Free fuel: over 63% of public PEV charging stations in the US are free to use

Eaton Charging Station

We hear a lot of discussion in the EV industry about all the possible business models for public charging. Will paid public charging ever be a profitable business in its own right? Will plug-in vehicle drivers pay a premium to charge away from home? Or, will it make more sense for businesses to offer charging as a free perk to attract customers (often referred to as the Wi-Fi Model)?

New data from PlugShare’s quarterly report shows that the free model is leading the way. Nearly 2 out of 3 public charging station locations in the US are free to use, that includes stations of all charging levels in locations where anyone with a compatible vehicle can charge.

 Free vs Paid EV Charging Stations 660
Figure is free to share (CC BY-SA 2.0) with proper attribution: PlugShare via

For restricted-access public stations, the free-to-charge ratio increases to about 3 out of 4. Examples of restricted access include workplaces with employee-only charging, stations located behind gates, and dealerships with charging for existing customers only.

Full access to PlugShare Quarterly 2015 Q1 – US Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Exhibits can be purchased here.


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