Tesla Motors, with the unveiling of the Supercharger Network, may have opened a can of worms, offering free electric vehicle charging for life.
Take a look around the world, and you’ll find government incentives encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles, arguably the cleanest vehicles available. Free electric vehicle charging, convenient parking, access to the HOV lanes, and tax incentive are very appealing to many drivers.
Of course, the statement in the first paragraph applies only to Tesla Model S with the 60kWh or 85kWh battery packs. One estimate puts the cost of running a Tesla Model S on Supercharger power alone for 100,000 miles at $5,000.
Additionally, local businesses and municipalities are offering free electric vehicle charging stations to attract customers. Of course, electricity isn’t free, and doesn’t look to become free anytime soon. The only way we could approach that is to install only solar-powered chargers, which have just the upfront and perhaps some maintenance costs, but what of the hundreds of free electric-vehicle charging stations that are connected to the grid? Considering that there aren’t all that many electric vehicles on the road today, maybe it isn’t costing that much, yet.
Sure, there are plenty of pay-to-charge services available, and according to a study done by Coulomb Technologies, electric vehicle owners are willing to pay about $1/hr, but think that $2/hr is too expensive.
Realistically speaking, the average electric vehicle charging for an hour uses 3.3kWh at a cost of 50¢, so $1 is probably about right considering equipment and convenience charges. Once more electric vehicles get on the road, free charging will start to add up, and when does the incentive become a burden? Are the days numbered? Probably so.