Near-term monetization also threatens needed expansion of charging infrastructure, as the early installations become underutilized. It is already ironic enough that the two companies pushing monetization as the necessary component for a successful rollout of public charging infrastructure have taken the lion’s share of the public funding in order to develop their “free market” solution. It would be doubly ironic if low usage caused by early monetization resulted in insignificant amounts of revenue suggesting a poorer profitability picture than projected creating an impediment to necessary further expansion of both public charging stations and their own business.
The federal funding should have come with strings attached. For a certain period, say two to five years, the electricity should just flow. No connecting to a network, no payment. The host - the city parking garage or shopping mall - would agree to cover the cost of electricity in exchange for the charging unit and all the green cred and good will they can muster. After a few years, with lots of experience, let the hosts decide if they want to monetize. At that point hopefully there will be enough plug-in cars around that they will no longer be a novelty needing explaining, and we will actually want to discourage purely opportunistic public charging to ensure their availability when someone really needs the juice. At that point, we'll all be willing to pay.
But if PlugShare catches on, we may not have to.