Free Charging? Thank Your EV Charging Stations Hosts
Charging station hosts are an integral part of the Clean Charge Network success story. Some of these hosts have taken the next step — offering free charging at their stations by working with KCP&L to cover the cost of electricity. “It’s just the right thing to do,” says Bill Maasen from the Johnson County Park and Recreation District, which offers free charging at seven (soon to be eight) locations.
Maasen, the District’s Superintendent of Parks & Golf Courses, thinks EV charging stations are a perfect amenity for a public park. “It promotes green activities and that’s a positive for our whole community,” he says. “By providing free charging, we can help EV drivers feel even more welcome. And if seeing people plugged in at our parks and golf courses helps drive EV adoption, that’s an added benefit.”
EV drivers can plug in at the District’s parks while walking or running trails, playing golf, fishing, watching the kids on the playground or just enjoying the beauty of nature. In addition to stations at seven of its parks, the District is adding free charging stations at its new Meadowbrook Park.
How Free Charging Helps All
For KCPT, Kansas City’s PBS station, offering free hosting is right in line with their mission to enrich the community. Their charging stations appeal to two audiences: employees who drive electric and the EV community at large. “It started as a workplace amenity, but has become a community amenity as well,” says Sandy Woodson, the station’s operations coordinator and head of its green team.
It’s clear how EV drivers benefit: free charging! But hosts can see advantages too. Offering free EV charging stations helps attract and retain customers, residents, and visitors. Many electric car drivers regularly drive out of their way to shop or visit a location with free charging.
For retail or hospitality customers, that means people stay longer, return frequently and spend more money. Workplace charging is both an employee amenity and a path to achieving company sustainability goals. For commercial and multifamily facilities, offering EV charging can improve the property’s image and set them apart in a competitive landscape.
The Powerful Voice of the EV Driver
More than 30 percent of the network’s stations offer free charging— a number that’s rising as station hosts join the ranks of those who’ve opted to cover the cost of electricity for drivers. In fact, EV drivers can be a powerful voice in encouraging that trend.
Knowing that EV drivers appreciate their commitment — and go out of their way to patronize a business for it — is meaningful.
“Station hosts can decide at any time to begin offering free charging,” says Wendy Marine, KCP&L’s product manager for the network. “Knowing that EV drivers appreciate their commitment — and go out of their way to patronize a business for it — is meaningful.” Marine suggests EV drivers reach out to the hosts of stations they frequent, either to offer thanks for providing free charging or kindly requesting they consider doing so.
Hosts love to see their stations used, and they love hearing from the drivers using them. “It’s wonderful to see people plugged in at our parks. I even enjoy hearing from citizens in the rare case of a charging station issue,” Massan says. “It’s another way for the Parks District to connect with residents and visitors, even when we aren’t there in person.”
Ahead of the Charge
For many of these charging station hosts, offering free charging is a way to be a leader in the community. “Green initiatives are very important to us and anything we can do to support the community makes sense,” says Woodson. “We want to show how easy, how viable and how important initiatives like driving electric are. It’s important for us to put ideas into action — and offering free charging for our EV charging stations was an easy way to do that.”
We want to show how easy, how viable and how important initiatives like driving electric are. It’s important for us to put ideas into action — and offering free charging for our EV charging stations was an easy way to do that.