ECOtality Blink charging station for electric & plug-in carsEnlarge Photo
"Needs must when the devil drives"
The phrase dates back to the 1500s, but the meaning is still the same--presented with an unfortunate scenario you're sometimes forced to choose a less than ideal solution.
[UPDATE: After a fascinating set of back-and-forth e-mails with the communications staff at Ecotality, which operates the Blink network of electric-car charging stations, that company requested in stern language that Green Car Reports add the following statement to this article:
There are in fact no access fees to charge at any Blink DC Fast Charger, nor have there ever been. The $20 charge mentioned below was speculation by another news source.
That news source is in fact Fox Phoenix, the local television station that is quite clearly sourced below.. Ecotality refused to discuss any contact it may have had with the station that aired the incorrect report in the first place]
One such situation might be getting caught with low charge between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, in an electric car--and having to pay $20 for a full charge on the Blink fast-charger at a Casa Grande gas station (via Fox).
The station had the charging points installed recently, and it's the first place on the route to get a Blink fast charger.
On the one hand, the station's placement is ideal--roughly half way between Arizona's two largest cities, a journey of over 110 miles and therefore beyond the safe range of many electric vehicles.
But on the other--the "needs must" scenario--$10 for 15 minutes or $20 for a typical 80-100 percent charge is quite a lot of money.
In a Nissan Leaf, 80 percent is around 16-17 kilowatt-hours. At normal Arizona electricity prices, 11.08 cents/kWh (second link, Excel spreadsheet), the same charge would cost you less than $2.
That's a worst-case scenario, of course. If you leave Phoenix you may still have 50-60 percent charge remaining when you plug in, so your charge might be nearer the $10 mark.
You'd not be paying outright as much then, but that's still some mark-up over the average price of electricity in the state. Perhaps the option of a burrito or pizza at one of the accompanying restaurants will be worth the extra--at least you won't have to peruse the gas station's selection of gifts while you wait for a charge.
And it's undoubtedly great news that there's a fast charger there at all--it'll make life a whole lot easier for electric vehicle drivers wanting to go that little bit further.
But it'll cost ya. "Needs must", as they say...
[Hat tip: Brian Henderson]