If you’re reading the article you’ve probably asked yourself this question before. While it seems as simple as transferring over a gas station-like model, its not. Other than both providing “fuel” to your vehicle gas stations and ev charging stations couldn’t be more different.
First we must establish that there are several different kinds of chargers, several different kinds of stations, and multiple providers. Level 2 and 3 chargers are what power electric cars (Level 1 provides insufficient power). Level 2 chargers are the most prominent due to their easy of install and lower cost. They will typically provide between 20-40 miles per kilowatt hour, which can charge a Tesla from zero to full in 8-10 hours. Level 3 chargers are commonly referred to as DC fast chargers and are able to rapidly charge vehicles, most typically can charge up to 80% in around 30 minutes. Unfortunately this technology is expense, and unless you drive a Tesla, harmful to your EVs battery.
Not All Stations Are The Same
Public stations change pretty regularly, some are free, some are paid, some are in paid parking but are free, some are in paid parking and are paid, some are part of a club (we’ll get to this in a bit), and, well you get it, there’s a lot.
Depending on which part of the country you live your options could be numerous. San Francisco has hundreds of options to choose from, however that doesn’t mean just anybody can use them. For one, many “free” stations require you to be a shopper. While not technically free, you will most likely want to be shopping for a few hours if you’re going to rely on public charging. Even with DC fast charging you’re looking at 30 minutes to kill and that’s if there isn’t a line.
The one thing many potential EV drivers forget is many times community or public stations in convenient locations fill up pretty quick. So if you’re not one of the first ones to arrive, you may as well get comfy you’re going to be there awhile.
A lot of ”public” charging, however forces you to have a membership. ChargePoint, Blink, Aeroviroment, The Electric Circuit, evGo, GE Watts, Greenlots, the list goes on, but the one thing you should remember is being a member of one only grants you access to that group's charging stations and you’ll definitely have to pay a fee to access them, along with additional fees (keep reading, we’ll get to this).
Joining a member group that covers a large area is great but if none are convenient to get to or close to your home or work there’s not much of a point in signing up. Further even though you pay a membership fee, there are no guarantees that you’ll get a space. Once the stations full it's full, and there isn’t much you can do but wait.
This is where membership charging takes a big chunk out of your wallet. While you pay a monthly fee it doesn’t stop there. Most likely you’ll need to pay for the electricity you use (seems fair) then you’ll pay a little more to pad their return on investment (I guess that’s fair), sometimes this can be as high as $1.50 per hour (ok getting a little pricy). After than many charging stations have adopted a demand-pricing policy meaning every hour past the first hour the price goes up a little more. The first hour may start at $1/hour, but after 2 hours you could be looking at $3 or more (wait...WHAT!?!) Getting into something like this completely negates the cost savings over gasoline. So while you’re still saving the environment you’re paying a steep price to do it.
Come on, you thought we wouldn’t pat ourselves on the back? This is our blog after all. Ok we’ll make it quick. In-home charging is truly the best way to recharge your EV. If you live in a single-family home all you really need is a dryer plug installed in the garage and off you go. If, however, you live in a multi-tenant building getting your own charger is going to be difficult. Everything you’ve read above is exactly why EverCharge does what we do.
We offer the only charging solution for multi-tenant buildings, every one who wants a charger can have one installed in their space, for their personal use. No sharing, no waiting, no price fluctuations, no scheduling time around your car’s energy needs. Just come and go as you please, it's that simple.