Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Charging network electrocutes itself

We all knew that electric car charging stations wouldn't be free forever.  We didn't anticipate the the largest charging network would price themselves at twice the price of gasoline for an equivalent driving distance:

https://www.blinknetwork.com/membership.html

Let's calculate that out, comparing my Nissan Leaf with my neighbor's Toyota Prius:

Leaf: 8hrs for full charge at $2/hr means $16 per 100miles.
Prius: $4/Gallon for a car getting 50MPG is $8 per 100miles.

hmmm, so an electric car will cost twice as much as a gas powered car to run, if you use the Blink network.  

Even at the highest level of Blink membership, where the charge is $1/hr (the equivalent of the cost of gas), the price is absurd in comparison with how much electricity actually costs.  

This pricing completely throws the idea of opportunity charging out the window.  Why plug in to a Blink charger at the local shop if it just going to cost you an order of magnitude higher than doing all your charging at home?  There is no incentive to use a Blink branded charger if your vehicle is within reach of the home charging station.

I want to know more about the Blink chargers at my local coop.  Did they pay or were they paid to have these chargers installed?  Will they get a cut of the money generated by these chargers?

Of course, it was silly of me to think that it would ever be otherwise.  Blink is essentially a monopoly in the area.  In the world of free enterprise, they get to charge whatever they'd like.  The market will have to sort it out.  I do not image that Blink will be successful at this price point.  When they go down, I fear they'll take electric cars with them.

Maybe, I'll have to start my own competing charging network.