One thing which will be somewhat of an unknown at first for new electric car owners are the electricity rates they will be paying to their utility company while the car is hooked up to special chargers. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is one utility looking to figure out exactly what those rates might be, recently gaining approval from the California Public Utilities Commission for new “experimental rates” as part of a study.
These new SDG&E experimental rates, which will go into effect January 1, 2011 and last at the latest through Nov. 30, 2012, are being done in collaboration with electric car infrastructure company EcoTality. The guinea pigs for this study will be the first 1,000 purchasers of Nissan’s Leaf electric car in San Diego, who will be given free home car charging equipment. The stated goal of this study, according to the CPUC, is to “benefit California’s understanding of how electric vehicles interact with the electric grid.” It is believed that “greater variations in time-varying pricing, together with the use of accommodative vehicle technology, will shift more charging activity to off-peak periods.”
“The Study will help the state better understand the impacts of different rate structures on how and when customers charge electric vehicles,” said CPUC President Michael R. Peevey in a statement. “This information is critically important as we contemplate a future with widespread electric vehicle usage, given the additional electricity demand these vehicles create and the associated impacts on the grid. Studies like this can help facilitate a smooth transition as increasing numbers of electric vehicles enter the market.”