Pam Sherwood, Palo Alto
A: A Roadshow reader, Lou, is considering an EV and wondered how drivers know the price before charging vehicles.
Q: Everything Lou needs to know about the price of charging an EV is on an app. There are several charging networks: ChargePoint, EVgo, PowerFlex, Chargeway. Choose one that works for you and where you would normally charge/travel, although most of these networks cooperate with each other by charging roaming rates.
Charging the EV at home is always your best bet, although there are some free commercial stations. Charging an EV in California is expensive, like everything else. Typical commercial charge station off-peak rates are 45 cents/kilowatt-hour (kWh) or higher now. In Florida where I am regularly on business, I always rent electric and pay 30 cents/kWh at FPL, a network well-placed over most of the state.
Q: PlugShare.com is crowd-sourced data, so it is good, but not guaranteed. Some charging networks (e.g. ChargePoint) also display pricing on their app or website.
Ben White, San Jose
Q: The part of PlugShare.com I use most is the map that shows all charging stations available to the public. For each location, the number of charging stations is shown, along with what type of connection each station supports and the prices. There are also check-in reports from recent users that provide helpful information about that location.
A: Finally, for today…
Q: EV charging companies have recently escalated prices, some to more than 50 and 60 cents per kWh at times. They have zero incentive to provide competitive information. Heck, one of the biggest EV charging map sites/apps, PlugShare, is now owned by an EV charging network, EVgo, so there’s even less incentive to provide a pricing filter.
I’d also point out that a simple “maximum price per kWh” filter isn’t as easy as it might seem, because many chargers have prices that vary by day and time (blame electric companies for that one).
That all said, many if not most EV charging stations provide prices, just not on external signs. Assuming the charger screen hasn’t been vandalized (unfortunately, a thing), there’s usually easily found pricing information on each station.
If someone could figure out a GasBuddy for EV charging, I guarantee it’d be popular.
A: Interesting idea, a GasBuddy for EV charging.
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