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.
quote: At $0.10 per kWh the Volt (on electric) costs about 2.2 cents per mile.
quote: The LEAF and probably the Tesla vehicles suffer from this deficiency in particular. Due to their longer range, they have larger capacity batteries. That means to get charging efficiencies >70%, they need charging times on the order of 20+ hours.