According to speakers at last month’s Plug-in 2012 conference in San Antonio, Texas, a pressing issue is public charging stations starting to charge user fees. They were free for the past couple of years, and now they’re starting to bill users – the acceptable rate was said to be $1 up to $1.33 per hour. If an EV owner sees that he’s been priced at $2 or $3 an hour to charge, he will probably have bad things to say about it.
In a recent interview with the Christian Science Monitor, Coulomb Technologies CEO Pat Romano acknowledged the rates being charged by some members of the ChargePoint network are excessive. He said that $2 per hour is expensive, but that the pricing will “settle in” as the market matures, as electric car owners become better educated, and charging station owners learn more about the business. The article goes on to say both Romano and Richard Lowenthal, Coulomb’s Founder and CTO, are “advocates of per-kilowatt-hour pricing” for electric car charging stations, and that only 20% of ChargePoint stations are charging fees today.
As a side note, Coulomb Technologies is now called ChargePoint. ChargePoint America is the name of Coulomb’s US network, funded in part by a Dept. of Energy grant. Perhaps ChargePoint is easier to pronounce and remember? Another interesting bit of news is that prior to this conference, BMW announced a strategic investment in Coulomb Technologies. The partnership will enhance BMW’s “electric mobility offer,” according to the company, and it’s part of the automaker’s comprehensive services to those buying its electric cars.