Earlier this summer, I decided to officially opt into the tenantvesting strategy. I see the efficiency of renting where I live while owning what I can rent. I believe that the long-term growth potential will be exponential compared to taking the traditional homeownership route.
One downside to following this strategy is when you also decide to transition to a plug-in electric vehicle (EV). Ideally, you want to do the majority of your charging either overnight at home or during the day while at work. But what if you are a tenantvestor and instead need to use a 3rd-party charging station?
Both offer standard “trickle” charging and a 30-minute DC fast charging option. Personally, I prefer the 30-minute charge time and use the wait to read and plan my investment activities for the day. To use the Fast Charging stations your EV must be equipped with a CHAdeMO connector. This is standard on some models and on others, available as an upgrade.
After initially purchasing my EV, I used EVgo exclusively as the station also included the option to pay with my debit card. It wasn’t until that machine stopped working that I explored other options in the area to charge my vehicle since I didn’t have the EVgo RFID card that was included in the original purchase as a promotional item. I applied for a chip card on the EVgo website but it wouldn’t arrive for at least a week. And, downloading the EVgo mobile app was useless because I needed to activate my newly ordered chip card before I could charge using the app (more on UX later).
So, my research led me to a nearby ChargePoint Express Charger. Upon arrival, I noticed that there was no debit card option. Luckily, their Android and iOS apps support NFC payments so once you create your ChargePoint account and associate a payment source, you are good to go with a simple tap of your phone to the ChargePoint NFC reader.
Another pleasant surprise with my ChargePoint experience was that I was able to charge more for less. IOTW, for a flat rate of $0.20/minute, I received 79 miles of charge in 23 minutes of charge time. In contrast, my EVgo output averaged 65 miles of charge per 30 minutes of charge time. And, prior to receiving my EVgo card, I paid $12 per 30-minute charging session. Since cash flow is a major priority for me, let’s look at the cost differential between the two.
First, EVgo. After receiving and activating my EVgo card, I had to choose between two plans: Monthly Subscription or Flex Plan. For $10/mo, the monthly option gives you $0.20/minute charging with no additional session fees. If you choose this plan, you are essentially paying $100-$120 annually for the privilege of charging your EV at the rate of $0.20/minute at any EVgo DC charging station. The Flex Plan skips the monthly fee and replaces it with a $4.95 session charge + $0.20/minute. This plan is targeted at individuals who are infrequent chargers and may be opposed to the monthly subscription fee. EVgo also does not have NFC integration in their mobile apps at the time of this writing. Hopefully, that eventually changes.
As previously stated, ChargePoint charges a flat rate of $0.20/minute. When you first sign up, they do require you to load the ChargePoint app with $10 from which they deduct your charging session fees. And, they further require you to agree to allow them to top off that running balance so that you always have at least $10 available.
With this available data, it was clear to me that ChargePoint was the winner in terms of cash flow management. The additional costs with EVgo charging are just too steep. So, moving forward my strategy is to utilize ChargePoint as my primary charging station and EVgo as a last resort. I’ll update you if anything changes.
[UPDATE: 3/1/18] – EVgo has recently introduced a new Pay-As-You-Go Plan. This plan features a flat rate of $0.20/minute with no per session charges. Caveat Emptor: the default session time for all of EVgo’s plans has increased from 30 minutes to 45 minutes. TIP: your timer is your friend 😉