EVCS Unveils Unlimited Charging Subscription Plan

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

​EVCS subscription plan on phone
image courtesy of EVCS

Hot on the heels of a nearly $70 million Series A, Arcadia-based EV charging company EVCS announced yesterday a new subscription service designed to make vehicle charging simpler than it’s ever been.

While a subscription service may not be the most glamorous development in the EV space at the moment, the model could be a boon to industries like delivery, rideshare as well as high-mileage commuters or anyone else seeking to simplify the calculus of operating a battery-powered vehicle.

EVCS, which stands for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations (again, not the most glamorous acronym), has been around since 2018. But only recently began a rapid expansion of their network that currently operates 670 chargers along the West Coast, including 240 fast chargers. If everything goes according to plan, that network should double by the end of next year with fast charging options growing to 700.

EVCS car plugged in charging EVCS car plugged in charging image courtesy of EVCS

For low mileage drivers, the company will continue to offer its standard charging plan of $50 per month up to 200 kWh and then $.29 per kilowatt hour after that. For comparison, the Tesla Supercharger network averages around $.25 per kWh during off peak hours, but can spike up into the $.50 range when demand is at maximum.

The new unlimited subscription models come in two flavors. The first is a completely unlimited plan that lets drivers charge as much as they want at any time of day for $200 per month. The second, “Off-Peak” plan, costs $100 per month and lets drivers use the network any time between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. The standard $.29 per kilowatt hour is applied to any additional daytime charging.

EVCS recommends the unlimited off-peak hours plan for users driving more than 1,418 miles/month and the unlimited anytime plan for users driving more than 2,730 miles/month. Before the pandemic, the United States Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration calculated that the average U.S. driver was driving 1,189 miles per month. In 2020 that number dropped to 1,060 miles but is slowly ticking back up. Depending on how efficient your vehicle is, when you tend to charge and where you live, these exact price points may or may not make sense. But the more your drive, the more likely the subscription model will produce a financial benefit. For drivers logging more than 3,000 or 4,000 miles a month, the subscription presents an enormous opportunity both to save money and to simplify their finances or business model.

“Kilowatt rates tend to vary by location, they tend to vary by time of day, and there can be hidden fees, so it’s pretty complex,” says EVCS Chief Growth Officer Kirk Johnson. “For your Uber drivers, your Lyft drivers, your package delivery, and really allows them to predictably manage their monthly charging costs.”

While the subscription model might be great for high mileage drivers, it may also cause issues with the grid if it really catches on. There’s a reason that electricity rates vary by time of day, and it’s tied to how abundant that energy is. During the day, when solar and wind power are at their peak, electricity is cheaper and cleaner. Overnight, we demand is lowest, the price falls again, but the electrons tend to come from coal rather than renewables. Demand and price are both highest in the evening, when people are home and the grid is under maximum load while renewables are tapering off. Allowing people to charge their vehicle for the same price at all of these times divorces the consumer cost of electricity from the demand. The result? With a fixed charging cost, grid operators lose some of their ability to incentivize people to charge their vehicles at a time that best aligns with grid performance or carbon cost of electricity.

The actual impact of this shift will depend on how many chargers EVCS ultimately adds to its network and how popular the subscription model becomes.

“We've had that question come up and we've thought a lot about [the question of] whether the grid can keep pace with EV adoption,” he says.

But for now, EVCS is banking on the idea that getting more people into electric vehicles is a good thing for society. Even if charging doesn’t always take place at an optimal time.

“Our main focus is lowering the barriers on adoption–making it as simple as we possibly can,” says Johnson. “The plan is to become one of the leading charging networks on the West Coast.”

This story has been updated to reflect EVCS' new recommendations for its unlimited charging subscription plan.

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NASA’s JPL Receives Billions to Begin Understanding Our Solar System

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

NASA’s JPL Receives Billions to Begin Understanding Our Solar System
Evan Xie

NASA’s footprint in California is growing as the agency prepares for Congress to approve its proposed 2024 budget.

The overall NASA budget swelled 6% from the prior year, JPL deputy director Larry James told dot.LA. He added he sees that as a continuation of the last two presidential administrations’ focus on modernizing and bolstering the nation’s space program.

The money goes largely to existing NASA centers in California, including the Pasadena-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory run with Caltech, Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley and Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base.

California remains a hotspot for NASA space activity and investment. In 2021, the agency estimated its economic output impact on the region to be around $15.2 billion. That was far more than its closest competing states, including Texas ($9.3 billion) and Maryland (roughly $8 billion). That same year, NASA reported it employed over 66,000 people in California.

“In general, Congress has been very supportive” of the JPL and NASA’s missions, James said. “It’s generally bipartisan [and] supported by both sides of the aisle. In the last few years in general NASA has been able to have increased budgets.”

There are 41 current missions run by JPL and CalTech, and another 16 scheduled for the future. James added the new budget is “an incredible support for all the missions we want to do.”

The public-private partnership between NASA and local space companies continues to evolve, and the increased budget could be a boon for LA-based developers. Numerous contractors for NASA (including CalTech, which runs the JPL), Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX and Northrop Grumman all stand to gain new contracts once the budget is finalized, partly because NASA simply needs the private industry’s help to achieve all its goals.

James said that there was only one JPL mission that wasn’t funded – a mission to send an orbital satellite to survey the surface and interior of Venus, called VERITAS.

NASA Employment and Output ImpactEvan Xie

The Moon and Mars

Much of the money earmarked in the proposed 2024 budget is for crewed missions. Overall, NASA’s asking for $8 billion from Congress to fund lunar exploration missions. As part of this, the majority is earmarked for the upcoming Artemis mission, which aims to land a woman and person of color on the Moon’s south pole.

While there’s a number of high-profile missions the JPL is working on that are focused on Mars, including Mars Sample Return project (which received $949 million in this proposed budget) and Ingenuity helicopter and Perseverance rover, JPL also received significant funding to study the Earth’s climate and behavior.

JPL also got funding for several projects to map our universe. One is the SphereX Near Earth Objects surveyor mission, the goal of which is to use telescopes to “map the entire universe,” James said, adding that the mission was fully funded.

International Space Station

NASA’s also asking for more money to maintain the International Space Station (ISS), which houses a number of projects dedicated to better understanding the Earth’s climate and behavior.

The agency requested roughly $1.3 billion to maintain the ISS. It also is increasing its investment in space flight support, in-space transportation and commercial development of low-earth orbit (LEO). “The ISS is an incredible platform for us,” James said.

James added there are multiple missions outside or on board the ISS now taking data, including EMIT, which launched in July 2022. The EMIT mission studies arid dust sources on the planet using spectroscopy. It uses that data to remodel how mineral dust movement in North and South America might affect the Earth’s temperature changes.

Another ISS mission JPL launched is called ECOSTRESS. The mission sent a thermal radiometer onto the space station in June 2018 to monitor how plants lose water through their leaves, with the goal of figuring out how the terrestrial biosphere reacts to changes in water availability. James said the plan is to “tell you the kind of foliage health around the globe” from space.

One other ISS project is called Cold Atom Lab. It is “an incredible fundamental physics machine,” James said, that’s run by “three Nobel Prize winners as principal investigators on the Space Station.” Cold Atom Lab is a physics experiment geared toward figuring out how quantum phenomena behave in space by cooling atoms with lasers to just below absolute zero degrees.

In the long term, James was optimistic NASA’s imaging projects could lead to more dramatic discoveries. Surveying the makeup of planets’ atmospheres is a project “in the astrophysics domain we’re very excited about,” James said. He added that this imaging could lead to information about life on other planets, or, at the very least, an understanding of why they’re no longer habitable.


Behind Her Empire: Margaret Wishingrad On Creating A Low Sugar Cereal Brand

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Behind Her Empire: Margaret Wishingrad On Creating A Low Sugar Cereal Brand
Provided by BHE

On this episode of Behind Her Empire, Three Wishes founder and CEO Margaret Wishingrad talks about creating brand awareness and shares the key component to running a successful business.

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If Angelenos Don’t Seize the Curb, They Risk Losing Sidewalk Dining

Maylin Tu
Maylin Tu is a freelance writer who lives in L.A. She writes about scooters, bikes and micro-mobility. Find her hovering by the cheese at your next local tech mixer.
Connie Llanos, Jordan Justus and Gene Oh
Justin Janes, Vizeos Media

Three years ago, Los Angeles went into lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, cities like L.A. are struggling to hold on to pandemic-era transportation and infrastructure changes, like sidewalk dining and slow streets, while managing escalating demand for curb space from rideshare and delivery.

At Curbivore, a conference dedicated to “commerce at the curb” held earlier this month in downtown Los Angeles, the topic was “Grading on a Curb: The State of our Streets & Cities in 2023,” a panel moderated by Drew Grant, editorial director for dot.LA.

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