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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 knutjb on 8/11/2010 2:13:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So someone gets to pay $2,500 up front in order to pay "only" $30 a month. Really?
quote:
DTE Energy says that customers may be charged up to $2,500 for that. It's unclear
The possible "$2500" charge is because someone's house might not be up to snuff to handle the charger. To run new power lines and install a new panel in an old house is quite expensive. A more recent electrical system with 220 should be much less expensive particularly if the panel is in the garage.

I see this offer kind of like a drug dealer get a discount product on the market and once enough customers are connected the prices begin to rise with the complicity of regulatory boards. Cynical I know, but with so much power from coal...


By Spuke on 8/11/2010 3:02:22 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The possible "$2500" charge is because someone's house might not be up to snuff to handle the charger.
Reading that I'm almost positive that's what the charge is for. Out here in CA, it could be up to $5000. Looked it up once. Yuck.


By namechamps on 8/11/2010 4:02:42 PM , Rating: 2
Well I guess we will see more as it gets closer to real world rollout.

Still even if it is $0 up front and $40 per month for "unlimited" EV power someone above posted that residential rate (total) for MI is $0.125 per kWh.

Lets round up to $0.13. $40 per month / $0.13 per kWh = 307kWh.

You would need to pull >307kWh for that pricing to make sense. Use an average of 5 miles per kWh and that is 1538 miles per month to break even.

Say someone drives a LOT on their EV 2000 miles per month (given limited ranged and long recharge of an EV I think that is unlikely).

So by going $40 plan they get about $12 per month of "free" power. 2000 miles / 5 miles per kWh = 400 kWh * 0.13 =$52 for price of $40.

IF (and it is a big IF) it required $2500 up front to get $12 in free power that is a long time before anyone gets close to break even (over just buying power 1 kWh at a time).

Now maybe it is much cheaper for meter + install but it just seems like the EV unlimited power deal seems to be as good as the "unlimited" internet offered by cellphone providers.


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