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, is now pricing by the amount of power used– the kilowatt hour – rather than by the minute.
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 America says 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.
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“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.’"
The change comes as several new electric vehicles have hit the market, ones that will 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.
“We want to drive the adoption of (EVs) in the marketplace," Barrosa says. “But we also want to make sure, for the infrastructure in the ground, that it’s a sustainable biz model."
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 up costs fall a bit. Much will depend on where drivers have been charging. “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 800 fast-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."