The cost of ChargePoint charging - worth it?

Discussion in 'Prime Plug-in Charging' started by DerekR, Oct 7, 2017.

  1. Old Bear

    Old Bear Senior Member

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    There have been a lot of comments about ChargePoint and problems of cost, location, availability, etc.

    In my experience, ChargePoint is a very clever and useful service. However, one has to understand that ChargePoint provides their stations to property owners who have different objectives in providing the stations and in setting the pricing. I believe that the three most common are:

    1. Restaurants, stores, malls and other businesses which provide low-cost or free charging as a way to attract customers and encourage them to stay around and spend money.

    2. Landlords and property management companies who set the rate per kWh to make vehicle charging a profit center just like having coin-operated laundry equipment or vending machines for the use of their tenants.

    3. Municipalities which provide free or subsidized charging to encourage electric vehicle use for environmental reasons, as public policy, or to attract shoppers to their business district.​

    I have also seen ChargePoint stations inside paid parking facilities which are either free -- to attract customers who might otherwise go elsewhere -- or priced high enough to provide additional revenue to the parking garage/lot operator. And, of course, ChargePoint stations offered by employers for use by their employees, with the pricing set by the employer as anything from a subsidized benefit, to a break-even proposition, to a profit center.

    Just like buying gasoline, it's up to the vehicle owner to decide where to go and whether or not the price is acceptable.

    That being said, Zythryn is entirely correct in observing that it makes little sense to go somewhere you otherwise would not go just so you can hang around while your car is charging. But that's very different than going to supermarket A because you can charge your car while shopping versus going to supermarket B where you cannot. And, of course, there is no requirement that to wait around to fully charge your car if you only need to spend a half-hour in the supermarket.

    Also, I want to comment on the $100 90-day introductory credit provided by ChargePoint when you acquire a new Prime. This is a very clever way to allow you to become acquainted with how the ChargePoint stations work and where they are located.

    Some folks complain that they can't use up their $100 credit before the 90-day clock runs out. However, ChargePoint really wants to give potential customers 90-days to get to used to using the system. I think that the $100 limit is imposed only to prevent your standing at a ChargePoint station and collecting money from everyone who pulls up in exchange for "free charging." It might be better if ChargePoint stressed the 90-day period more than the $100 credit -- but offering dollars rather than days probably attracts more interest and attention. (Might be better if they said "Free charging for your first three months of ownership, for a value of up to $100" rather than "$100 of free charging! Card expires in 90-days.")

    The bottom line is that I really like ChargePoint and businesses and locations which offer their service. I just wish they had even more locations within my normal orbit.
     
    #41 Old Bear, Feb 8, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
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  2. benagi

    benagi Active Member

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    I did notice that the prices were set by Salt Lake City Corp., so that’s why I said I probably won’t be using the public parks for charging. I was surprised that it did jump to $2.00 for only 6 minutes during my test session. Actually, I probably won’t be taking advantage is the ChargePoint $100 card that came with the car before it expires. Most all my charging is done when I get home at night, since I don’t need charging staions for my commute. Just wanted to see how they work, in case I ever needed one.
     
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  3. Old Bear

    Old Bear Senior Member

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    As noted in another post, the ChargePoint card is really a 90-day trial with a $100 cap only so that you don't charge-up all your friends and neighbors cars for free. ChargePoint wants to let new users see how the system works and give them enough time to become comfortable with their service. Unfortunately, they (and the Toyota dealers) place too much emphasis on the $100 cap so that many users feel that they're "wasting" the card or getting ripped off if they can't use up the full $100 within the trial period.

    Your experience with the Salt Lake City Corp ChargePoint may be the result of a rate change. (Salt Lake City Corp is the municipal government of Salt Lake City which runs the local utility systems.) According to PlugShare, the rate appears to be (or have been) $1.00 plus 10-cents per kWh. This is an unusual pricing structure because it encourages you to stay until you've fully-charged your vehicle in order to get the total cost per kWh down.

    More common in municipalities is a rate structure which jumps up after two hours to discourage people from hogging the charging station. Or adjusts based upon time of day. For example, I've seen these rates in my area:

    1. Municipal Parking Lot: $1.25/hour 8am-6pm, $2/hr 6-10 pm

    2. Private Parking Garage: $1 per hour for the first 4 hours, then $5/h + parking fee
    I don't know what your local electric rates are, but $2.00 plus 10-cents per kWh for a nominal 8kWh charge is $2.80 which is not cheap but not crazy like the 60-cent per kWh rate which some urban hotels soak their guests in addition to a hefty per day parking fee
    .
     
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  4. ct89

    ct89 Active Member

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    Does the Municipal Parking Lot waive the fee for parking if you are using the charging?
    I can see that rate being reasonable if it also includes the cost of parking but as an extra fee for charging, I can wait till I get home.
    Even $1/hour is still almost 3x what my local utility company charges.
     
  5. Old Bear

    Old Bear Senior Member

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    I believe that the there is no cost related to the use of the ChargePoint station but the parking regulations are complex like most in the our metro area.

    cambridge-chargepoint.jpg

    I recall a friend explaining her 1970-era Fiat as being a one seat car because the other seat was reserved for the mechanic. Similarly, many drivers feel they need to carry their own lawyer to interpret the posted parking regulations. One of my favorites in Boston is:

    moving-vehicles-only.jpg

    Just move along... nothing here to see.
     

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  6. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    $1 hr is meaningless until
    one knows how fast the rate is .... how much you can draw .... 3kw's? 6kW? 7? 10kW? 17kw? It makes a big difference for your $1.
    .
     
    #46 hill, Feb 15, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
  7. ct89

    ct89 Active Member

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    I'm talking about a prime...It's a 3.3KW car...$1/hour = $0.30 per KWh
     
  8. chenderson2

    chenderson2 Member

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    In Houston Chargepoint is virtually useless - even if it is free. The Chargepoint stations would have to be at restaurants or shopping malls for them to be usable for me. They aren't.
     
  9. markabele

    markabele owner of PiP, then Leaf, then Model 3

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    Where are they? Middle of nowhere?
     
  10. benagi

    benagi Active Member

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    Recently I posted my experience (post 38) about my first time using a charging station and what it cost. Nice to have $100 ChargePoint credit. Decided to go back to the same charge station today, so I could make it home on EV. Low and behold looks like Salt Lake City decided to make this a completely free station now. Here I was trying to use some of the $100 credit. I still have a balance of $98. Guess I won’t be using that up before it expires. Otherwise the ChargePoint station worked just fine and easy to use.
     
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  11. Roy2001

    Roy2001 Active Member

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    For that price, gas makes more sense right?
     
  12. stuyguy

    stuyguy Active Member

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    Two positive finds: One free ChargePoint station outside of a Kohl's, and another at an electrician's union shop a few blocks from an antique show we visited
     
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  13. benagi

    benagi Active Member

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    Roy, about a month after my first ChargePoint charge at that station, they changed to free charging. Even had to use it again today. I was low on my battery and wanted to get home without using the ice. So I plugged in for 20 miniutes and made it home with 1 mile left on the battery.
     
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  14. AnneLW

    AnneLW Member

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    There's one at a Walgren's a block from a movie theatre I like-- so we do that sometimes.

    And I just found the ones at a shopping mall in Palm Desert -- think they were blocked by gas vehicles the first time I looked.

    Another local mall had only Evgo and Tesla chargers. My research indicates Evgo is expensive. : (
     
  15. Pdog808

    Pdog808 Active Member

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  16. AnneLW

    AnneLW Member

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    I've been using it but I didn't know I could filter. Thanks. And I also only use the free ones. otherwise, cost per mile for me is just about the same as buying gas in HV mode (free market at work, I guess).

    And I do 99% of my charging at home because there isn't a public station within 20 miles of my home.

    But if I happen to be going somewhere and there's a freebie at the other end, and I'll be parked for 45+ minutes, I'll use it.
     
  17. Pdog808

    Pdog808 Active Member

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    I usually try to charge at a free station when I have time. Luckily there are about 7 free stations within 2 miles of where I live and I have about 30 free stations at work.

    If I'm going to wait somewhere to charge, I find having a Kindle is a lifesaver. Also, don't forget that you can run your remote conditioning (A/C) while the car is charging. Just make sure that all doors are closed and it's at least about 2 minutes since you shutoff the car. The A/C (or heat pump) runs off of the traction battery so you may slow the charge rate down a bit, but it's not your dime if it's a free station :)

    I've sat in my car reading my Kindle and running the A/C while it's 85+ degrees outside. The remote A/C shuts off every 10 minutes, but you can turn it back on via the keyfob. I think if you open the door it starts a 2 minute timeout before you can run the remote A/C again but I can't remember.
     
  18. fneil

    fneil Member

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    I think that's the heart of the issue here. Large capacity BEVs can get economical use of these flat rate pay chargers, due to their high rate of charge. For our small battery, low charge-rate Primes, the cost per kwh is way too high to be viable.

    We have quite a few free chargers in my area, which I use if I'm going to be nearby anyway, otherwise I charge only at home, at ~$0.11 per kwh.
     
  19. Roy2001

    Roy2001 Active Member

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    Same here. In our area (Northern California) gas price is $3.3 and PG&E is about 25c/kwh. Charging makes sense as cost is pretty similar.

    But if they are charging more than $2 for a charging, it does NOT make sense to charge at public station at all. The calculation is reallysimple. We are driving PHV and when we run out of electricity, we simply use gas. If we use charge station, most of the time I should have 10 miles or so left, and I pay $2 to add just another 15-20 mils?
     
  20. hill

    hill High Fiber Member

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    using a waterless cleaner/wax kit from Amazon - it takes about 30min to go over the entire car. That's about how long it takes to pick up ~150ev miles at the supercharger too. Perfect! Still .... I do miss those days when the service station would clean your windows for you.
    .
     
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