Just want to verify how Chargepoint (free) chargers work, and cards/membership required

Just want to verify how Chargepoint (free) chargers work, and cards/membership required

Hi all --

Just want to ask those who use Chargepoint charging network how exactly it works, as my MS purchase will be quite dependent on it.

I understand that you buy a free membership card from Chargepoint ($5), which then unlocks any free charging stations' Level 2 adapters. Otherwise, there are no membership fees or other charges, is that correct? I do not plan to use many $/hr Chargepoint stations, so the free access membership would be the one I would choose (as opposed to the $25 credit included card). Is this all correct by your experience?

One reason I ask is that I tried unlocking a Chargepoint station the other day just using my Amex that has RFID in it, and it only released the Level 1 plug door. So I'm guessing that they restrict Level 2 to full cardholders only.


bfranks273 | 25. August 2013

Nope. Only the charge Point card unlocks it. And some may well charge you a fee for using it, though some are free. Get the ChargePoint App and look around your area map and see what the status of each one is. Also get PugShare app for a wider view of chargers including personal ones. Seems to be the broadest view (including Chargepoint spots).

Dcp9142 | 25. August 2013

Chargepoint may have a nominal charge for their card. You can set your account with them to only use free chargers, or you can also use paid ones. At work the charge point charges me $1 per hour of charge, at 19 miles range per hour. The City of Sacramento garages have free Chargepoints that I often use. Sacramento county Chargepoints are free.

The Chargepoint app can show you locations, fees (if any) and availability of chargers, also your usage history and account info.

Walgreens charges an exorbitant $2 per hour to use their Chargepoint. Fees are set by the entity who owns the charger, and some of them are pretty high. Since its always by the hour, cars that charge at 3.3 kWH get half as much electricity for he same price as those with 6.6 or 7.2 kWh capability. At Walgreens it's like $6 a gallon gasoline!

In the same shopping center as the Folsom supercharger is a $2/hr Chargepoint. | 25. August 2013

You should also check out the other charging networks in your area--most of them have a free membership option. In NorCal, I have ChargePoint and Blink.


tes-s | 26. August 2013

I paid the $25 and got two cards, and $25 worth of charging. I plan on using free Chargepoint chargers, but for that one time I need a pay one I figured it would be nice to have a balance - and the $25 was not that big a deal.

I used it for the first time yesterday. Worked great - just held my card up, and then plugged in. I got a text when the car was charged, and another when I unplugged it.

NYC Realtor | 26. August 2013

You need to go online and order their card, it will come in the mail after a couple of days.

I have used it and it works great. But it's not free, it costs $2.95 /hour and not more than $24 for 24 hours.

You need to move the car when somebody else wants to charge if you are done charging.

If you can find your own outlet or pay the garage to install an outlet you will save a lot if time and money in the long run.

jbunn | 26. August 2013

NYC Realtor,

Actually, that's not true. ChargePoint pricing varies. The ChargePoint across the street from my apartment is free. I've also seen CP's charged at $1.50/hr and $0.54/kWh.

This means that ChargePoints can be free, billed at varying rates by the hour, or billed by varying rates by power usage. It's a flexible system. The ChargePoint application shows you the stations, restrictions, prices, and status.

To the OP, you really want a car with a credit balance so you can use the station without having to go through the credit card authorization process each time.

NYC Realtor | 26. August 2013

Good to know that it can be free. How do they make money if free? If they put up a free one at my apartment there would be a line around the block to charge... It's already hard to get a spot now at $2.95/hr

jbunn | 26. August 2013

In the case of the one where I live, it's part of a city initiative for EV promotion. I pay the parking garage $7.00 for up to 24 hours on the weekend. I drop the car off about 10 PM at night, and pick her up first thing in the morning before other folks come. That way I'm not hanging on the charger any more than needed.

Here in San Francisco we also have rules that help require condos and apartments to install EV charging sockets.

soma | 26. August 2013

"...Here in San Francisco we also have rules that help require condos and apartments to install EV charging sockets..."

Well, to be accurate, it's that there are rules that require HOAs *not* to create rules that hinder EV charging. You still have to pay for the cost of installation, which can be thousands of $...

Brian H | 27. August 2013

Sometimes the "host" of the Chargepoint site pays the charges, so it's free to use. Sometimes not.

NYC Realtor | 27. August 2013

@jbunn: City Initiative for EV promotion! That sounds awesome. I need to bring that to the attention of our politicians here in NYC, so far an exceptionally EV-hostile place for residents.

One friend here has to charge his MS with a cable across the sidewalk from his apartment window.

hamer | 28. November 2013

This is an old thread, but I volkerized and could not really find the answer, so rather than starting a new thread...

I got a couple of Chargepoint cards, pretty much just to have some insurance, so that if I'm on the road, and I need to charge at a Chargepoint charger, I have the cards, with $25 on them.

A library near here has "free" Chargepoint chargers, and so I went to try things out. I was not required to wave the card at it; I just took the plug, attached my J7221 adapter to it, plugged it in. The decal on the charger had instructions about waving the card at it but it was apparently unnecessary.

Is that the way they work? If it is free you don't need the cards at all; you can just use it?


SCCRENDO | 28. November 2013

You should also get a blink card. With a membership which is free you can charge for $1 per hr as compared to $2 per hr without the membership.

ir | 28. November 2013

Every ChargePoint station that I used required a swipe to release the plug from the holder. This included free ones in parking garages where the cost was included in the parking fee. Who knows, maybe yours is special?

logicalthinker | 28. November 2013

@hamer, sometimes the j1772 plug has not been seated back properly in its holder, allowing the next user to take it. Or the charge station plug holder may be damaged. However, in order to start the actual flow of electricity, you need to briefly place your chargepoint card within a few inches of the station.

N.B. one night fairly late, I needed to charge but didn't have my card with me. So the charger was locked ("water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink," was all I could think).

I was about to leave when on a whim, I called the chargepoint phone number on the charger. To my surprise, a pleasant chargepoint rep answered immediately. I explained my situation, and gave my account info. She unlocked the charger remotely and activated it. Totally made my evening. So I don't know if I just lucked out, or maybe charge point always has somebody available.

p1SL | 28. November 2013

I have been told that the chargepoint phone app can also unlock a station if you don't have a card. Haven't tried it yet.

David70 | 28. November 2013

I got the ChargePoint card after the only time I've used it. This was in Ellensburg, and I phoned the number on the charger to get access.

Brian H | 28. November 2013

That's standard. The local proprietor can offer free charging as a promotion, though. Depends.

Pungoteague_Dave | 28. November 2013

I have used chargepoint stations several times. I have a card but have never been charged or required to log in. My sense is that it is subsidized by the building owner. Blink, on the other hand, charges $1 per hour with a card, $2 without, for terribly slow amps - 12 to 15 miles per hour. Takes a full day to fill up at ridiculous expense. They are all over town in Chattanooga, where we are visiting tonight. I am plugged into a Blink at Whole Foods, paying $2 per hour for 24 hours to get a full charge. Can't wait for superchargers to have better coverage.

negarholger | 28. November 2013

P_D - you can create a Blink account which costs nothing and then immediately create a code on a PC or app and then it costs only $1 per hour ( you don't have to wait for the physical card ). I did it today and charged for 7 hrs to get 35 kWh and it cost $7 instead of $14 as a guest.
In a year or two this will be distand memory...

Pungoteague_Dave | 29. November 2013

Kliest, I have a Blink account but no card yet. We don't have Blink in Maryland or my part of Virginia, so we didn't have an account until starting out on this trip, where we have learned how ubiquitous they are in the south, and how expensive the hourly rates. I called and was told that without the card we have to pay the $2 per hour guest rate. We also loath them for being so slow.

We are currently sitting in a McDonalds in Newport, TN, waiting FOUR hours to gain enough kWh at 12 miles per hour just to make it over the mountain to Asheville. Tomorrow we will be back on supercharger highway, but this antique J1772 stuff is for the birds. For what it's worth, it can't last long. We have seen dozens of blink stations, but zero users except ourselves. It is self-defeating technology. My wife is sitting across from me, occasionally looking up from her kindle to glare in my direction, muttering, I told you so. I have no response. Should have taken an ICE.

negarholger | 29. November 2013

If you don't have the Blink card yet go to your account and create a code. At the charger select guest and type in your code and then charger will say "Hi Dave" and charges you half rate. Unfortunately the code is only valid for 24 hrs and tomorrow when we will be heading home I need to create a new one, put into my pocket just in case I need to pickup some extra miles somewhere.
I agree these L2 chargers are a failed business plan - the three chargers close to my current location earned $7 in 4 days... can't wait the SC network getting more complete.

jeremythehunt | 29. November 2013

@hammer, usually you need to use the card or the phone app even for free charging. At work we have many free Chargepoint stations and one of them is a really old non-networked charger that doesn't require a card or the phone. Of the many Chargepoint stations I've used this is the only one I've seen like that so that may have been the case for you.

jjaeger | 29. November 2013

@PD - agree with you that for travel, Blinks are useless (or next to that if you're wedged). Where i have found them acceptable is for daily charging once we are at our destination. On most of my trip from N CA to S CA and AZ have used Blinks for the 4-6 day stays at our destination. Occasionally our hotel or very nearby will have a few stations. While not comparable to either a SC or even a 14-50, for keeping things manageable during our stays, they have worked well enough for modest daily needs.

jbunn | 30. November 2013

Completely agree. 12 to 17 mile L2 charging needs to stop it's deployment, and futureproof.

12 might be good for a Leaf, but a Tesla would need to occupy that charger for up to 24 hours. And that sucks if your the next guy in line behind the Tesla.

And eventually, we'll have more Leafs and other EVs and it's still going to suck when you are the 5th Leaf in line.

Saw an ad for either a ClipperCreek or ChargePoint station that advertised 2 L2 plugs. Great! Until you read the fine print... When the second car attaches, the power is shared so your 17 mile per hour drops to half that rate. That is not just useless. It's worse than useless.

Futureproof, charging companies and installers!

DonS | 13. Dezember 2013

The one with 2 Level 2 plugs on one circuit is the ChargePoint CT4000. ChargPoint is really pushing it, but I sure hope this does not become the norm. I consider the low power Blink chargers for emergency use only, and it looks like ChargePoint's business model is to follow Blink into mediocrity. If I had my way, everything would be Clipper Creek units at 40A and higher. Apps like Plugshare really need filters based on Level 2 power.

DanielDC | 21. Januar 2014

It used to be that everyone paid with cash, or maybe a check, for anything, everywhere. However, we now reside in the credit and debit card era and are heading for mobile payments, but one should always make an effort to tip servers with cash wherever possible. You can pay for your meal with an installment loan.

kenj | 09. Februar 2014

Found location with iPhone app - Albany, NY.

Used with the iPhone app, to unlock and start the juice. 12degrees when I showed up, 10 hours to charge. Went to conference, went to bed saw text message that charging was complete @ 2am.

It was free. Part of Recharge NY initiative.

plusplusjames | 10. Februar 2014

@kenj: is there a website or reference for users? I tried googling Recharge NY and found information for installation, not for pull up and plug in...

CharlotteOmoto | 13. Februar 2014

Both PlugShare and ReCargo apps have filters for the type of chargers.

utgreenie | 14. März 2015

Anyone charge in Orlando, other than Supercharger?
Locations and company?

Leroy | 14. März 2015

Got my MS 60 almost two years ago. I live in a condo in Arlington, Va. and while waiting for a circuit to be installed at my parking spot I relied on a Charge Point Level II charger at nearby George Mason University. Once my personal installation was completed I no longer needed the Charge Point service but I held on to it just in case of a pinch during travel...after all it is 60.

In December I came down to Florida for the Winter using Superchargers all the way with the one exception in Jacksonville where the Hyatt enabled me to charge using a 110 circuit.

At my destination in Sarasota there were multiple charging options including Charge Point, Clipper Creek, and at least one TESLA HPWC at Mote Marine Laboratory on Longboat Key. My experience in four months now here in Florida with Charge Point has been dreadful: I've tried at least six of their units up and down the coast and not one, repeat, not one has worked. Charge Point is unfailingly polite and apologetic but they claim all they do is put in the unit and the maintenance is up to the owner of the site. Plus, unlike in VA. when I first used them, in Fl. when you swipe the card that opens the panel door but then there is a second step where you must insert your 110 adapter into the actual device and then you are told that it is not working! Frustrating as all get out.

Conversely ALL of the Clipper Creek chargers which were put in by the city (or the county?) of Sarasota worked every single time ...and they were always free. I'm told that that could soon change as more and more EV's avail themselves of this free lunch.

Not quite sure if I understand the business model of Charge Point but my personal recent results have been very, very disappointing. My suggestion is to stick with something that works like the TESLA superchargers or the Clipper Creek network. I also just received my new CHAdeMO adapter and I hope to try that out locally before heading North at the end of the month.

Sorry for the long rant. Good luck.

David Trushin | 14. März 2015

I've only had a problem with 1 charge point charger where my card wouldn't activate the unit. Called them, and they activated it. They said i could activate it from the app as well. But these were not free chargers. They were the $2 per hour variety.