EVgo is changing how it prices the electricity that gets doled out on its electric vehicle charging networ, and is launching a nationwide rewards program for its customers.
Starting in September, the company will start offering three ways to pay for charging on its network across the country. There’s the typical pay-as-you go option, which has the highest price-per-minute of charging and requires a $1.99 fee for each charging session. There’s a basic membership program that requires $4.99 per month of pre-payments toward charging, but which waives the session and (in most locations) offers per-minute rates that cost a few cents less. And now there’s a higher-tier $6.99 per-month subscription plan called EVgo Plus that drops the session fees and offers even more affordable pricing, and waives the $3 fee for reserving a charging stall.
In California, however, EVgo will no longer charge per minute of charging in order to comply with new state regulations. Instead, it will charge per kilowatt-hour (kWh). There will be three different pricing windows throughout the day: “early-bird” (12AM-8AM local time), “on-peak” (4PM-9PM), and “off-peak” (8AM-4PM and 9PM-12AM). The idea with these is to incentivize drivers to charge at hours when electricity is not only more affordable, but also when the grid is less stressed. EVgo says it may expand this windowed pricing structure to other states down the road.
“We want to make sure that we’re maximizing the positive impact of the grid and give customers choice,” EVgo’s chief commercial officer Jonathan Levy tells The Verge. “If you want to charge when it’s peak [hours] then that’s your choice, but there’s an economic reality.”
EVgo is also trialing new location-based pricing adjustments in San Francisco and Los Angeles that will factor in “environmental and social justice considerations,” congestion, and “other market dynamics.”
Along with the new pricing structures, EVgo will give out five “points” for every dollar spent on charging, which the company says can be used toward free charging sessions. Users of any of the three pricing plans can earn these points, though EVgo didn’t say how many would be required to unlock a free charging session.
“Reliability has been such an important facet for electric vehicle drivers, so we want to make sure that they’re rewarded for continuing to be loyal to us and coming back to those EVgo chargers they know they can count on,” Levy says.
The changes come as EVgo recently became a publicly traded company, following a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. It’s not alone — ChargePoint went public earlier this year after merging with a SPAC, while others like EVBox and Wallbox have similar mergers in the works. These mergers are helping to bring a fresh round of investment to companies like EVgo, which could help make public EV chargers more ubiquitous. Expanding EV charging networks is a priority of the Biden administration and a focus of the infrastructure bill working its way through Congress.
EVgo is also making these changes as Tesla is getting ready to potentially open up its own Supercharger network to non-Tesla EVs, something that would make the company eligible for government subsidies under the infrastructure bill.