How do Charging Networks work?

edited August 2012 in General
Might need to ask this over in the Roadster area. I've been looking at the charging station already available in the St. Louis area. It turns out this place is not quite as backwards as I thought. There are two companies that have chargers out with level 2 charging in my area, Blink and ChargePoint. Both appear to be members only.

It looks like you can not just swipe your credit card and charge. You have to go on-line and sign up first then they will send you a card to access the chargers. Is this true?
That's like buying an ICE, driving into a gas station and the attendant telling you to turn around go home and wait for your membership card before you can pump gas. I can see in a few years having a stack of membership cards you'll have to flip through while on road trips.

In some cases there is also a yearly membership fee. It cuts the charge per hour cost from $2 down to $1 per hour.

Does Tesla bill per hour for their current charger network I see on the West coast?


  • edited November -1
    No, but it's a promotional expense for them, not the principal source of revenue.

    For the card issue, someone needs to design an "Omni-card", that encodes all the plans and accounts you have signed onto, and cuts your stash down to 1! Security would have to be titanium-clad, of course, maybe some multi-phasic bio ID plus PIN, etc.
  • edited November -1
    I've been driving by the chargers in St. Louis today that are on my Android app, Recargo, and updating it with pictures and info.

    I have only found one so far that was public. There are half a dozen at the Ameren Corp visitors parking area but I almost got arrested for simply trying to ask the security guard questions about them. After two other security vehicles showed up inside of a minute (like I was breaking into cars) one security guy actually knew what they were and he informed me they were for Ameren employees only. As I left the lot more security vehicles were arriving to add to the three already there. They are very serious about their empty charge stations.... well Ameren has was company electric vehicle plug in at one location.

    Many other chargers are either not at the location provided or in private parking structures.

    The Charge Point network chargers provide a phone number on the front panel to call and they will allow you access for a price. That is cool.

    I'll update a little more if I find a Blink charger were I won't get arrested.
  • edited November -1
    Final update.

    It appears all the charge networks have a phone number on the charger you can call for access if you are not a member so that is cool.

    I did finaly find a few chargers in St. Louis at fantastic locations. Stuff to do near by and safe to park at. Now I just need a car to plug into them :-)
  • edited November -1
    Next time a security guard challenges you, say you were wondering if they'd work for your iPad.
  • edited November -1
    Tesla does not charge for the Tesla chargers on the West coast.

    While it's true you need an RFID card from ChargePoint (I can't answer on Blink), it's the right thing to do.

    The charging stations are reservable online, using your member number ... but the best part is that because you connect to your phone, you can query the charging station to see amount of charge delivered to your car while charging. It also will text you when charging has stopped for any reason (breaker threw, someone tampering, etc.).

    I have yet to be charged a single penny when using a ChargePoint charger. Usually they're free (some places do charge, but very few, and always minimal) - the hosting establishment picks up the cost as a way of bringing in EV owners.
  • edited November -1
    Thank you very much bonnie!
    This was the exact info I was looking for. I can read all the stuff on-line but to hear the experiences from an actual user is so much better.
  • edited November -1
    When you're looking for charging spots, remember RV parks will typically have 40amp service available. And those are everywhere.

    Also, it really doesn't do much good to identify all the chargers around your home (assuming you live in the St. Louis area), because most owners charge at home, while they sleep. Look around at the charging situation in the cities you are most likely to travel to.

    My experience has been that there is ALWAYS a place to plug in. Every hotel has an outside plug for their maintenance people. Every valet station has an outlet. You just have to be persistent. Call ahead, ask. When you're told 'no outlet available', escalate (nicely).

    I took a 1300m roadtrip last summer and had no problems. It was a little scary heading away so far from my home charger, but I got over that pretty quickly.

    Good for you for getting comfortable with Recargo and other apps in advance. :) I've watched charge points increase exponentially in the last year & expect that will continue.
  • edited November -1
    <i>bonnie1194 | March 17, 2012 new

    <i>I took a 1300m roadtrip last summer and had no problems. It was a little scary heading away so far from my home charger, but I got over that pretty quickly.

    Heh, "It's a feature, not a bug!" Adds that extra "edge" of adventure ...

  • edited November -1
    The only real reason I was looking at my home chargers was to take pictures and leave a comment so when someone from out of town needs a place to charge they know what and where. If someone decides they want to pass thru St. Louis they can see on Recargo that there is a charger at a hotel called Moonrise. They have no idea what is near by or if it's a safe place. If more people would leave comments at the charge sites people might not be as worried when leaving home for a road trip.

    There are two small towns between me and Chicago that have chargers. One is in the middle and has a lot of stuff to do, Bloomington. I am hoping to pick my S up and drive it home from Chicago (~350m) for the fun of it, not for the adventure per say. Only two of the chargers are marked public and they are in pay to park locations which is fine, as long as they are really there/public and not the Assistant Dean's private charger which you can use when he happens not to be at work. I feel fairly confident that they are good and ready to go because there are three but for example, the ones I found in St. Louis at the Botanical Gardens (a perfect charge spot) where on but not public yet because the parking area was still under construction. They were listed as functional on Recargo. I left a commit and pics about that and will update it when they are ready.
  • ggrggr
    edited November -1
    Blink chargers need an RFID card too. You can get one free at, but you have to give them a credit card number to be billed at ridiculous rates if the charger is going to bill you. We have Blink chargers at work, and have to use the card even though they are free.

    You can pay an annual fee for the card, then the electricity is somewhat cheaper, but still much more expensive than at home. I can't understand why anyone would want to pay to use these.
  • edited November -1
    In our area I can find both Blink and ChargePoint stations and they each require a separate card. So far the ones I have tried have been free but they each require their own card. And each require a set up on their respective web sites.

    I agree it is not the best set up.
  • edited November -1
    Note: The Blink EV Charging Station Web Site is: (Not Just
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