Print 60 comment(s) - last by Cypherdude1.. on Aug 14 at 11:02 PM

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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Did I miss something?
By Dr of crap on 8/11/2010 1:14:54 PM , Rating: 3
I'm certain I heard that some are getting a charger with the Volt, or that the first so many are getting the charger for free from GM.
I'm not sure about the Leaf.
But I'm sure each has it's own hookup / connection for you to use. How then is this utility going to give you a charger to use if the charger needs to match up to the car that you are getting?
And Why would I go to the electric company to get this?
I'd go to the place that makes the car, or someplace that specializes in this kind of thing - which would not be the local electric company.
And why do I need to inform them that I am now going to charge up my electric car over night?
The electric usage CANNOT be that high!
I'm not sure of my cents per KW, how do you others even care about this, but I know I wouldn't be paying that much here in the northland - God's country!
Oh, and by the way - I have done the math - I wouldn't buy either the Volt or Leaf.
For two reasons
1 - cost - it takes way to long to break even compared to a gas burner
2 - the batteries don't work so well in -20°F temps!

RE: Did I miss something?
By Ananke on 8/11/2010 3:52:05 PM , Rating: 2

1. Batteries have to be replaced, if you want an electric car to have some re-sale value. That replacement, which is out of warranty, is 15-20k per car plus labor. Which makes electric cars having NO residual value - if you break even, it will need a century against an economy class sedan like Honda, Toyota etc.

2. Because of electronic complexity and desire to keep your car warranty, all works have to be done at a dealer :). Dealer charge rates are not the same as your personal car mechanic charge rates...And honestly, the majority of electrinics is placed intentionally, to make out-of-dealer repairs immpossible.

p.p. I am close to this business with friends at Tesla, car dealers, Toyota, etc...

RE: Did I miss something?
By namechamps on 8/11/2010 4:21:20 PM , Rating: 2
Batteries last 10 years. Batteries are 10K - 15K now.... what do you think they will be in a a decade.

2. Because of electronic complexity and desire to keep your car warranty, all works have to be done at a dealer"

Not true. Federal law prohibits that. Of course given EV are relatively new you might not find any non-dealer who can do electric motor or battery pack repairs/replacement. Still things like brakes, shocks, alignment, air conditioner, etc are pretty standard. Federal law prohibits auto makers from requiring work to be done at dealership as a condition of honoring warranty. It has been that way for 40 years now.

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