Electric Vehicle Pricing and Payments

NREL is required to recover costs for the electricity and annual operations and maintenance of  electric vehicle (EV) charging stations based on guidance related to the federal Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act.


The pricing structure strikes a balance between multiple objectives and provides many price points that make it similar in cost to charging an EV at your home. Pricing includes electricity costs based on actual consumption and a portion of fixed costs for operations and maintenance of the stations (connection fee).

Prices range between $0.10/kWh and $0.35/kWh (which includes the variable cost of energy and the variable connection fee) and vary depending on:

  • Amount of energy requested
  • Timeframe you give NREL to deliver that energy. 

PowerFlex will estimate and display the total session fees you'll pay when you enter the requested information through the app each time you plug in. The exact rate paid per charge session is based on actual amount of energy received. 

Variable Pricing Structure

As part of NREL's Intelligent Campus concept and continued research efforts, the Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) at the Flatirons Campus and the South Table Mountain garage will demonstrate load management control that allows for the transformer capacity powering the EVSEs to be rated below the peak rating of the EVSEs (to as low as 3.3 kW/EVSE in some locations).  In addition to the transformer limitations, the EVSEs will also be controlled to reduce total campus load during peak demand events on campus. The variable pricing structure allows NREL to more equitably manage the range of EV charging requests based on the potential risk the request presents to NREL of exceeding the capacity of the transformers and of incurring demand charges from the load of the EVSEs during peak campus demand events.

There are two components of the price structure:

1.     Dollars per kilowatt-hour fee based on the flexibility of the charging session

2.     Dollars per connection fee.

The dollars per kilowatt-hour fee is designed to recover electricity cost while providing an incentive for those who are more flexible (i.e., give NREL more time to deliver the energy requested).

The dollars per connection fee is designed to recover a portion of the fixed costs for operations and maintenance. The dollars per connection fee (between $0.05 and $0.25, depending on degree of flexibility) is waived for a user who receives 5 kWh or more of electricity in a charge session. Note that if you request more than 5 kWh at plug-in but then unplug before that amount of energy has been delivered, then the connection fee will be assessed in the total session cost. 

The variable structure provides a financial incentive to users to increase the flexibility they provide to NREL to deliver the requested energy while also trying to recover costs and align much of the pricing structure with that of typical residential electricity costs. View the variable pricing graph.


The PowerFlex system is a fully automated, self-service system. Download the PowerFlex app on your mobile device and set up an account to pay for use of the stations. View the PowerFlex charging station instructions for downloading the app, setting up your account, and using the system.