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What do you actually pay for when you charge your electric car?

12 November 2019

As traffic on the roads becomes more electric with each passing year, the greater the need for accessible and fast charging stations. At Fortum Charge & Drive, we hope that the transition to a fully electric car fleet will go smoothly, which is why we do our utmost to make easier to charge an EV than it is to fill a petrol tank.

Fast charging station

 

Fortum Charge & Drive is the largest operator in the Nordics and operates close to 650 fast charging stations in Norway alone. You can see the map of all our charging stations here. Therefore, if you have traveled by EV somewhere in the Nordics, it's likely that you have gone to one of our charging stations along the way. One of the most common questions brought up in discussions is why EV drivers pay for minutes and not for electricity (in particular at DC stations) whilst charging. 

You pay for access to high power

 

At a fast charging station you can charge your car with high power. A fast charging station in the Nordics will typically offer 50 kW, while the new High Power Chargers offer electricity from 150 kW. This says something about how much energy the charging station can deliver at a time, which in turn determines how fast the battery on your electric car can charge (keeping in mind that the rate of charging is decided by the car, not the charger).

Setting up and operating a station that can deliver such a high power costs far more than the power supplied. Power in itself is cheap, but building and maintaining the charging station, as well as providing customer support and the apps or tags needed by our customers is the cost. A charging station should not be viewed solely as a place to buy power for your car, but rather as a service; a service that gives you access to high power and fast charging.

Paying for time prevents queuing & parking

Your car is capable of receiving more power when its battery is warm and the battery is around 20% charged. The fuller the battery, the slower the charge. Minute-based pricing gives people an incentive to charge for shorter periods of time, thus helping to reduce queues at charging stations and avoid parking (vs charging) at EV charging stations. Using the price of charging in Norway as an example, if you need to charge from 20% - 100% to get to your destination, it could be cheaper to make two stops and charge to 40% each time rather than charge to 100% at one fast charger. 

Fortum Charge & Drive currently operates over 3700 charging stations in Finland, Sweden, and Norway, and you can pay for charging using the RFID tag, the app, or SMS. In general, charging is the cheapest if you use our RFID tag or our mobile app. 

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This article was adapted from the original on our Norwegian blog