Electrify America charges way too much - Chevy Bolt EV Forum
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post #1 of 54 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Electrify America charges way too much

Wife and I decided to take a trip to the Rocky Mountains a couple weeks ago. We were to drive from Des Moines to Denver, and up into the mountains, about a 680 mile trip. I was looking forward to taking the Bolt, and as we started to plan our trip, and we got to the electron cost part of it, we were dismayed to find that Electrify America (the only source of DCFC along our route) was charging nearly THREE times (approx. 38 cents per kw) my home cost (11 cents per kw Off peak).

Then, we did the calculations to compare the cost of gas in our accord, with the cost of the trip using EL Am's stations, and it was also triple ($112.00 vs $386.00.)

I got the Bolt because I'm concerned about global warming. And I'm happy with my purchase, it's a blast to drive, and it's working well for my wife driving back and forth to work (70 miles round trip). Charging at home (replaced the funky, ground fault prone VersiCharge with a JuiceBox, no problems now.)

But, I am sure looking forward to some competition forcing elec prices down.

I took the accord to the Rockies (had an amazing time..... so beautiful)

The Bolt actually is a better highway car than our old accord, quieter, more stable) if we could have afforded to take it, the trip would have been perfect. {sigh}

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and I never get to drive it
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post #2 of 54 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 12:15 PM
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680*2=1360 miles. 1360 / 3miles/kWh = 453 kWh. 453 kWh *.38 = $172. I'm having trouble getting to the $386
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post #3 of 54 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 12:37 PM
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Out of boredom and curiosity I double checked my EA Android app. Yep for Iowa and pass plus first 80% fill up= $4 membership plus 0.15 cents a minute. That means around $14 for the first charging and $10 for every 65 minutes of charging after that for the month. Unless You're driving really inefficient or charging to 100% and purposely racking up charge complete idle fees that should be the cost roughly for every 150-200 miles (again depending upon charging times and driving efficiency). Seems like a 700 mile trip should have cost around $45-$50 bucks assuming pass plus and 4 hour long sessions every 150 miles or so.
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post #4 of 54 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 12:38 PM
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Are you kidding?

So, were you planning on doing all 680 miles in a single day? In a Bolt, that's going to be pretty painful and something only for the most committed of EV enthusiasts.

Next, a DCFC charger charges your Bolt about seven times faster than your home charger, and the equipment costs about 100 times more. Plus the space it occupies needs to be leased, and it needs maintenance and support. Expecting it to cost the same as your home charger is ridiculously unrealistic. Increased competition is not going to change that.

All that said, your math seems to be off…

A 2012 Honda Accord gets about 34 mpg, so 680 miles will use 20 gallons. If we assume gas is $2.67 a gallon, that's $53.40. (I'm guessing your pricing of about double that includes the return trip.)

EA's standard pricing in your part of the USA is $0.21/minute, plus a $1.00 connection fee. Charging a Bolt from 15% to 80% takes about 48 minutes. That's about 39 kWh delivered. It'll cost $11.08, or 28.4 cents per kW/h. Let's assume you get (a fairly low) 3 miles/kWh at freeway speeds, that's 9.5 cents a mile.

Your journey is 680 miles, so that's $65, not $386.

Except that the first 50 kW of your journey was power from your home charger, not from EA. So it's actually $50.17 at EA plus $5.50 for charging at home.

If you stop overnight at somewhere with free level-2 charging, your cost drops again to $36 at EA + $5.50 for charging at home, beating the Accord.

But although it did work out to be close in this case, in general I wouldn't expect DCFC charging to necessarily be cheaper than gas, especially when gas is cheap like it is now. DCFC on a road trip is allowing you to get to your destination at all.
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post #5 of 54 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 12:48 PM
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Definitely not following your math, hopefully you are aware that using the new EA app gives you far better pricing.

A general statement however is that I hope that you understand that you pay for convenience, eating out costs more than eating at home, buying a beer at the ball park cost more than the beer in your fridge.

EA has invested substantial capital in public DCFC infrastructure, and they pay commercial demand-based electric rates for most units. Believe me, EA's DCFC operation is not yet even close to being profitable.

A more positive way to look at this is that averaged over the miles per year in your bolt your energy costs will be much lower than driving the Accord.

However, if you have the option to drive a ICE for road trips, and use the Bolt for your local travel, you can choose to be patient and wait for more DC fast charging infrastructure to roll out before using your EV for road trips.
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post #6 of 54 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by calmarkmcdougal View Post
Wife and I decided to take a trip to the Rocky Mountains a couple weeks ago. We were to drive from Des Moines to Denver, and up into the mountains, about a 680 mile trip. I was looking forward to taking the Bolt, and as we started to plan our trip, and we got to the electron cost part of it, we were dismayed to find that Electrify America (the only source of DCFC along our route) was charging nearly THREE times (approx. 38 cents per kw) my home cost (11 cents per kw Off peak).

Then, we did the calculations to compare the cost of gas in our accord, with the cost of the trip using EL Am's stations, and it was also triple ($112.00 vs $386.00.)

I got the Bolt because I'm concerned about global warming. And I'm happy with my purchase, it's a blast to drive, and it's working well for my wife driving back and forth to work (70 miles round trip). Charging at home (replaced the funky, ground fault prone VersiCharge with a JuiceBox, no problems now.)

But, I am sure looking forward to some competition forcing elec prices down.

I took the accord to the Rockies (had an amazing time..... so beautiful)

The Bolt actually is a better highway car than our old accord, quieter, more stable) if we could have afforded to take it, the trip would have been perfect. {sigh}

When I've done the math, road-tripping my Bolt costs about the same as driving a 30mpg ICE. I'm perfectly fine with paying that.

Like others have said, I start with 100% SOC, and make sure to stay at a hotel with an L2. Usually it's free. At a minimum, I stay somewhere that I can snake an extension cord out the window for a slowwwww charge with my traveling L1.

My wife would flay me alive if I insisted on much more than about 350 miles in a day. We stop for a stretch every hundred miles or so, and make one longer meal stop for an hour (with a charge), and we're good to go.
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post #7 of 54 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 02:20 PM
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The costs of installing a DCFC charger are often in the $50K range or more. Someone has to pay off that capital cost, so I'd say 3X the at-home cost of electricity is not unreasonable.
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post #8 of 54 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by calmarkmcdougal View Post
...I am sure looking forward to some competition forcing elec prices down...
I'm kind of in the opposite camp. My long distance trips are such a small percentage of my overall usage, and I'm saving so much money by charging at home, that I don't mind paying extra for DC fast charging on the road. In fact, the higher the rate the lower the probability that the charger is going to be hogged by someone who doesn't really need it. A lot of the DC fast chargers here in Vancouver are still in their "free trail" stage and they're always busy.

When I'm on the road, availability trumps cost any day of the week.
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post #9 of 54 (permalink) Old 06-22-2019, 09:46 PM
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The costs of installing a DCFC charger are often in the $50K range or more. Someone has to pay off that capital cost, so I'd say 3X the at-home cost of electricity is not unreasonable.
Then there is the issue of demand charges. This document has a pretty good explanation: https://www.northwesternenergy.com/d...andcharges.pdf

With the example $8.03/kW demand charge as an example in the document any usage of a 150 kW DCFC would result in a monthly charge of over $1200 before a single kWh of power is transferred.

It's one of the reasons why I believe that the larger public charging infrastructure is going to need lower powered DCFC in addition to ultra high speed DCFC and L2. More flexibility of faster charging with smaller demand charges lowering the costs.

As the others pointed out, the math doesn't add up. Even a 3 mi/kWh a 680 mile trip would take 225 Kwh. At 38 cents/kWh that would be about $86 one way. Of course you'd start with a full charge from home at the 11 cents, which will get you even less. 5 minutes on A Better Route Planner estimates that the trip would be $64 starting at a 90% SOC.

So color me confused. As to EA, without them the trip is not possible to take in the Bolt. So while the prices are higher, it's a miracle that it can be done at all.

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post #10 of 54 (permalink) Old 06-23-2019, 09:38 AM
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After seeing the math done by the other posters I suspect this was simply a miscalculation on the part of the original poster.


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