Charging for Charging

With the disappearance of charging your electric vehicle for free in the Netherlands last year time has come for a more mature EV charging market. One where consumers can pick a service provider with the best service and/or the lowest fee for charging. Also the disappearance of the foundation E-Laad from the charging card business has enabled some other players to enter this market and others to finally seize the market they were already in. In order to compare the various package on offer, I've made this detailed blog post and will only cover the basic charging when not at home. All providers enable you to charge at a public station in the Netherlands and the vast majority of the public stations is accessible through the OCPP.

To the kWh

As most of the providers charge you for the kWh's you take, I've used that is the central unit to compute everything against. Some providers have decided to charge for the time you are connected to the charger. I've recalculated those values towards kWh as well. Below is a simple table with a relation between kWh charged and an average range you can drive. For this I've taken a 25 kWh battery pack (a bit bigger than the Nissan Leaf) and driving range of 100 km on a full battery (a more conservative range than Nissan specifies).

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Note that the average driver in the Netherlands drives about 12.000 km a year, a number that is slowly dropping year after year. With these statistics that would put people in the 300 kWh range.

The Providers

For the charging service providers I've used the biggest here in the Netherlands; Nuon, Essent, The New Motion and ANWB. The other utility company, Eneco, made an announcement their pricing would be up in december last year, but so far the site shows nothing yet. The table below shows the various subscription models available. Normal charging is just allowing access to the normal public chargers. Quick charging allows access to all normal chargers, but also to the 40+ quick charging stations in the Netherlands. The flat fee is the monthly subscription charged by some of the providers, the last column lists the price you pay per kWh.

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Time to charge…

At the moment The New Motion (TNM) and ANWB use a fee that is based on time instead of kWh as the others do. Most of the others are utility companies that are already used to charge people per kWh used in their household, so it makes sense for them to use that same metric here. The New Motion feel strongly that their time based system is more fair for consumers. I'd say that time is usually a concept better understood by most people that the kWh is, so from that perspective a time based metric would prove a better understanding of the pricing mechanism. In order to compare the various systems I've used the below conversion to get from the price per hour to a price per kWh:

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The power is rated at 3.68 kWh, confirmed by The New Motion and their brochure of the Lolo. In practice it would be interesting to see what the actual power output of the various meters will be, also for the other providers and see if everything converted to time will yield different results.

Taking the various schemes and prices into account over a range from 0 to 500 kWh, the following (not surprising) graph turns up. Most of the pricing schemes are very similar, the only one standing out is the Nuon - Business package. It appears a package that is only attractive if you really drive a lot of miles in your EV. With EV drivers being a minority at the moment and the people driving such distances also, I'm not sure how much of a market there is for that subscription.

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The table from this graph in full:

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Conclusion

If you are a heavy user of your electric vehicle and really drive a lot; the Nuon - Business subscription is your deal. For all the others, it is currently a matter of taste, preference of the service of one or the other provider or simply because you already get the power at your house from them. For the future I'd like to find out the actual power that you can draw from the various stations; if there is a difference than the pricing per kWh versus the pricing per hour can create a difference.

Electric Vehicle - TCO Analysis Pt. 1

When looking if an electric vehicle is the right type of car for you and your specific needs, one has to consider the total cost of ownership of the vehicle. The total cost of ownership, or TCO for short, represents all the costs associated with the ownership of a given vehicle. The obvious costs are the purchase price and the costs for the electricity. The less obvious costs are the depreciation costs, maintenance, road tax and potential subsidies.


The first cost you make on a vehicle: the purchase - Link


Purchase costs

Currently the purchase price of an electric vehicle is higher than a comparable counterpart with an ICE in it. The main reasons for this currently are, but are not limited to, the amount of electric vehicles being produced and the high costs involved with the production of batteries. If the number of produced electric vehicles would equal the amount of produced conventional cars more, prices of the electric vehicle will go down. Also, at the current state of technology, the battery is a costly item in the electric vehicle. When more companies are involved and more batteries will be produced, the prices for batteries are expected to go down as well. The price of an electric vehicle is the first item in the list for the TCO.


Filling up the tank, or the battery: more costs - Link


Fuel / Electricity costs

You can't go anywhere with a vehicle if you don't fill it up, for an electric vehicle this means charging it up by plugging it in. It makes sense to take the price of this charging and the price of the electricity used into account, especially when you want to make a fair comparison with for example a conventional car. The price you have to take into account strongly depends on the source that is used. If you plug it in in your garage and slow charge it from the wall socket, you pay the price the electricity company charges you. If you go to a fast charger, a bit higher rate may be applicable, unless the fast charge is offered as a service at for example a restaurant. Also, some people have the option to charge up their vehicle with the solar panels they have on their roof, making their electricity 'free'. Even though the electricity is considered 'free', there obviously are costs involved with installing and maintaining the solar panels.


Depreciation costs, where losing value is considered a cost - Link


Depreciation costs

Depreciation is the pehenomena in finance which leads to goods losing their value over time. If you purchase something new for 100 Euros and it will last for 10 years (economic life span), after 2 years it will have a depreciated value remaining of 80 Euros. For electric vehicles the depreciation value is still a matter of debate. For some the electric vehicle has an economic life span of 10 years or longer, for others the life span is assumed a lot shorter. The main reasoning supporting a shorter economic life span would be the expected life of the battery. Based on consumer experiences with mobile phones and laptops, batteries in general have an expected life span of 1 to 3 years. During this period the battery life of your phone or laptop changes noticeably. For the phone and laptop industry this leads to renewed sales and since those devices are relatively cheap, the system works. For electric vehicles, with a much bigger price tag (still), this would be rather inconvenient if the battery would only last 3 years and you would have to purchase a new vehicle again. If you want to take depreciation into account, carefully asses and decide on what you expect of the life span of the vehicle and the battery. In case of for example the Chevrolet Volt, you can also use their warranty for the battery as a starting point - 100.000 miles or 8 years, whichever comes first. For my sample TCO analysis I'll use the warranty/claim from GM of 100.000 miles or 8 years and expect no more from the battery.


In the next blog post I’ll continue with the TCO analysis and follow up with an example.