With the number of EVs on our roads increasing rapidly, there are more and more suppliers of charging cards. What should you bear in mind when choosing a charging card for your electric or plug-in hybrid car?
To gain access to the charging infrastructure for EVs, you need a charging card. This is similar in concept to the old fuel card. With most cards you can 'fill up' with electricity not only in our country, but also in other European countries. The advantage of a charging card is that you can pay for your charges in a convenient way, while having all your charges on one invoice. This is handy for your accountant, and it gives you a good overview of the monthly costs of your EV.
Differing terms and conditions
Choosing a charging card that suits you can be a challenge. There are many providers active in this market and the rates vary as do the fuel prices at petrol stations. The conditions also vary. Some providers charge a starting rate for a charging session and then charge a lower rate per kilowatt hour (kWh). In short, you have a choice of two types of charging cards. Free charge cards and cards that are linked to a subscription. With a subscription card, you pay a fixed monthly amount which results in a lower kWh price. With free cards, you pay more for the kWh you charge. So you have to weigh up whether you will be charging at public charging stations frequently or not. If you do not charge often, then it is better to choose a charging card without a subscription, although a charging card with a subscription can be purchased for just a few euros a month. Some providers of charging cards have made price agreements with the operators of the charging stations, so that charging there is cheaper. Incidentally, there are numerous apps and websites where you can compare prices of charge points.
For business users and private individuals
A charging card can be requested by both private and business users, whereas the fuel card is intended for business drivers. This is only right and proper, because as mentioned, without a card you have no access to the charging infrastructure. And then refuelling on the road becomes a tricky business.
When charging, you pay the normal electricity rate, but the price per kWh differs per provider. Bear in mind that a motorway is 2 or 3 times more expensive than a charging station in a residential area.
The comparison criteria
So what should you look for when choosing a charging card? There are a number of things you can compare. As mentioned, there are charging cards with and without a subscription, whereby for people who charge their EVs on the road a subscription version is more advantageous, and for people who mainly charge at home a charging card without a subscription is the better option.
Also look at the price per kilowatt hour that is charged. This is often higher with a free card. There can be considerable differences between them, so check this out.
And then there are the transaction costs, which are mainly charged for the free cards. These are often between 30 and 40 cents per charging session. There are also charging cards where you pay a transaction fee for a certain number of charging sessions. If you load more often, no transaction costs will be charged. This too is stated in the terms and conditions.
The charging cards are often free of charge; you are rarely charged for making and sending in the card. Please note that there is a delivery time.
Another important criterion for comparison: is the card suitable or not for use with the fast chargers along the motorway? Of course, your car has to be suitable for them. So check whether the charging card you have in mind is suitable for fast charging. From a practical point of view it is often wise to have several charging cards on board. Having a few free charging cards in your car can be a great solution if you are unable to charge at a particular charge point.