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Myth of the 'all in one' charge network card

Discussion in 'Charging Standards and Infrastructure' started by RubberToe, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. RubberToe

    RubberToe Supporting the greater good

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    You all probably already know this, but to understand why essentially any EV other than a Tesla will never work for most people, just read the post below...

    I charge my Soul EV at my condo. We have 120v charging at work, and I sometimes plug in all day there, pick up 32 miles or so. Nice perk. The public parking lot down the street has 2 Level 2 chargers, right next to our favorite coffee shop, so I have charged there a few times, picking up 12 miles or so during coffee. When I purchased the car, I resigned myself to the fact that it was going to be an "LA County" car. It will get me anywhere that I want to go, then back home, all on the 90+ miles I get on a full charge.

    I have never used the Chademo charge port in the 3 months I have owned the car. While down in Hermosa Beach the other day, I had about 15 minutes to kill before a dentists appointment. I knew there was a Chademo station at the top of the parking garage, so I thought I would go and check it out. Wasn't driving the EV at the time, so no charging possible in any case. They had 2 Chademo and 1 Level 2 charger up there. Run by NRG eVgo. When I got home I looked at their website to see if I wanted to sign up, basically just for the novelty of seeing how fast the charger would work with the Soul EV. Forget the $14.95 per month membership, I would probably use the Chademo charger twice per year. The "guest" rate I believe was $12 per hour, plus a $4.95 single use fee. Yikes. Seemed kind of steep, but I understand money needs to be made, so whatever.

    So KIA sends me a "ChargeUp" card in the mail. I open it up, and there is a credit card like card with a unique number in the upper left on the back. The attached letter states that the card will allow access to the following networks, using that single card: AeroVironment, Blink, CarCharging, Greenlots, NRGeVgo). Followed by a website where you need to go to register the card for use. I'm thinking, great, maybe I go register this card, have access to all these chargers, then I go use the NRG eVgo charger in Hermosa Beach sometime, even if I do have to pay the outrageous fee that one time. Then I go to the kiachargeup.greenlots.com website.

    Very slick, and well done. So far so good. It turns out that my KIA "ChargeUp" card, is really an "EZ Charge" card, and on the back there is the EZ Charge logo in the lower left. The website requires you to register your card, all your personal information, and then brings you to the following page:

    EZCharge.jpg

    The first thing I notice is that, after entering my location, my choice of providers has been reduced from 5 down to 3. No problem, then I check out the next steps. You have to join each network, and register your EZ Charge card upon signing up with that network. But presumably some of my data has been "pre-populated" when I go there, to make this easier. This has to be done for each network, and note that each network requires you to provide your credit card number for charging fees. For step #4, I'm not sure what the "Kia's No Charge to Charge" program is, have never heard of it until this moment, but from the comment it looks like it is a subset of all available stations. Ok, no problem, lets head off to Blink to get the first one out of the way...

    Get to the Blink website after following the link, first question is whether I want to register as a member, or just sign up for a single use of a charger. I figure I must sign up as a member. So I go sign up, completing all the required information (none of which was pre-populated BTW), and the last questions is if I need a Blink "InCharge" card, or whether I already have one. There are no other choices. This leaves me wondering where it is that I'm supposed to check the box that says that I want to register my "EZ Charge" card from KIA? So I start looking through the Blink website looking for anything EZ Charge related. After 20 minutes of searching, I find my answer buried at the end of the FAQ:

    Blink.jpg

    When I follow the link to go back to the "EZ-Charge Website", yes, you guessed it, I'm right back to the main starting page that I began at. Recursion 101, Yay!

    The next step apparently will be to try and figure out exactly why when I registered at Blink, they didn't ever ask me about my EZ Charge card. Or I call the people at EZ Charge and see if they might have an idea what is going on. The whole thing smacked of something that was put together very quickly, and while the initial EZ Charge website seemed very straight forward, after that the process completely broke down. And note that this was only the first of 3 sites that I needed to get through to "simplify" my charging experience. Knowing that any call to a call center would require a 30 minute wait, and the end result undoubtedly being the person having no idea what I was even talking about, I decided that my journey down the path of "simplified charging" had come to an abrupt end. Only think remaining is to cancel my Blink account, and then cancel my EZ Charge registration. Having said that, I will no doubt be receiving promotional e-mail's with numerous "special offers" and other inanities from them and their various "partners" for the foreseeable future.

    Lesson Learned: There is no "simplified" charge card that replaces all the individual networks charge cards. And public charging, especially DC fast charging, is pretty expensive.

    The people who "thought through" the Tesla Supercharger network and are deploying it are the only ones who know what they are doing. I'll bet you they all go out after work on Fridays, sit around a computer display drinking heavily, checking out these competitors goofy websites and schemes, and all end up laughing so hard that the inguinal herina surgeons in the Bay Area must be pulling 3 shifts 7 days a week.

    Things like this just reinforce my certain knowledge that Tesla will be the last car maker standing. Nobody else knows what they are doing. Nobody thinks it through. Nobody is selling a 200 mile range car 3 years after Tesla developed the Model S. All I can think about anymore is looking forward to the day that Tesla finally starts taking reservations for the Model 3. I will stay up very late, drink the best bottle of wine that I have available (possibly 2), and be the first person to register for a Signature Tesla Model 3. It will be the greatest day of my entire life. I am assuming of course that Tesla will not require me to register for the EZ Charge network...

    RT
     
  2. ggr

    ggr Roadster R80 537, SigS P85 29

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    There is nowhere to sign up for supercharging on the Tesla web site either! ;-)
     
  3. Zythryn

    Zythryn MS 70D, MX 90D

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    This is a regional issue.
    Even if it were that bad everywhere, it only affects those using public charging, which is not all EV owners.

    EVs will catch on either way. Yes, they will catch on faster with an easier to use public charging network.

    And yes, I agree Tesla's setup is the best:wink:
     
  4. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Doubtful. :)
     
  5. Zarwin

    Zarwin Member

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    F5_roto.jpg
     
  6. RandyS

    RandyS Fan of Elon

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    The way I look at it is....

    If Nissan LEAFs and Kia Soul EVs sold in good numbers for $100K+, then Nissan and Kia would have more money to invest in a DC Fast charge network....And if Tesla Model S cars were priced at $30K or $35K like the LEAF or Soul EV, then the Supercharger network probably wouldn't be what it is today....Money...It makes all business models work better :)
     
  7. SabrToothSqrl

    SabrToothSqrl Active Member

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    I agree. Without the Super Charger network, I'd never have gotten a Model S.
    That's ONE of the huge things every other EV maker is missing (and about 10,000 other things).

    Without this network of fast FREE charging in place, you're EV is as useful.. as ... well, an EV with a dead battery.
     
  8. jvonbokel

    jvonbokel John VonBokel

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    +1 Funny, Insightful
     
  9. Danal

    Danal electricmotorglider.com

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    I have owned a Leaf for 3 years prior to getting my Tesla. I'm in the Dallas, TX area. I have 3 or 4 charge cards in the Leaf... I don't use them much (almost never), and I've dropped out of a couple of other 'networks' when they wanted monthly fees.

    I do realize that the business case is very tough from the charge providers side... but that doesn't make it any easier from my side.

    Lets talk about cost for a moment, separate from fragmented payment systems: None of these guys are giving me what I want. That being a simple to use, widespread charger, that bills me something that my "back of the envelope" math would tell me is competitive with my other choices, namely ICE or home charging. I do expect them to make a profit... but I don't expect things like purchasing a single charge for my Leaf from eVgo being about 2.5 to 3 times the cost per mile of equivalent gas for a Nissan Versa. Especially when I know the MPGe for the Leaf is about 3 times better than the Versa. Given that, eVgo is really charging about 8x to 9x equivalent ICE fuel.

    2x or 3x for a new tech, I could get that... 9x? No thanks.

    Back to payment systems instead of cost: Does anyone know why there are zero public chargers that simply take a credit card swipe?
     
  10. RubberToe

    RubberToe Supporting the greater good

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    Yo Elon, if you happen to be perusing TMC on your lunch break, could you please pencil me in for Model 3 Sig #1 please? To be honest, I probably don't warrant one of the Founders Series, so Sig #1 would be fine with me. Although I was kicked to the curb by the SpaceX VP of Engineering back when I applied for a job there in 2009, but I'm totally over that now :tongue:

    That should take care of it...

    RT
     
  11. Takumi

    Takumi Member

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    Came to these conclusions as well. Nissan's "No-charge-to-charge" program should be classified as false advertising. It's a no-go in Chicago area. Level 2 is a joke (Only 1st hour is free and level 3 won't work with EZ-Charge card.)

    Patiently waiting for Model ≡ & access to SpC!
     
  12. RubberToe

    RubberToe Supporting the greater good

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    Looks like this saga may turn into an ongoing thing...

    I sent an e-mail to Blink asking for instructions on how to cancel my newly created account. Here is the response I received:

    Blink Cancel.jpg

    Well, the good news appears to be that they *can* cancel my account. I hadn't even considered the possibility that my newly created account would be permanent and uncancellable. I guess there is something to be said for reading the fine print prior to checking the *I understand the terms* box, eh? I figured that before I cancelled, I would at least ask them where on their website I would need to go to register my EZ Charge card, per the instructions on their website. Not wanting to write off the hours spent in pursuit of the twice yearly NRG eVgo convenience charge in Hermosa Beach, I'm thinking it may still be possible to make this whole thing happen. I was fully caffeinated, that always makes things appear better than they typically are:

    Blink Register.jpg

    I called the 888 customer support number and found out that I was 3rd in line for technical support. I can highly recommend the support lines background music. For the ~25 minutes I was on, I received updates about every 5 minutes informing me about what my position in the queue was. Also, the music was clear as a bell. BTW, whats with those automated systems that play that scratchy and distorted music? How could that even happen, this is 2015? It's like they went to a landfill in New Jersey and dug down 100 feet to unearth all the 1980's answering machine tapes and repurposed them into the calling center systems they sell to the companies in India that handle the 888 calls...

    So I finally get to the coveted "next in line" spot. Finally party time. I organize all my information so that I can ask the simplest yet pointed question that the caller may actually be able to answer, on the off chance that I overlooked something obvious in the 437 web pages I looked through. Me: "I just signed up and created a Blink account. Where on your website would I need to go to register my EZ Charge card per your website instructions to do so?". I finally get through and get the following automated message: "Your call cannot be answered at this time. Please leave your Blink Account number and a phone number where you can be reached at a later time".

    Seriously :eek:

    RT
     
  13. Galve2000

    Galve2000 Member

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    Before I got my chargepoint card I was using my debit card that had "blink" capability -- a basic NFC capability -- you can use some credit and debit cards to activate these EVSEs. its not a "swipe" per se, but it will work.
     
  14. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    I hate to nitpick, but there totally is:

    Tesla Gear Shop Enable Supercharging

    (I'm a liar. I love to nitpick.)
     
  15. Danal

    Danal electricmotorglider.com

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    #15 Danal, Mar 11, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
    Hmmm... is it actually the payment? Or is it just a validation card, and the credit card back on your master account is the payment? Really, the key question is: Can ANYONE activate the charger and get electrons, WITHOUT signing up at a web site first?

    Very very interesting!
     
  16. RandyS

    RandyS Fan of Elon

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    I would say the main reason why they don't accept credit card swipes is because it would take an already shaky revenue model and make it just that much worse...A transaction fee off the top and a percentage. That's why ChargePoint and others put $25 on your account from your card and work down from that. Why would they want to pay that transaction fee each and every time you "swiped"?

    Accepting Credit Cards: A Guide for Small Business

    Transaction fees (anywhere between 0.5 percent and 5 percent per processed transaction, plus 20 cents to 30 cents for each transaction made)
     
  17. bluenation

    bluenation Member

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    i like OP's writing style :D keep up the humor

    and i agree: all other fast charges are total bullcock. the SpC is the one trump card that convinces me that, as of 2015, no EV is acceptable other than a tesla. maybe it will change in 2020, perhaps a rebellious Samsung or chinese start up? ah who am i kidding....
     
  18. Danal

    Danal electricmotorglider.com

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    #18 Danal, Mar 11, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2015
    Nope. Three problems with the idea that fees stop credit cards at point-of-use with EV chargers:

    1) Small business fees are a lot higher than big business fees. And a charge network is a big business.

    2) Every gas station accepts cards. So my "8x to 9x" math is even worse, in that the ICE/Gas prices have the CC fees already accounted.

    But the real flaw...

    3) Every charge network I have is paid by a credit card that I entered on the web site. So they are catching CC fees already. In fact, "card present" transactions (where the magstripe or chip is read) normally result in less fee than transactions where the card is typed in. Including web. So if fees are the driver, then swipe/chip at point-of-sale would be a reduction, not an increase. Even if I'm wrong about "Card Present", the fees are at least level.

    :)
     
  19. mikeash

    mikeash Active Member

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    As I understand it, gas stations make little profit from selling gas, and mostly make their money by getting people inside to buy snacks and drinks, or getting people to patronize the associated garage. It's tough to find a gas station that only sells gas.

    Another wrinkle is that credit card fees are much higher (proportionally) for smaller transactions. If you buy $30 of gasoline, the processing fee might be 2% of that purchase. If you buy 30 cents of electricity, the processing fee could easily be 100% or more (i.e. they lose money just by letting you pay!) depending on the precise terms of their account. I believe this is starting to change, but slowly. That's why so many places with small transactions, not only these charging networks but also services like EZPass, will make you fill up your account in one big credit card transaction, then charge that account for each small transaction.

    Given that, I wonder if they could move to a parking meter model, where you just stuff the thing with quarters. That would be hilarious and ridiculous, but maybe practical too....
     
  20. KJD

    KJD Member

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    Randy I am sure what you are saying accurate, but there must be something else going on here.

    For example if I can buy a coke out of a vending machine with apple pay, surly I should be able to do the same for buying electricity from a charge station. Coke will have 100,000 of these vending machines in service by the end of the year.

    100,000 Coke Vending Machines in North America Will Accept Apple Pay by Year End: The Coca-Cola Company
     

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