Most EV drivers do not want a monthly subscription or membership, but becoming a free member of a charging network is easy if you need to use a public station to authenticate the charge. You can download the app, signup and pay with the app by placing a credit card on file. While only some charging networks will require an initial deposit of $25, the trend is to offer guest charging so anyone can pull up and pay with a credit card without the hassle of signing up as a member.
For the networks that offer subscription memberships, the monthly rates range from $4 to $7.99.
Pay-as-you-go public charging prices
Generally public charging station rates are based on a number of dimensions: location, time of use, length of use, and power level, which factor in the price of the commercial electricity usage. For example, California has the highest electricity rates in the country and time-of use pricing, which varies by time, weekday and season. In Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) territory weekday peak pricing is between 3 - 8 p.m. Furthermore, charging networks price Level 2 AC charging differently than DC charging, which also have a range of power levels from 50kW - 350 kW.
Public charging rates
Pricing rates can be established by the site-host owner or the EV charging network, which impacts the pricing as there are different motivations for each. For example, a site-host may want to offer free public charging to bring more customers to its retail stores or offer it as a perk to increase “dwell time.”
That said, charging “by the minute,” or per-minute costs are most commonly used, but you can also see pricing per charging session and per kWh.
When charging by the minute, charging systems will have a standardized amount of electricity flowing into the car. There is no guarantee about how much electrical current is flowing into your vehicle, though most stations will offer a reassurance like a "20 minute supercharge" to attract EV drivers.
Public charging idle fees
Different charging networks will incentivize proper utilization by charging electric vehicle drivers for idling. These fees also vary by network and location. For example, an idle fee can range from $0.40 per-minute to $1.30 per minute.
Most networks no longer have set up fees or termination fees for members, but credit card fees vary across locations if you pay as you go.
What Is the most convenient and affordable place to charge?
Charging your car at home, and paying your electric utility company for the energy you consume. The difference comes at the price of the energy itself. Kilowatts per hour refers to how many kilowatts are being pumped into the battery of the car per hour. On a home system utilizing a level 2 EV charger, a typical rate at which a vehicle consumes energy is 7.2kWh. Most plug-in electric vehicles have a capacity of 50kW, meaning a full charge on a V2 charging unit can take about 7 hours.
For example, with a monthly membership fee, one charging station network still charges $1.50/hour for level 2 charging. The average time of the charge for an electric vehicle on a level 2 system is about seven hours for a full charge. This means that a full charge with this charging network would cost you $11. When you compare this to the average cost of an EV at-home charging unit, you realize that charging at home saves you about 50% when you also look at membership fees!
Growing federal support for vehicles and charging stations
There’s good news for prospective EV owners in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed in August 2022. The IRA continues the $7,500 federal tax credits for EVs, without the 200,000-unit cap that eliminated tax credits on Tesla, GM, and Toyota EVs. Your taxable income can’t exceed $150,000 for individual filers (or $300,000 for joint filers). The EV price must be no more than $55,000 for sedans, hatchbacks, and wagons and $80,000 for trucks, SUVs, and vans. The EV doesn’t even need to be new; buyers can also get tax breaks for purchasing used and commercial EVs.
The IRA also includes tax credits for EV charging equipment, especially in rural and lower-income areas. That’s a welcome addition to the U.S. EV charging networks included in the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program. Under the plan passed in November 2021, the U.S. Departments of Energy and Transportation is authorized to invest $5 billion over five years to launch public networks along designated “alternative fuels corridors” on the national highway system. States submitted plans to the Federal Highway Administration on August 1, 2022, for approval by September 30. Buildout is slated to begin in spring 2023. This means that you’ll start to see more public chargers at gas stations, convenience stores, and fast-food chains along highways across the country.
Explore residential and commercial charging options
Enel X Way is a global leader in public charging infrastructure, with a network of more than 380,000 charging stations across more than 31 countries. Our experience and capabilities will help achieve the goal of providing smart charging infrastructure and services throughout the United States.
If you drive a Tesla and want to learn more about the costs between a public charging station and a home charging station, you can read our breakdown of Tesla charging station costs.
To find out everything you need to know about at-home EV charging, check out our blog or read about our JuiceBox rapid charging stations here.