The “Free Ride” is Over

The “Free Ride” is Over

As more and more private entities and municipal jurisdictions change more and more public EV charging stations over to fee-based access, we get more and more emails and messages bemoaning the loss of “free” charging.

The Victoria EV Association is fully supportive of the shift to “charging for charging”, a phrase we believe we ourselves coined several years ago as an intervenor at the BC Utilities Commission, advocating for those not operating a utility to charge for the sale or resale of electricity.

A fee-based system not only allows those installing EV charge stations to recoup their costs, it encourages more businesses and public organizations to provide EV infrastructure, while also reducing the irritation among ICE drivers about EV owners getting some kind of “special treatment”.

We have long encouraged the use of home charging systems over opportunity charging, not only because that’s where the electricity is cheaper, but because it increases charge availability for those who can’t charge at home.

Meanwhile, we continue to advocate for “right to charge” legislation for those in Condos, MURBS or dependent on street parking at their place of residence.

Trust us, that will all be coming to BC soon.

And hopefully the Federal Government will also soon overcome the bureaucratic brain freeze at Measurement Canada so the fees for EV charging can be calculated by the total kWh used rather than the time it takes to charge – as has already been accomplished by many other (either more intelligent or better managed) entities.

In the meantime, for those of you saddened by the departure of the “free ride”. Here’s some math worth considering…

The average Canadian ICE vehicle consumes 9L/100km, which at a price of $1.50/L means the cost per 100km of travel is $13.50.

The average EV consumes 16 kWh of electricity per 100 km.  

The price of power at home from BC Hydro is $0.10 (more or less), thus when charging from home 100 km costs you $1.60.

The price of power from a BC Hydro Level 3 charger is $0.21/minute at a 50 kWh basis, 60 minutes of charging costs $12.60.


50 kWh will move an EV 312 km or $0.25/kWh — and thus $4.00/100 km.

Therefore, the current price to charge at a BC Hydro Level 3 isn’t anywhere close to fueling an ICE vehicle. In fact, the price to charge would need to triple to even get close.

We hope this helps ease the pain…