Fast Charging 2011 Nissan LeafEnlarge Photo
There has been a large amount of commentary around electric cars, charging capabilities and the role of your local utility. The question that continues to come up is whether utilities can handle electric cars in mass quantities. That question isn’t just directed at the power grid, which is where you will see a lot of the commentary center around. Recently, an article on our partner site, AllCarsElectric.com, highlighted why you also have to check you bill when you do start charging an electric car at your home. It also reminded consumers that there may be different charging rates available from you utility when you prove to them that you own a qualifying electric vehicle.
The first part is something I hadn’t thought about in the electric vehicle equation—the rate at which you will be charged for charging your electric car. If you aren’t up on the Smart Grid or Smart Meter conversation, then you might want to check it out, but beware of the hype of negativity that goes with it. Really what you need to know is that Smart Meters allow for a utility to charge you different rates for usage during different on or off peak hours. This also lets them offer consumers a discount for charging say an electric vehicle on off-peak hours. This is where you have to be up on your bill and charging structure.
As detailed in our partner sites article: Electric-Car Warning: Check Your Utility Bill Carefully!, a utility might be offering you a solution for charging your electric car, but that doesn’t mean that they have it all figured out. There is still an element of Caveat Emptor. So if you are looking to buy an electric car be sure you do a little bit of extra research. Some things to look at: Does your utility offer discounts for electric car owners, what restrictions are there on electric car charging, i.e. off-peak hours, smart meter installation, etc. and do you need to fill out any special paper work to get the discount. Then if you move ahead, make sure to check your bill for the rate savings—the report from AllCarsElectric.com said that the bill difference for one consumer was $125 in one month—and that is pretty significant.
Be sure to check out the full Electric-Car Warning over at AllCarsElectric.com.