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What Does it Cost to Use a Blink Charging Station? UPDATED Nov. 2021

Back in September, the cost to use Blink EV charging took a slight dive. They switched from time-based charging to kilowatt-hour charging. This makes a lot of sense. Before this change, it actually cost more to use the Blink Charging Network than it did to operate a gas-powered vehicle.

Which is of course a giant scam: Low operating cost is one of the benefits of owning an electric vehicle. That’s why the total cost of ownership for a $40,000-ish Tesla Model 3 is lower than the cost of a $25,000-ish Toyota. When I charge at home, it costs about $1.60 to charge enough to drive 120 miles. With Blink charging, the same amount of charging would cost about $22.40. That’s right: literally 20 times the price of charging at my house.

Since the change, Blink network members will now pay 39 cents per kWh. That’s a considerable improvement and brings the price down to about $15.60 to “fill” my car from empty (which is rare – typically, EV owners add a few kilowatt-hours here and there whenever they park).

blink charging

Blink charging stations

Non-members will pay 49 cents per kWh. For you math majors out there, the cost before the switch from time-based pricing was about 56 per kWh.

This isn’t a big difference mathematically, but it’s a step in the right direction toward uniform and reasonable pricing.

Have a look at this pricing calculator to get an idea of the per kWh charge in your state; keep in mind, though, that it may not reflect options like generating your own solar power.

How does Blink Charging Compare to Other Networks?

That’s nearly impossible to answer. There are some networks like Volta that are free. Businesses pay to advertise on the stations, which pays for the electricity. Then we have ChargePoint, which ranges from about the same as Blink at some stations to free at other stations — some businesses eat the cost of charging to bring in customers and strut their environmentalist cred.

Using Blink charging, Volta and free charging at work to run my Toyota RAV 4 EV, I’ve paid less than $1 in the last month for charging away from home. That accounts for about 75 percent of my charging.

If the other charging networks are even remotely smart, they need to attack Blink Charging and its high rates.

blink charging

The Blink Charging Network is riding the wave of contracts with municipalities. When they expire, Blink will need to step its game up to survive.

What’s the Future for Blink?

I have no idea how long Blink Charging will be around. They’re still priced high relative to other networks. The quality of their stations varies greatly (some have displays you can’t read during daylight hours). The stock price was pretty well in the toilet when I wrote this, but it bounced pretty high in late 2020. They don’t have a good reputation with EV drivers.

Working in their favor, Blink got ahead of the curve and managed to snag long-term deals with quite a few public institutions. Here in Arizona, they’re ubiquitous on the Arizona State University campus, City of Phoenix buildings, City of Chandler buildings, and more than a few others.

Once those deals dry up, though, Blink is either going to have to try a lot harder or risk being the Edsel of charging stations.

Using a Blink Charging Station in 2021

I recently drove from Scottsdale to Tucson and back for my first-ever 100-mile bike race.

My average for both legs was 3.4 miles/KwH. That’s mostly highway driving at 70mph. I also used the extended charging feature for only like the second time ever.

Actual footage of me in the late stages of driving from Scottsdale to Tucson in my RAV4 EV.

I’ve gotta say, I was really sweating for those last 30 miles or so!
Anyway, I used Blink charging stations twice: once outside a Bookman’s on Ina Road and also on the way back when I stopped in Chandler. The Blink charging station there is a short walk from the excellent Peixoto coffeehouse, so I had zero problems hanging out there for awhile. Anyway, here’s what those sessions cost me:
City of Chandler: $2.73/6.995 kWh (about 23 miles of driving)
Bookman’s Ina: $2.63/6.693 kWh (about 22 miles)
So it seems that my cost to drive using only Blink Charging would, at this point, be a tiny bit cheaper than cruising around in the gas-powered version of a RAV4. Also, keep in mind that my cost to charge at home is about 10 cents per kWh versus about 40 cents per kWh via the Blink charging stations.

My trip summary from driving from Tucson to Chandler.

So this also proves a point: I can do a short road trip with a short-range EV with slow charging. It was a bit of a hassle that added about 90 minutes of extra time to each leg of the trip. And I had to scrounge for a decent charging station in Tucson.
But it’s workable. Plus there are no new EVs that charge as slowly as my RAV4. Most of the current crop of EVs can go from nearly zero to 85% in about 30 minutes. So even if you have a short range of about 150 miles, you’re still way better off than me. And provided you have some decent charging infrastructure on your route, you won’t lose too much time.

This post just might contain affiliate links. Fear not, they’re non-spammy and benign. Hey, I have to keep this thing running somehow!

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