handle it. One of my neighbors could not buy a Volt because of the grid. Chevy and others admit this is a concern on their EV web sites. As more people have EVs we will gradually see gas stations adding charging stations. Home charging stations will become less important to own an EV, which in turn will make EVs more affordable to buy. The process is already happening. Because of those 2 controlling factors and some others, like it or not, this will be an evolutionary process that will happen over decades. EV proponents do not like to hear what I just said. I know I will catch hell for it. They want EVs now at any cost, but they cannot accept the reality. That is not a realistic plan or expectation.
in that last paragraph. If they all come to pass, the things might be worth buying. We don't have the grid capacity now and if Obama gets his way, we won't ever, or not for a long time. And, some of those vehicles will need to be very powerful as they will need to haul heavy loads or tow large RVs. You say you can go 60 miles without worrying about running out of juice. I say that is pathetic. I can go 400 mile without worrying about running out of gas. Years ago, I had a Diesel car that would go over 800 miles on a tank. Now THAT was great. That is my point. We are used to 300-400 miles before refueling. It would be so easy to forget to plug in every day (or night). 60 miles is not far. Not much of a reserve if you want or need to go further, especially on short notice.
It is true that a current gen Nissan LEAF (or Mitsubishi iMiev, etc) only has a 3.3 kw charger and thus can't charge particularly fast on 240v (no more than about 18 miles of range in an hour), but you really have to look at the bigger picture. I drive a 2011 Nissan LEAF about 56 miles a day, every weekday. I drive it over 100 miles a day on the weekends (sometimes, not every weekend). I can charge on a 120v outlet while I am at work if I need to (and I sometimes need to, particularly in the winter when I might need to use the heater a bit + drive additional errands after work or go to a meeting, etc.) But 365 days a year, whether I need the AC or the heater, day or night, I can drive 60 miles without ever worrying about running out of juice. I am usually at my office for 8 - 9 hours a day... that means if there is a day where I have to drive up to 120 miles in one day, I can easily do this by getting a full recharge at work (maybe I need to drive to a relative's house 100 miles away after work or something, and once I get there I can get a 100% charge on 120v overnight for the return trip. Now that 480v fast chargers are starting to show up around here (I live in Seattle), I could drive up to about 150 miles in a day with only a 20 minute stop for a quick charge. Obviously, that isn't going to help me drive from Seattle to San Francisco say, but I would probably prefer to fly anyway. And if I really wanted to drive, well I have a back up gas car or I could rent a gas powered car. The bottom line is, once there is enough recharging infrastructure in place EV's will be practical for nearly any situation (add a few thousand more 480v chargers and 120v charging at every shopping mall, parking garage, etc. and there will be plenty of infrastructure). It won't take more than 4 or 5 years to deploy adequate recharging infrastructure (if we are committed to doing it) and we have PLENTY of grid capacity to power every single EV we could possibly make for at least the next decade or so. And if in the more distant future, 10 - 20 years at least, if EV's can go 300+ miles on a charge and be recharged in 5 minutes or so, and batteries last the life of a car... we'll never need to burn oil in our passenger cars and trucks again.
Most people currently paying around $10/gallon are in Europe. Most of that amount isn't for the gasoline, but for taxes that go to pay for their social welfare system. So clearly, gasoline would not be costing $10/gallon if these (largely mythical) subsidies were eliminated. Actually, I am in favor of the elimination of subsidies on gasoline. The price bump would be minimal, and the quality of our gasoline would jump dramatically without the Ethanol that is required to be mixed in.
The government collects far more from each gallon of gasoline in taxes (in fact, more than the industry profits) than it spends in subsidies.
I drive a 6 year old Hyundai that gets 30 mpg for about 50 miles a day. (total) My 12 year old gas guzzling farm truck, at 12 mpg, gets driven about 60 miles per month. I would consider switching either for a more efficient hybrid car or truck if one existed for a reasonable price. Maybe you are, but not all of us are rich enough to afford the current generation EVs or hybrids. Right now I am looking at newer conventional trucks that get about 16 mpg and the same capabilities as my current truck. While the Prius and Insight are slowly becoming affordable, the ROI is just not there for me yet for the limited miles I drive. A Chevy Volt is an expensive joke for a big battery hybrid. I can get the same performance from an aftermarket modified Prius, enlarged battery, for less than half the cost of a Volt. And will people please stop calling the Chevy Volt an EV. As long as the Chevy Volt has a gasoline engine installed the thing is a hybrid. Calling it an enhanced range EV is another way of saying it is a big battery hybrid. Get over it people. The rest of you calling it an EV have bought into the Government Motors marketing plan. Calling it an EV shows how delusional you are with the whole concept. The hybrid version of my truck was an expensive, abysmal failure when rolled out a few years ago. The manufacturer stopped production after just 6 months. There is a company in Massachusetts that is working on an affordable hybrid bolt on kit for medium duty vans. They have tested it successfully on a GMC Savanna van. They are aiming at the delivery van market with a rollout this fall. On a vehicle that does 300 miles a day the $8,000 targeted price tag translates to a 25 percent improvement in mpg and an ROI of about 3 years. They are also in negotiations to offer a modified version of it as a 4 X 4 option in proposed OEM front wheel drive light trucks and vans. I am far more familiar with the technical side of EVs and hybrids than most EV proponents. As I end up telling most EV proponets I speak with, please be quiet unless you know what you are talking about.
I don't think EV drivers expect the government to subsidize all charging stations. I think the article made its point pretty clearly that we are willing to pay for the juice for our EV's. The government may not own many gas stations, but the subsidize the gas that flows out of EACH AND EVERY one of those pumps (and the same can be said about electricity, too). It is an egregious falacy on anyone's part to not acknowledge our relatively low gasoline prices (compared to most of the rest of the world) are due in large part to the subsidies our government provides. So if you don't think the government should help EV infrastructure get off the ground, you are clearly ignorant of the way our energy economy works. If you say to hell with EV infrastructure being subsidized by the government, I say the hell with gasoline being subsidized by the government and you should pay the full price of a gallon of gas (currently that would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 a gallon). Sound fair to you?
So you drive your gas guzzling SUV 400 miles to work and back each day? So you don't mind the government subsidizing the bajesus out of all that gasoline you consume? So you think that plugging your car in a mall parking lot or a grocery store or a restaurant (etc) is somehow going to limit your freedom or take copious amounts of time out of your day? Sounds to me like you don't have a realistic picture of how EV's work right now, or what your needs for transportation really are (unless you truly do drive about 400 miles a day, in which case, yes, you're right, no EV's other than a Chevy Volt would work for you).
It's a good idea. Unfortunately, most of the "EV community" are socialists who think the rest of us should pay for their electricity. I haven't looked into the cost, but I doubt it was that much. Bunch of whiners, can't (or won't) pay a buck while they are at the mall.
They were offering to setup a charger and split the profits with the site owner. They have not received much support in the EV community because they are not sticking to the free charge plan laid out by EV proponents.
One solution is for retailers to install charging stations at their place of business, allowing EV owners to charge while they shop. The market will determine the price.
I listed my requirements the way I did because people are used to them. Subconsciously, we have come to expect our vehicles to have those capabilities. I listed the speed that way because in my town, the freeway is 65 mph and you always need extra speed for passing. That way, I could commute in my EV for about a week and then plug it in at home for a recharge. And you KNOW people will say "the next town isn't THAT far away, lets see if I can make it." Then they run out of juice. It's not like you can walk to the nearest charging station and come back with a gallon of electricity. Maybe they will come up with a temporary battery you could plug in that will give about an hour or two of charge so you can make it to a station. You could keep one in the car or borrow one from a station long enough to get there for a charge.
...assuming acquisition and total ownership costs (depreciation, maintenance, etc) were comparable to a conventional auto. Since vast majority of our round trips are well less than 25 miles, range isn't even an issue. But it would definitely be a "second car". And I'd want to charge it at home instead of being dependent upon charging elsewhere. We are still quite some time away from that being a reality.
common sense, it's mind-boggling. I also echo JohnMcGrew's comment. That's the first thing I thought of. I'm not going to want to sit at a charging station at the corner of no and where for 1-4 hours (or how ever long it takes) to recharge the thing, I see EVs as essentially commuter vehicles, suitable only for in-town driving. Even then, they must be capable of sustained speeds greater than 70 mph and a range comparable to that of a gas-burning vehicle (400 miles or so) before recharging. You will still need a charging station at home. EV proponents are just like high-speed rail proponents. It's all about control and forcing their way on the rest of us, logic be damned. They sit there drooling and slobbering in their rush to do this when it takes time to do it right. I would get one to use to get to work if it met my requirements stated above and was affordable. I will continue to use my giant, gas guzzling SUV for road trips. I've had it for nearly 10 years and it has been remarkably dependable and useful. I agree, let the market handle it, no subsidies.
...that the nature of EVs (requiring long charging times) means that most people are going to want to charge these things at home overnight. The main purpose of these charging stations is to basically extend their limited range by convincing people that they're not going to be stranded far from home with not enough charge to make it back. Outside of certain commuter situations, I don't see many people being interested in driving somewhere and charging while they do other things as a matter of habit. It's just too restrictive, even if charging stations are convenient. The local grid issue is going to have to be resolved before EVs are universally accepted.