Earlier this year, Electrify America changed the pricing structure for EV charging. Instead of charging a flat-rate across all stations, with lower rates for people with a Pass+ membership, the company switched to dynamic pricing, with every location getting its own charging price and the possibility of higher pricing during certain times of day.
Now, Electrify Canada (the company’s Canadian division) is doing something similar. A few days ago, a new station-by-station kilowatt-hour (kWh) based pricing strategy goes into effect starting 9 January 2024.
According to the company, the updated kWh pricing model aims to enhance the fairness and transparency of Electrify Canada’s public DC fast charging network. With this new approach, customers will be billed based on the actual energy consumed during the EV charging process instead of being billed by the minute.
Recent regulatory changes in Canada allowed the company to legally do this. Just like in the United States, some places prohibited anybody but an electric utility from charging for electricity by the kilowatt-hour, so many companies instead charged by the minute to get around that issue. But, many jurisdictions are changing their ways to enable more fair EV charging.
“Electric vehicle owners like the transparency of kilowatt-hour pricing – letting them pay for the amount of energy used to charge their EVs,” said Robert Barrosa, president and CEO of Electrify Canada and Electrify America. “We’re pleased to be able to offer a simpler and fairer billing structure to EV drivers across the Electrify Canada network.”
Another benefit to this arrangement is that it can actually reflect the real-world costs of each station. Some places have higher utility rates, fewer people using the station (and thus demand fees are spread across fewer people), and higher installation and upkeep costs. By being able to get more money for stations that cost more, it will be easier for the company to be able to keep stations running.
As in the United States, customers can continue to enjoy a 20% discount on charging (excluding idle fees, assuming Electrify America/Canada actually starts charging those) throughout the Electrify Canada network. This can be done with a Pass+ membership, and you get 20% off whatever the normal station pricing is. This and everything else can be done in the Electrify Canada app (or the Electrify America app if you’re an American EV owner visiting the Great White North).
Why This Is Better
This is a big improvement over the old system, mainly because it doesn’t make some people pay 2-3x more to charge. For example, a driver with a car that can charge at 200 kW takes (on average) twice as long as someone with a car that can only charge at 100 kW. If charged per minute, you end up paying twice as much.
In the past, the company has used tiered pricing based on speed to give slower charging drivers a break. This kept the overall price between different vehicle similar, but not exactly the same.
Having a simpler per kWh pricing system is about as fair as it can get, but notably doesn’t encourage people to stop charging when they have enough charge to get to the next station. But, that’s a separate problem that can be dealt with separately, and probably by just not offering any free charging.
Featured image by Jennifer Sensiba.
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