But it was obvious that such offers wouldn't last long. Electricity isn't free, and most entities offering this perk weren't doing it solely out of the goodness of their hearts. For example, some grocery chains attracted more customers by investing in Level 2 and Level 3 chargers. Now, they are gradually adding payment terminals to them to expand profit margins.
But probably the best example there is in this regard is Tesla. For a limited time, its customers benefitted from free Supercharging for the lifetime of their vehicles.
Today, its high-power charging network is perceived as one of the most significant contemporary investments made by an automaker. Not only does it currently benefit from a positive reputation, but it also becomes the main place of interest for EV owners traveling long distances. It's also something that helps EV buyers strongly consider Tesla when looking to add an EV to their garage.
However, in the grand scheme of things, it all makes sense. Early adopters took all the risks of exploring the zero-emission world and were rewarded with the slight advantage of free charging here and there.
But here comes the EV Club app, promising to reward you no matter where you charge. Better yet, even when the EV is hooked to a domestic socket, it'll give you some money on a dedicated Visa card.
When writing, the app offers three plans: free, premium, and unlimited.
If you go with the free option (which, of course, is available for a limited time), the maximum cashback you can earn is $20 per month. After the promotional period ends, this plan will cost $9 per month.
Pay the app creators $39 per month, and the cashback limit grows to $70 monthly. Spend $99 per month, and you get no cashback limit, charging "on the house" allegedly anywhere in the US, and a physical card.
- pay $9 per month and enjoy up to $20 worth of charging;
- pay $39 per month and enjoy up to $70 worth of charging;
- pay $99 per month and enjoy unlimited charging.
EV Club aims to simplify how EV owners charge, whether at home or away. Although not explicitly stated as such, the California-based company behind this app seems to have partnered with Tesla, Electrify America, EVgo, ChargePoint, and Blink.
It claims that it's "universally compatible with multiple charging networks," but it also states that it cannot guarantee functionality with every charging station available in the US. Make sure to do your due diligence before plugging in.
The app also says that it can't be held responsible for "delays, service interruptions, or any other issues arising due to third-party services."
It's certainly an interesting proposition, but we struggle to find any real advantage besides the promise of some discounted electricity. On top of that, it's not entirely clear how users can pay $39 per month and put $70 worth of electrons into their cars' batteries. Who is subsidizing the $31?
The app's Terms&Conditions say that membership allows customers to pay $39 and spend $70 on charging, but it also states that the cashback can be used after the user's account accrues $200 worth of rewards. So, what is it: free charging or cashback to spend everywhere? Both? The terms are not as straightforward as we would've liked, but that doesn't mean you can't give it a try.