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N.C. Electric Cooperatives Prepare for Electric Vehicle Charging Loads

Costs for electric vehicles (EVs) are coming down, according to at least two recent reports, and market share is expected to increase. Batteries currently account for about half the price of EVs, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and dropping battery costs means that by 2025, EVs will be cheaper to buy than conventional vehicles. For Europeans, the actual cost of EV ownership will equal that of a conventional vehicle as soon as next year, according to analysis from UBS.

Given this, several North Carolina electric cooperatives are thinking proactively about the shift and taking steps to become effective vehicle-fuel providers for members driving EVs.

Lower battery costs should make EVs more affordable than conventional vehicles by 2025.Piedmont Electric introduced an EV rate earlier this month designed to encourage EV owners to charge their cars at night when demand is low. Whereas the EV rate summer on-peak charges are 33.69 cents per kWh, off-peak are only 6.14 cents per kWh, and “super off-peak” charges–for power used between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.–are a mere 2.79 cents per kWh.

In the five counties served by Randolph EMC, 236 EVs are registered with the DMV. At its annual meeting later this month, the co-op plans to roll out the Randolph EMC Electric Vehicle Utility Program (REVUP) to its full membership. The program is meant to be a first step to gauge the impact of EVs on the co-op’s system, including charging patterns and trends.

Through a REVUP pilot program, 25 members can receive a $500 rebate towards the purchase of a Wi-Fi enabled, Level 2 charging station in exchange for access to charging data. Members may also sign up for the optional Plug N2 Savings Rate, a three-tiered time-of-use rate meant to encourage members to charge their EV during off-peak times.

Wake Electric sees a lot of potential for EV growth in its primarily suburban service territory. It began offering a time-of-use EV rate in January 2014, with 26 members currently using it. Other electric co-ops around the state are offering members EV workshops and public charging stations. Brunswick Electric, for example, currently has two public fast chargers and three type-2 chargers throughout its service territory, with plans for more in the works.

More information about the cooperatives’ efforts to support EVs is featured in the February issue of RE Magazine.

 

Lower battery costs should make EVs more affordable than conventional vehicles by 2025.

 

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