Should Charging Networks Assess Post-Charging Occupancy Fees?

By · July 15, 2015

Chevy Volt plugged into a Blink station

Starting next Monday, it will cost nearly $5 an hour for staying connected to a public Blink charger, after your car is fully charged.

Blink Network, the second largest network of electric car charging stations, will assess a fee of $0.08 a minute, when an electric car remains in an EV charging spot after the vehicle is fully charged. The “charger occupancy” fee will begin on Monday, July 20. Blink notified its subscribers of the new policy in an email sent earlier this week, but did not issue a press release on the matter.

A Blink customer representative confirmed to PluginCars.com that the fee is being applied across the entire network on all Level 2 chargers. There is no limit to the total fee, which stops only when the connector is removed. The $0.08 a minute fee equates to $4.80 an hour, or $115.20 per day. While Blink is considering waiving the occupancy fee in certain locations, such as airports, there are no exceptions at this point.

The fee for Level 2 charging at a Blink station varies by state, ranging from $0.39 to $0.79 per kilowatt-hour. At $0.49 per kWh, a full charge from halfway to completely full on a Nissan LEAF, for example, would cost about $5.00, and take approximately two hours. That cost would nearly double if you left your LEAF plugged in for an additional hour, after a 15-minute grace period.

CarCharging Group purchased the Blink Network in October 2013.

Harsh Penalty for Blocking a Space

The Blink email explained that the network is implementing the new policy because “we have heard from many EV drivers about how frustrating it is when an EV remains plugged in to the charger after it has completed charging and blocks other electric cars from charging.”

Blink encouraged users to ensure that a user’s online account options are properly set, so that drivers would be notified by email or text when a charging session was complete. The Charger Occupancy fee, when applied, would begin when a car that is no longer charging remains connected to the station for more than 15 minutes.

EV charging etiquette is informal, and unfortunately, not honored by every owner of an electric car or plug-in hybrid. As the EV market expands beyond a tight community of early adopters, the likelihood of these two cardinal rules being broken will increase:

  • Only charge when necessary
  • Move on promptly after your car is charged

See our article on Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette.

In addition to notification tools provided by Blink Network, there are other apps—most notably PlugShare—that provide notifications, as well as ways for EV drivers to contact each other (so a driver needing a charge can request that another EV owner clear the space if additional charging is not needed). Low-tech solutions include placing a note on the windshield.

However, Blink is the first charging network to use a financial penalty to discourage electric car drivers from occupying charging locations after a charge is complete.

Comments

· · 2 years ago

Update: Blink sent out this note to subscribers today:

A few days ago, we announced that we would be implementing post charging occupancy fees on Blink-owned Level 2 charging stations. As a result, we received a great deal of feedback, both positive and negative. While we understand that not everyone will be supportive of the new policy, we do understand that the new fees may not be practical at all locations. Therefore, in order to review the charger locations more carefully, we have chosen to delay the implementation of the new charger occupancy fees.

In the meantime, please allow us to reiterate and clarify that the new charger occupancy fee will not be applied at all Blink EV charging stations. The policy will only be applied to certain Level 2 charging stations and as noted above, the policy may vary by location. Once implemented, the charger occupancy fee for each charging station will be displayed on the charging station details on the Blink Network map and Blink mobile app, as well as the station's touchscreen.

· · 2 years ago

$.08/minute starting immediately seems seriously over-aggressive. Given the fact that their network notifies you by text or email (or both) and these commonly have small delays, plus it might take one a moment to get out of a building and go unplug/move the car, it seems like there should be a grace period, perhaps 5 to 10 minutes.

I have the text-and-email stuff disabled because I have a rebranded (manufacturer-supplied) Blink charger in my garage, and with text messages enabled, it tells me to unplug myself every hour. They need to split this up according to private vs public and perhaps also policy-specific (different text options for "unplug within 2 minutes" vs "unplug within 15 minutes" chargers, for instance, assuming they were to implement such thing).

· · 2 years ago

Personally I like the occupancy fee. The 15 minute grace period seems fair.

Having spots used as "private parking" by a fully charged vehicle is even MORE irritating than being ICE'd.

All the best, James

· · 2 years ago

@Chris T. -
Somewhat hidden in the article, is this comment: "after a 15-minute grace period". So there is a 15-minute grace period to address the concerns you mention.

I don't know that this policy would have the intended effect around here. Our public EVSEs are rarely blocked by an EV that has finished charging; they are almost always ICE'd. NYS doesn't have strict laws for ticketing or towing offending ICE vehicles - so it is up to the property managers. You can probably guess how willing they are to ticket/tow their customers. The most I've seen is a courtesy note left on the windshield.

I guess the point is moot anyway since years ago all of the Blink EVSEs in the county were torn out and replaced with ChargePoint. The Blinks rarely worked, but the ChargePoints have been nearly flawless.

· · 2 years ago

i Believe there grace period should be flexible, i mean whats the point of making it an issue!!! life should be easy and simple, why complicate it so that you have to count the minutes!

· · 2 years ago

I strongly support occupancy fees as long as the system is designed correctly.

Blink L3s in my experience have serious issues with text notifications. They come as HTML packets that do not display correctly in my iPhone 6. Even worse, I invariably get a notification that charging is done only a few minutes after the session begins.

The L3s also fail to provide a timer. This is a huge issue whenever my own timer fails. It is especially bad with NCTC because the I have to cut off the session way before the limit. If I accidentally cut it off over the limit then I get a full session fee PLUS my session is cut off! I would like government weights and measures departments to intercede here since Blink only sends corporate speak and let's the problem continue stressing users unnecessarily.

Another problem is the price. Occupancy fees should be far less than or equal to charging fees, or should start very small and gradually increase over hours and days. Even a small occupancy fee it seems would be a substantial deterrent to most abusers.

· · 2 years ago

Oh,
Occupancy should not be considered a serious infraction, because many people need to stay at work for much longer.

It should be charged at a level that allows additional stations to be installed.

And even bigger than that, stations should be reservable. People do not share their garages at home for a reason. They need the space to be available every time they need it. Charges should begin at the beginning of the reserved period and end when the reservation is canceled or the car is removed.

An advanced feature would allow a 2nd parking space to use the charger and cover any charges until the reserved client arrives.

And even simpler, apps should show the current status of every station visually and filter able. You should not have to sit in your car clicking on apps to find out if a station is unavailable before you drive to it.

· · 2 years ago

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· · 39 weeks ago

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· · 22 weeks ago

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