This is the (HUGE) problem with free fast charging programs offered for BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf. They offer 30 minutes of free fast charging for a year or two. Since fast charging is free, the drivers use up all the time they can, whether they need it or not. This results in waiting in line, sometimes for hours, for everyone. Since Nissan Leaf is most widely available EV, they cause the most problem. Compounding the problem is Leaf's slow DCFC rate.
They have 79% state of charge (SoC)? Plug it into DCFC and wait 30 minutes to get 95% SoC. Then plug it in again for 30 minutes to get to 99% SoC. Then plug it in again and go shopping for yet another 30 minutes to get 100% SoC, never mind that 100% was reached after 5 minutes. Hey, they are entitled to 30 minutes, and it's free. Why not?
Above is an extreme example, of course. But the problem is that every charging session becomes 30 minutes instead of 5 or 10 minutes of pick me up. Now multiply this 30 minutes by every Leaf and i3 owner, and you can see the problem. Why charge with L2 when 30 min DCFC is free? Who cares if DCFC is only charging at 1kW when 30 min DCFC is free? Why charge at home or at work when 30 min DCFC is free? Why wait until I'm below 80% when 30 min DCFC is free?
WHY CHARGE AT ANYWHERE ELSE OR ANYTHING LESS THAN 30 MINUTES WHEN 30 MIN DCFC IS FREE?
The problem is made worse by Leaf's slow charging. If it would charge like SparkEV (45kW to 80%, taper to 9kW at 99%), guys who plug in with 80% SoC may be done after 10 minutes. But with charging slowing down so quickly, I've never seen a Leaf reach 100% SoC on DCFC. This means every DCFC by "no charge to charge" result in 30 minutes of waiting.
Meanwhile, guys who have to pay (SparkEV, eGolf, etc) pay attention to how we're charging. DCFC is 6 times more expensive than L2, so it's better to disconnect and use L2 when it gets slower than 40kW (6.6kW * 6) or 20kW for 3.3kW L2 chargers like SparkEV. Also, MPGe could cost more than 1 MPG gas car if we let it sit. Basically, EV that pay to charge do not hog the charger, because there's penalty for doing so. That penalty can be very steep if we let it sit.
If there are enough chargers to go around, this is not a problem. But at key places like intercity areas such as "Shops" in Mission Viejo or Carlsbad Mall to get to LA/OC/SD, they are almost always occupied, even at late night. This makes for waiting for 2 or 3 Leafs before being able to charge, sometimes 2 hours of waiting.
Following are some personal experiences. One Leaf was charging at less than 2 kW with 10 minutes left to go at Carlsbad mall with 3 other cars waiting. Another Leaf at "Shops" was charging at 3 kW with 2 other cars waiting. Another Leaf at San Diego was charging at 4 kW at 95% with 1 other car waiting. You can read about how I determine the rate by reading my previous post.
Here's a quote from plugshare comment.
"Great selection of charge plugs. The 50W CHAEDMO stooped charging at 85%. We needed more and charged second time. Starbucks in walking distance."
Obviously, she charged for 30 min to 85%, then another 30 min (to 95%?) while away at Starbucks! I have to wonder if she knew she's charging slower than L2, and whether there were others waiting, or they saw that it's occupied and left in frustration. She could've saved others' time by switching to L2. I don't know if Leaf would charge as high as 6.6kW using L2 at 85%SoC, but it certainly wouldn't take any more time than DCFC. But hey, DCFC is free, why not hog the spot?
If you're coming fresh into EV, you hear "30 minutes fast charge!" and think that it'll be 30 minutes. But when 30 minutes typically turn into 1.5 hours (wait for 2 other cars ahead with "no charge to charge"), it makes for sour EV experience, especially when you really need it for those rare intercity travel. It gets very frustrating. Am I going to get another EV, even the upcoming 200 miles range one, and put up with this crap or just get a gas car?
If I'm a conspiracy theory kind of a guy, I'd say Nissan and BMW are deliberately trying to kill EV adoption by giving "no charge to charge".
As much as I hate free stuff causing shortages, they could've implemented as "free to 80% SoC". That way, only the fast charging portion of fast charging would be free. It would also discourage abuse by those charging at 90% SoC to try to get to 100%. But of course, there may be other issues, such as regulatory hurdle in only allowing pricing by time, and pricing by energy to be illegal. So maybe there is bigger conspiracy by the government along with Nissan and BMW to kill EV adoption with "no charge to charge" program.
Edit 2015 Oct. 17
As I was pulling in to charge, there was a Leaf that just plugged into dual charger and the driver ready to leave to go shop. Meanwhile, the dedicated Chademo was left empty. I politely explained how there's dual head and asked her if she can move the car so I don't have to wait 30 minutes for her car to finish. She said she just plugged in, and didn't feel like moving the car! I was going to dish it, but I didn't want to make a scene.
After she left, I saw her Leaf's state of charge in the beginning: 76%! It started out quick enough, but soon it was charging at 16kW. At 90%, it was charging less than 6 kW (taking over 6 seconds for 0.01kWh as shown in the video) with 11 minutes left to go. This is slower than L2 charging speed while she's taking dual-head fast charge spot.
"I'm entitled to free 30 minutes. Whether I'm charging slower than L2 using dual head fast charger when I could've used Chademo doesn't matter. I'll take this spot even if I don't charge!"
Meanwhile, a Kia SoulEV pulled into Chademo only slot after about 20 minutes into her charging. Few minutes after I started my charge, another Leaf pulled up. Then the offending Leaf driver came back to move her car some 40 minutes later. Because she wasted 30 minutes of my time, second Leaf now has to wait for me to charge. I go to 80% (it gets expensive beyond that), so it only took 16 minutes. Had the offending Leaf moved her car to Chademo charger in the beginning by spending 2 minutes, I would've saved 30 minutes, the next Leaf would've saved 16 minutes. Senseless waiting all around.
THANK YOU LEAF FOR NO CHARGE TO TAKE FAST CHARGE SPOT WHILE SLOW CHARGING!
Free charging is not only bad, but it fosters non-caring and entitlement attitude. This can only go bad to worse for EV adoption.