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EV charging remains a great question for the burgeoning industry. Michigan's DTE Energy is the first to tackle developing a specialized bill scheme for EVs (Chevy Volt charger is pictured).  (Source: Car Fanatic Forum)
Customers can also opt for cheaper off-peak charging; may have to pay up to $2,500 for high-tech meter

The Tesla Roadster is already prowling the streets while the 2011 Chevy Volt and 2011 Nissan LEAF EV are preparing to launch later this year.  That's familiar news to most, but what might be a little more hazy is how the growing ranks of EVs are getting their power.

Amid all the EV excitement, charging has been one topic that has been decidedly undercovered -- largely due to lack of available information.  However, the Michigan Public Service Commission this week announced that it had approved the state's first experimental rate for residential customers to recharge their EVs.  

Utility DTE Energy Co.'s Detroit Edison unit filed the application.  By having a regimented payment infrastructure and usage monitoring, the utility will be able to better cope with demand and presumably provide customers with more competitive rates than if it left them on their own to install home charging stations and charge off their current connections.

DTE Energy is offering EV customers two options -- either pay a flat rate of $40 per vehicle per month, or sign up for a lower, variable off-peak rate.  The big expense will be the installation of a specialized meter circuit and charging station -- DTE Energy says that customers may be charged up to $2,500 for that.  It's unclear whether automaker-provided chargers will be compatible with DTE's system.

The trial program will run through December 31, 2012 and can cover up to 2,500 consumers.

For moderately heavy drivers (40-100 miles per day), assuming $40/week in gas expenses and the full charging station cost, it looks like customers will start to see savings in about 2 years.  While those savings have a long way to go towards justifying the large cost premiums on the Volt and Leaf, they're a start, at least.

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By Iaiken on 8/11/2010 11:43:25 AM , Rating: 1
Based on my last personal CVA of the Volt (at the $42,000 MSRP), it would take me 178,000 all-electric miles to break even vs a 40mpg class-equivalent.

Due to flying all over the place for business and pleasure, I only put about 9,000 miles on my personal car per year so the Volt would pay for itself in 19 years and 10 months.


Add in the $20,000 markup and the Volt only makes sense for people with money to burn.

By Gungel on 8/11/2010 4:24:01 PM , Rating: 2
That's why GM is leasing it for $350 a month.

By afkrotch on 8/11/2010 9:22:29 PM , Rating: 2
I've put about 3k miles on my car the past 11 years. Wonder how long the volt would pay for itself in my circumstances.

By PlasmaBomb on 8/12/2010 9:06:14 AM , Rating: 2
654 years 6 months?

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