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.

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