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Hey, Electric-Car Owners, Utilities Want Your Feedback!

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2011 Chevrolet Volt plugged into Coulomb Technologies 240V wall charging unit

2011 Chevrolet Volt plugged into Coulomb Technologies 240V wall charging unit

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Electric cars are getting a lot of press these days.

But much of it omits the experience and viewpoints of the people closest to plug-in electric cars: the owners who paid actual money for them and drive them every day.

Now, a group representing electric utilities is surveying plug-in buyers to gather data on their experiences, desires, and passion.

Today's electric-car users users and enthusiasts are powerful “experts” in talking to other people about the vehicles and how they fit into their daily lives.

The ultimate goal is to use the survey data to capture and promote the real-world, emotionally-connected experiences of driving plug-in vehicles.

Or as electric-car advocate Chelsea Sexton puts it, "the fun, cool, convenient aspects that have been missing from many of the ads and 'educational campaigns' for electric cars" so far.

Long-term, the hope is to amplify the promotional efforts of owners and advocates, to offer suggestions in how to get the best messages out more broadly, and to create tools that will make talking to friends, neighbors, and the random curious folks in parking lots even easier and more informative.

The survey is being conducted on behalf of the Edison Electric Institute, a group that represents publicly-traded electric utilities in the U.S.

The institute is starting to plan a campaign to generate consumer interest in the benefits of plug-in electric vehicles, and in using electricity--the product that they sell--as a vehicle fuel.

If you own a plug-in vehicle, or consider yourself an electric-car advocate, you can take the survey here.

Owners and advocates are also encouraged to share the link among their own networks of friends, associates, and interested future buyers.

The survey, says Sexton, is just "the first step in an ongoing engagement with the community," but its results will help to set early priorities for the planned campaign.

Most electric-car advocates we know will happily share their experiences and opinions with anyone and everyone. Here's a chance to do so that will generate actual data that can help a greater effort.

Go to it, plug-in owners and advocates!

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Comments (10)
  1. 10 to 20 minutes (depending on how long it takes for personal comments) of your time to be heard, What a deal!!
     
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  2. i agree. anything to help the snowball down.
     
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  3. Really? The utility companies have only just spotted the revenue being pulled in by the oil companies... Only now guys? Welcome to 2012.

    btw: I hope the power companies make a killing!
     
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  4. I guess that depends on Utility companies. PG&E in Northern California is NOT exactly interested in EVs. They don't have real benefit for EV owners. Their E9-A is a scam where tier-3 will cost $0.50 per KWh. Sure you can charge off peak for $0.11/KWhr, but your regular home electricity will have peak usage wehre you would have to pay $0.50/KWh. So, I choose to stay on regular flat rate and pay $0.33/KWh for it. It just gives me more incentive to install Solar panels to offset the power (in turn reduce the PG&E revenue even farther)...

    Utility company (PG&E) still don't get it yet...
     
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  5. Xialong, sorry to hear PG & E (my old company when we lived in the Bay Area years ago) is so stingy. Here in Michigan, we pay only $.12/kW peak and either $.03 or $.04/kW for off-peak, which is when my Volt charges, of course. So not all public utilities are that bad.

    But like you, I'm looking at installing solar between now and when my Volt lease ends in 2015 and I get something new.
     
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  6. @robok2, I am actually really surprised about that too. I would think PG&E would encourage it since it is take a big slice of the revenue from the oil companies. In a hot tech area of SF/SJ, many tech savy people will be early adopters with EVs. They do have a E9-B plan where they allow you to have 2 seperate meters to track EV usage seperately so you can significantly lower your baseline usage so the household usage is NOT impacted. But that would require 2 meters installation that will cost up to $5k installation. At that point, it is cheaper to go solar.
     
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  7. Interesting. We didn't pay anything for the equipment at all to track the separate usage for the EV/Volt (not starting that discussion again...!). Actually, the EV-rate was more than I stated, but we also are part of aa separate plan to track our overall useage for a different purpose, which brings our rates down to what I stated. The EV charging rate for most is $.077/kWh.

    I just can't imagine why anyone would need $5k for meters...? In that case, solar makes sense.
     
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  8. PG&E only charge $280 for the 2nd meter. $5k is for a new electrical panel (due to the 2nd meter), new wiring and all the permits, plus patching up my stucco wall, running new wiring into the garage from 2nd meter for "designated" charger. A 3KW solar leasing program for 20 yr will only cost me $9k. At that point, it will be cheaper for me to get the solar leasing instead.

    PG&E also has a E9-A plan that you don't need 2nd meter. It lows your off-peak rate to $0.07. But it raises your peak rate (2pm-9pm) to $0.50/kwh at tier-3. With daily EV charging, nobody can stay under Tier-3 for total usage. So rest of your house will be on Tier-3 peak rate for most of the month. And PG&E only allows 1 rate plan switch per year.
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  9. Ah, now I understand and you actually refreshed my failing memory; it was actually about $3,300 to modify my home to allow a 220V charger, but there was a $3,000 credit for the first 2,500 customers, so essentially only about $300.

    I've actually held off on getting the charger since I'm charging to 100% every day, anyway.

    Interesting that PG & E charges by total usage and tiers. Not good, but interesting.
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  10. I was looking at cars, Electric?, or Hybrid?. Then the suns' Solar Flares started. News was saying power grids may go out, all that gloom stuff. Well this helped me make up my mind, and I don't plug in, do not burn gas, maybe $0.50 so far. Had it about 2 weeks now. I love it!!! I kept remembering I had no electricity for about 3 weeks after Katrina. There was no electric anywhere for about 3 weeks, hospitals had it of course, generators.
     
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