How to Charge for Charging



Toronto electricians need to install a lot of electric vehicle charging stations because city drivers are really starting to adopt electric vehicles. Of course, installing an EV charging station in a Toronto condo is a little different than installing one in a home, but the bigger difference comes with payment. If you drive an electric vehicle and live in a house, you pay your utility bill and there’s no problem. If you live in a condo, or want to use a public charging station, who foots the electricity bill?

This issue of charging payment became heated in Ottawa, recently, when Mike Nemat was told that he was forbidden to charge his EV in the condo parking garage, despite his claim that the car only used approximately $1 to charge overnight. He was, however, allowed to plug in a block heater, which would use a comparable amount of energy.
Read the entire CBC story about the controversy here.

Some people consider this situation of who to charge for charging to be a reason not to buy or accommodate electric vehicles, but there are many simple solutions!

Again, we’re Toronto electricians, so if anyone has seen the different ways people adjust to changes in city energy usage, it’s us!

To start, lets look at a few examples of places where charging to charge an EV might be appropriate:

  • Public Parking Lots
  • Service Stations (not just for gas, anymore!)
  • Condominiums
  • Duplexes
  • Townhome complexes (where the residents decide to share a charger)
  • University/College Campuses

In each of these places, someone has to pay for the electricity, so one of the ways that these locations might be more willing to install an EV charger would be if they can be sure that their energy bill won’t increase. It really is a smaller issue than many people make it out to be.

Ways to charge for EV charging

1. Fee Per Charge:
In a public parking lot, charging your battery while you park is both convenient and completely logical. To offset the electricity you’re using, the lot can require that certain spots (with an EV charger) cost more to park in. For EV owners, this cost will still be much lower than filling your tank with gas and will add considerable value to your time parking.

2. Hourly Fee Per Charge (based on kWh rates):
Public charging locations where people are plugging in, charging, and then leaving need an easy way to keep track of costs and bill for the energy. Think of the way that you pay to vacuum your car at a service station. You put in a certain amount of money and the vacuum turns on for a certain amount of time. It is simple to figure out exactly how much energy a charger uses for a period of time and a station could charge based on these amounts.

3. Monthly or Yearly Membership Fees:
If you park in the same place on a regular basis, your lot might consider installing EV chargers and asking EV owners to pay a membership fee to park and charge their car in these designated stalls.

4. Charge for the Amount of Energy Used (with a meter):
It is surprisingly straightforward to bill someone for the energy they’ve used to charge their electric vehicle. You’ll need to install a meter and simply track what energy is used. In our first electric vehicle installation in a Toronto condo, this is what we recommended. A meter system works great for condos, or any shared charging situation. The beauty of this system is that it gives an EV owner the option to only charge during non-peak hours (according to the Ontario Time of Use rates) and save money.

If you’re wondering how much it costs to charge an electric vehicle, download our FREE handbook “Getting to Know Electric Vehicles”.

Lots of charging locations have worked out their EV energy billing and put solutions in place that work for both the electricity provider and the EV owner.

Examples of successful charging for EV charging:

  • Hydro-QuĂ©bec and it’s private partners launched The Electric Circuit, which is a public charging network, in 2011. Someone charging their EV pays a fee of $2.50 per charge and then heads on their way!1
  • UCLA adopted a pay to park and charge format at $2/hr, but included a Clean Fuel Permit option ($54/month) which lets students park at an EV charging station for four hours and only pay for the battery charge. This saves students paying for both parking and charging.2
  • In the US, the Casa Grande gas station is a halfway point between Phoenix and Tucson on the Interstate 10. They’ve installed a Rapid Charger that will cost an EV owner $10 for a 15 minute charge or $20 for a full charge. For EV owners, this cost seems a little high, but if you’re in a hurry, a quick charge is worth it (and is still cheaper than a tank of gas).
  • In Toronto, some parking lots are including an EV battery charge as a complimentary service for their customers. They charge the regular price for parking, but will let you plug in as their way of saying, “We like electric vehicles!” EV friendly parking lots in Toronto include Evergreen Brickworks (550 Bayview Ave.), Leggat Chevrolet, Royal Bank Plaza North Tower, and Sheraton Centre (123 Queen St. West).

For those who are considering installing an EV charger in Toronto or anywhere else, how to charge your users for car charging shouldn’t stop you. As always, you’re more than welcome to contact us if you have any questions.

If you’re looking for a Toronto electrician to do the job, contact us for that too!

1 Electric Vehicles – Quebec