EV charging station chain Electrify America follows Tesla in pricing by power

Electrify America, which owns and operates 470 of America’s fastest public electric vehicle chargers, isnow pricingby the amount of power used– the kilowatt hour – rather than by the minute.

Representational photo of an EV charging station (REUTERS)
Representational photo of an EV charging station

The strategy follows Tesla, which owns and operates its own chargers for its vehicles. Elon Musk and company have long said it's a more fair and equitable fee structure. Yet, Electrify Americasays it is only able to make the shift in 23 states. Utility regulations still require charge pricing based on time in most of the country, including Florida, Texas, and several of the most-populated states.

“We’re still looking at it where it’s possible,"says Rob Barrosa, Electrify America's senior director of sales, business development and marketing. “Though there are some states that basically have a hard ‘No.’"

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The change comes as severalnew electric vehicles have hit the market, ones thatwill hold more power and charge far faster than Nissan engineers could have dreamed of when they released the Leaf a decade ago. Back then, that and other early EV models took about the same amount of time to top off.As today’s EVs hoover up electrons at speeds often five times faster than dated models, pricing by the minute is going to increasingly hamstring revenue for charging stations.

“Wewant to drive the adoption of (EVs) in the marketplace," Barrosa says. “But we also want to makesure, for the infrastructure in the ground, that it’s a sustainable biz model."

Also Read : Porsche uses high-power charging trucks as mobile EV charging spots for Taycan

Ultimately, Electrify America says the shift in pricing strategy will make for a far more simple, equitable system. Drivers will pay .43 cents per kilo-watt hour at most of its plugs, with a 28% discount for those who agree to a $4 a month membership fee. Those in fancier vehicles may end up paying more than they used to; those in scruffier machines, may see their juicing upcosts fall a bit. Much will depend on where drivers have beencharging. “But now, you know exactly what you’re paying for,"Barrosa said.

Though rival charging networks dabble in power-based pricing, the Electrify America decision is expected to pull the market along. EVgo, which owns and operates more than 800fast-charging station in the U.S., said it likely will move away from time-based pricing sometime next year.“We’ve been trying to think long and hard on this," said Jonathan Levy, senior vice president of business development. “The question is how we make sure we do it thoughtfully."

First Published Date: 22 Sep 2020, 17:57 PM IST
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