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Exclusive: Electrify America Will Transition To Pay By kWh Pricing, And More
Much is learned in an InsideEVs exclusive interview with CEO Giovanni Palazzo.
Tom Moloughney

One of the biggest complaints that many users of the Electrify Americanetwork have will soon be history. In an exclusive interview with Electrify America's President and CEO, Giovanni Palazzo, we learn that the dc fast charging giant will transition to a pay-by-kWh pricing structure.

The departure from their current pay-by-time model was undoubtedly inspired by California's decision to require EV charging stations to charge according to the amount of energy given to the vehicle, and not by how long the car was connected to the charging station.

Electrify America news
The California legislation applies to all newly-installed Level 2 chargers beginning in 2021, and to new DC fast chargers beginning in 2023. Chargers installed before 2021 can continue to use time-based billing until 2031 (for Level 2 chargers) or 2033 (for DC fast chargers).
"We totally believe this is the right decision and we don't want to wait until 2023. We're going to implement this well ahead of 2023" - Electrify America CEO Giovanni Palazzo on transitioning from a time-based charging methiod to kWh based
However, Electrify America isn't going to wait until 2023. They have decided that the pay-by-kWh is a more fair method, and promise to make the switch well before 2023. Palazzo wouldn't offer an exact date but stressed that he's completely on board with the transition, and would have likely come to this conclusion even if California hadn't mandated it.
We embrace this. When we started out as a new organization we believed that a tier-based policy would help. At the time, we were the only ones bringing out 150 kW and 350 kW stations... kWh based pricing is our future. We want to make it right and we want to make it simple - Giovanni Palazzo
Palazzo explained that some stated won't allow kWh-based pricing because they don't allow entities to resell electricity. In those states, Electrify America will continue to sell "time" on their charging station. This is most likely why Electrify America started out with the pay-by-time pricing structure because they wanted to have one pricing scheme everywhere.

Palazzo said that the company will offer the pay-by-kWh pricing wherever they are allowed to, and only stick with the time-based pricing in states where charging by the kWh isn't allowed.

While we think this is great news, we'll have to wait to see what the cost structure is. If it's $.50 per kWh, then this isn't exactly good news, right? In my most recent charging session on the network, I paid $12.42 to charge a 2020 Chevy Bolt to 80% and took in 51 kWh of energy. That comes out to about 24 cents per kWh. That's not bad considering the residential cost for electricity is about 17 cents per kWh where the charging station is located.

2020-chevy-bolt-dc-fast-charging.jpg

2020 Chevy Bolt DC fast charging on an Electrify America station

So transitioning to a kWh-based price structure doesn't mean it will necessarily cost less, it just means that everyone will pay the same amount for the electricity, as that's not the case with time-based pricing.

The interview with Palazzo lasted nearly an hour and more was learned. We'll continue with part two of the interview tomorrow, and talk about network reliability, Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia Niro EV pricing plans, my recent problems charging a Nissan LEAF to 100% on their network, the effect the COVID-19 shutdown has on the company and more.

However, this pricing structure transition was too important not to report on immediately, as we know many of our readers have been unhappy with the way the time-based charging scheme was implemented, and we knew this would be very welcome news.

https://insideevs.com/news/423141/electrify-america-exclusive-interview-pay-by-kwh/
 

hybrid2bev

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Palazzo said that the company will offer the pay-by-kWh pricing wherever they are allowed to, and only stick with the time-based pricing in states where charging by the kWh isn't allowed.

It’s great that they are looking to accelerate the transition before 2023 but.....it will depend on what the state will allow. So it won’t be available everywhere. But it looks like most states do allow it.
https://infogram.com/ev-kwh-charging-1h7g6kqy1rzj6oy

052D8F48-65A7-42F2-826D-59347850C7B0.jpeg
 
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mamejunkie

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While moving to kWh is great. Nothing says they will or wont have different $ based on the speed of charge. Kind of like Regular/Plus/Premium gas. Same amount. I know its still different but in general, I don't trust companies. They will stick it to the consumers as long as they can get away with it. They never do anything just for the good of it. Always someone forcing them...either governments or competition. When was the last time a monopoly self policing themselves and made changes for the good of all?
 

ChasingCoral

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While moving to kWh is great. Nothing says they will or wont have different $ based on the speed of charge. Kind of like Regular/Plus/Premium gas. Same amount. I know its still different but in general, I don't trust companies. They will stick it to the consumers as long as they can get away with it. They never do anything just for the good of it. Always someone forcing them...either governments or competition. When was the last time a monopoly self policing themselves and made changes for the good of all?
To be fair, if they cannot charge more per kWh for a faster charge, there is little incentive for them to install faster, more expensive chargers.
 

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This is great news. I'm just really curious as to how they're going to encourage people not to camp to get that last few kilowatt hours.
 

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This is great news. I'm just really curious as to how they're going to encourage people not to camp to get that last few kilowatt hours.
They might put a max time limit on a session, per charging rate
 

mamejunkie

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To be fair, if they cannot charge more per kWh for a faster charge, there is little incentive for them to install faster, more expensive chargers.

I totally agree. IF they have to charge the same $ for kWh regardless of charge speed. The charge companies has more incentives to speed up putting faster chargers in. (pun intended ;))
 

ChasingCoral

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This is great news. I'm just really curious as to how they're going to encourage people not to camp to get that last few kilowatt hours.
I don't know about charging you more for that last 20% (probably should) but don't leave it plugged in after you're done:

"When your vehicle is fully charged, it will automatically stop charging. The charger screen will tell you when your session is done, and you can get notified either through the app or via text message. Then it’s time to unplug and move out of the parking spot in front of the charger to make room for another EV. If your vehicle is not moved within ten minutes of the completion of your charge, an idle fee of $0.40 per minute will be added to your total session bill. We do this to try to ensure that more people have a chance to charge."
 

pbojanoski

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While moving to kWh is great. Nothing says they will or wont have different $ based on the speed of charge. Kind of like Regular/Plus/Premium gas. Same amount. I know its still different but in general, I don't trust companies. They will stick it to the consumers as long as they can get away with it. They never do anything just for the good of it. Always someone forcing them...either governments or competition. When was the last time a monopoly self policing themselves and made changes for the good of all?
More EV's on the road means more competition and available chargers. That is the best answer to make electric charging more convenient and affordable.
 

symos

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To be fair, if they cannot charge more per kWh for a faster charge, there is little incentive for them to install faster, more expensive chargers.
If they're making $x/hour from an installed slow charger, they could be making $3x/hour from a fast charger (or whatever is the analogy). That is incentive enough, they don't need to be charging more per kWh. After all, the biggest cost for them is usually real estate, not the chargers or power.
 

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The real estate and equipment for chargers cost a lot. In the short- to near-term, charger will likely continue to be a limited resource. As a result, I don't understand why everyone is so excited about per-kWh pricing. It is reasonable to expect that A Nissan charing at 50kW should pay more than another vehicle charging at 150/350kW for the same amount of kWh. From consumer perspective, one has to wait much longer when queued behind a Nissan. From business perspective, a transaction may be lost if a potential customer noticed that a Nissan is ahead in the queue.

Going by the above belief, I think Electrify America should charge for both time and electricity. In other words, one pays the total of parking (and exclusive use of the charing equipment) by minutes and charging by kWh.

Additionally, I believe that the per-minute portion of the cost should be tied to the equipment's charing rate only (i.e. not affected by the vehicle's charing rate) because a car charing at 50kW on a 350kW equipment excludes another car capable of 350kW from using that equipment. This has the additional benefit that 1) Electrify America gets incentivized to install fast chargers, and 2) slow cars owners gets incentivized to leave the faster chargers, if any, available to other cars.

The tiered-pricing that Electrify America uses today is flawed, penalizing certain makes (Kia and Hyundai) unreasonably. And the Kia/Hyundai fix they introduced is a hack/patchwork. But that's not a problem inherent to charging for time. That is caused by having coarse "tier"s. (And I understand tiers have to be coarse because otherwise the pricing chart will be too long.) I believe that the pricing model should be revamped. But I feel like this update is an over correction.
 
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timbop

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It is reasonable to expect that A Nissan charing at 50kW should pay more than another vehicle charging at 150/350kW for the same amount of kWh.
Disagree here - currently lower charge rate vehicles tend to be cheaper at EA, but it is also a case of supply and demand for the convenience of ultra fast chargers. In the US EA are the only ones with ultra fast CCS chargers, which also happen to be more expensive than slower chargers. EA needs to recoup that additional cost, and it makes sense to capitalize on their market position. It also would be against their interests to compel Bolt, Leaf, and Kona owners to use a different network based on price. Don't forget they they are selling a service as much as electricity, and the convenience of a quick charge equates to better service - for which they can charge a premium.

Additionally, I believe that the per-minute portion of the cost should be tied to the equipment's charing rate only (i.e. not affected by the vehicle's charing rate) because a car charing at 50kW on a 350kW equipment excludes another car capable of 350kW from using that equipment. This has the additional benefit that 1) Electrify America gets incentivized to install fast chargers, and 2) slow cars owners gets incentivized to leave the faster chargers, if any, available to other cars.
They may very well continue to have tiered rates per draw and a max time limit, or do as you suggest and charge for both time and power drawn based on charger max power output. In the end I suspect they will continue to charge a premium for the convenience of ultra fast charging, while remaining competitive with other networks for slower charging vehicles. We have no idea what the new pricing structure will look like, but I agree that there should be a disincentive for a slow DC charging car from tying up a much faster charger than it can use.
 

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Having charged at Electrify America, my average charge was at $0.35 kWhy vs. Tesla $0.28 to $0.31 so not much material difference in cost based on current EA rates. And most, unlike myself, will charge at home. It's always really been about availability of the on the road charging more than cost.

While it is nice to pay less per mile for electric power vs. gasoline, that's not why people drive EVs since we already pay a $10-$20K premium for the EV which is never going to be made up by savings on gasoline.

Key for me is availability. EA has to get the US101 and OR26 chargers in place so going to the OR shore is doable for EV's using CCS charging.
 

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Sounds like EA is working on improving their coastline infrastructure. Whether that's Aberdeen, WA; Astoria, OR; or Wilmington, NC. All of that definitely needs to improve.

I was happy to see that at least in WA on US 101, EA is installing stations in Olympia and Port Angeles. Driving around the Olympic Peninsula is practically impossible in a CCS vehicle until at least a couple more stations arrive.
 

ChasingCoral

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The real estate and equipment for chargers cost a lot. In the short- to near-term, charger will likely continue to be a limited resource. As a result, I don't understand why everyone is so excited about per-kWh pricing. It is reasonable to expect that A Nissan charing at 50kW should pay more than another vehicle charging at 150/350kW for the same amount of kWh. From consumer perspective, one has to wait much longer when queued behind a Nissan. From business perspective, a transaction may be lost if a potential customer noticed that a Nissan is ahead in the queue.
That's assuming space at chargers is the limiting factor. I've only once had to wait for a charger and it was a free charger at a Nissan dealership. I have yet to have to wait to get onto a commercial charger where I had to pay to charge. Frequently there are banks of chargers where I am only one of a few cars charging with many open. That's even been true at the bank of free chargers at the Maryand I-95 service plazas.
 
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