Electric vehicle (EV) owners have long enjoyed cost savings by charging their vehicles with inexpensive electricity compared to costly gasoline. However, recent changes in how EV charging is billed at public charging networks are eroding this advantage. Ivy Charging Network, a collaboration between Hydro One Ltd. and Ontario Power Generation, has introduced per-kilowatt-hour pricing at its ONroute locations, replacing the previous time-based billing method. While this approach offers transparency, it comes with a notable downside: significantly higher charging costs.
Ivy’s new rate stands at 62 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), including taxes. For instance, a full charge for a typical EV battery with a capacity of 58 kWh would now cost approximately $36. This price represents a staggering 125% increase compared to Ivy’s previous time-based pricing, which could provide the same charge for less than $16.
Despite the price hike, electric vehicles remain cost-effective when compared to gasoline-powered cars. For example, with a gas-powered vehicle achieving 100 km on 8 liters of fuel at a cost of $1.60 per liter, a 400-km range would cost approximately $51.20. In contrast, charging at Ivy offers savings of $15.20 on a full charge when compared to gasoline costs, equating to roughly 30%.
However, this pricing shift is disheartening for EV owners who previously calculated their savings by considering energy cost advantages. Initial estimates suggested annual savings of around $1,000 when driving approximately 12,000 km per year with an EV compared to a gas-powered vehicle. This calculation could lead to $10,000 in savings over a decade, making EVs more economically appealing. Yet, charging at Ivy’s new rate of 62 cents per kWh would shrink these savings to $500 annually.
In contrast, alternative charging options remain more economical. Charging at Petro-Canada near Kingston costs around 30.2 cents per kWh, while home charging in Ontario offers an overnight rate of 8.7 cents per kWh (excluding delivery and taxes). Even at a regular street-side charger, the cost can be as low as 5.2 cents per kWh for a full charge.
While EV owners may appreciate the newfound pricing transparency, concerns may arise over rising costs, particularly during road trips where fast charging is essential. If other networks adopt similar pricing models, the cost of road trips and daily commutes relying on fast charging could become a deterrent for prospective EV owners.
While recognizing the expenses associated with building and maintaining a fast-charging network, many may grumble over the diminishing cost savings, potentially dissuading them from making the switch to electric vehicles, ultimately impacting the adoption of EVs in the long run.