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Hybrid Cars News Electric-Car Charging Stations: Will Market Forces Cut Prices?

As some public charging stations have started charging fees for charging sessions, many electric-car drivers are debating what a fair price would be.

Virtually all drivers accept that it’s reasonable to pay something to charge at a private business.

Two executives from Coulomb Technologies, which is installing the ChargePoint network of charging stations, weighed in with their experiences after two years in the trenches.

They suggest that electric-car drivers will choose only those stations that charge what’s viewed as a fair price, meaning market forces will adjust prices to acceptable levels.

Today, the most common model now being introduced is to set costs for charging sessions by time, e.g. $2 per hour.

This is largely viewed as unfair. The majority of mass-market plug-in vehicles for 2011 and 2012 draw only 3.3 kw per hour, or about 50 cents of electricity per hour at average U.S. electricity costs.

Some newer electric vehicles (the 2012 Ford Focus Electric, 2012 Coda Sedan, and the 2012 Tesla Model S) can charge that twice that rate on public Level 2 charging stations.

It would appear that electric-car owners unanimously want to be charged for the actual electricity they use, measured in kilowatt-hours.

Unfortunately, many states do not allow a private vendor to “set electric rates,” a privilege reserved to utilities that are regulated by various state and local public commissions.


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