Petition drive seeks to reverse 200%+ increase in Blink Network charging station fees

A few days ago I asked whether Blink’s recent pricing change for charging services was gouging consumers.  That pricing change had some welcome changes, such as switching from charging by the hour to charging by the minute.  But the effect has been a drastic increase in the cost of a charging session at a Blink station.  I’m seeing repeated complaints about this from EV drivers posting on Facebook, and now there is a petition drive underway asking the CarCharging Group to revert the pricing on Blink charging sessions.

Formerly these sessions cost $1 per hour.  With a car capable of charging at 6 kilowatts, that translates to a cost of $0.16 per kilowatt-hour.  Except Blink has been derating their stations because of overheating problems at the charging cord, so it might have been working out to be $0.25 per kilowatt-hour.

The new rate varies (click on the second link above) and users are now seeing costs around $3 per hour.  Yikes.

The petitions notes the same point I just mentioned – a huge percentage fee increase for charging at a Blink station.  The author of the petition claims this increase will deter potential electric car drivers, and cause an exodus of users from Blink’s stations.

Evade blocked charging stations with one of these handy J1772 extension cords.

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Nissan Leaf charging at Blink fast charging station

I suppose that’s what will happen – the company is certainly earning a negative reputation from this action.  Rather, the already-negative perception of the Blink network is simply being reaffirmed.

The petition notes, as did I in an earlier post, that the charging network owners must be able to make their profit.  Since $0.49 per kilowatt-hour seems to be a fairly common price at charging stations, that makes me wonder if that’s the price level needed by charging networks to sustain the business?

The charging networks obviously have costs beyond the cost of the electricity.  That means their price must be high enough above the electricity cost to give them enough to cover their costs and maybe even a bit of profit.

At the same time, the higher the price at the charging station the closer it gets to the cost of gasoline.

A big attraction of electric cars is that, at $0.11 per kilowatt-hour for electricity, the “fuel cost” to drive an electric car is a tiny fraction of the fuel cost for gasoline.  But at $0.49 per kilowatt-hour that no longer holds true.

The terms of the petition are to

  • Revert the fees to $1 per hour or equivalent
  • Maintain the change where it’s calculated on a 1 minute granularity
  • Rethink the business model
Like the author of the petition, I am unable to charge my electric car at home.  Most of the planning for EV charging assumes drivers will charge at home at the low $0.11 per kilowatt-hour (or so) that’s the nationwide average.  Those of us who don’t have that option are completely beholden to whatever the charging networks decide is their fee structure.
EV Drivers have enjoyed free charging for a few years now, and maybe just maybe have become addicted to that idea.  I wonder if free charging, or unsustainably low-cost charging, will survive for the long term?

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

About David Herron

David Herron is a writer and software engineer living in Silicon Valley. He primarily writes about electric vehicles, clean energy systems, climate change, peak oil and related issues. When not writing he indulges in software projects and is sometimes employed as a software engineer. David has written for sites like PlugInCars and TorqueNews, and worked for companies like Sun Microsystems and Yahoo.

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