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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is for Volt owners in Southern California, specifically those who buy their electricity from SCE.

What rate plan are you using??? When I crunch the numbers it never seems to make sense economically to run a Volt in electric mode - because the cost of electricity here is very high.

The SCE tiers on our current home plan are 17, 25, and 35 cents per kwh. A 2015 Volt has a 17.1 kwh pack but must not use much of it because the EPA rating is 35kwh/100miles. 38 miles range -> 13.3kwh. Unclear if the EPA included charging efficiency in that figure. Let's assume no and a charging efficiency of 80% it needs 16.6 kwh to "fill it up". At the rates cited that comes to $2.82, $4.15, and $5.81. Except it doesn't really because there are all sorts of fees and taxes tacked on. The only time we stay within the first tier now is in months where we never run the A/C. So winter months only. Anyway, that buys ~38 miles of travel. That model gets about 40 mpg in the city, but it needs premium gas, which is around $4.00/gal right now. 40 ~= 38. So _maybe_ it would make sense to charge it in the winter, but the savings (if any) versus using gas would be negligible.

If we had solar panels it might make sense to charge it. (But we don't have solar panels.)

There is an electric vehicle rate of 13c/kwh but it needs a second meter and a bunch of wiring, and since I only drive around 6k miles a year it would take forever to amortize that.

There are time of use rates that drop to a pretty reasonable 12-13c/kwh at night. However unless we charged the car a lot we would be in TOU-D-A which has a brutal 47c/kwh 2-8pm rate in the summer, right when the A/C is most needed.

I see Volts all over the place and assume that it must be cheaper for at least some of them to plug in. Under what conditions is that actually the case? Or maybe my numbers are way off on the energy needed to charge up a Volt?

On a related note, the prices I have have been able to find for charging at commercial charging points always seem to come out much higher than just buying an equivalent amount of gas. Am I missing something?

Thanks.
 

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TOU works pretty good for me, bit of a hassle but depends on your situation.

Get solar! If you spend over $150 a month then solar would pay for itself. Did for me.

I would still charge the car if gas was cheaper than electric, green planet etc.

Also more fun to drive.
 

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I have never looked at buying an electric car as a means of "saving money." I bought it so I could stop using gas. Oil companies want you to look at buying an electric car as a "financial" decision instead of the real reason to buy one, ie. as an "environmental" decision. If they keep you thinking about the money instead of the environment, they can sway you in to buying a gas guzzling SUV for the same price as an environmentally conscious Volt or Bolt. You don't need the SUV, but financially it's a wash compared to the $42k Volt or Bolt, so clearly the electric car is overpriced and you are better off buying the SUV. That's what they want you to think.

Needless to say, electricity costs money. Well, so does gas. The question is, which one is worse for the environment? Burning electricity, or burning gas? If it's a wash financially, you burn the electricity. If it costs more money to use electricity, you still burn electricity because you buy an electric car to stop burning gas. Burn gas when absolutely necessary, ie. long trips, but for the majority of your daily driving you should burn as much electricity as you can before burning gas.
 

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If you are a customer of PG&E, SCE, or SDG&E in CA with an EV or PHEV, and not already participating in a Demand-Response program called OhmConnect, you are missing out on a chance to make an estimated $600 to $1000 per year, after about a year of participation. Check it out here if interested. There have been a lot of growing pains with the company, but I've made almost $2000 in 3 years. The key is to have heavy demand for a couple hours per day and the flexibility to shift the time of usage to meet the needs of the grid. With an EV, you can more than offset all your charging costs -- same as getting your energy at zero cost.
 

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The Gen 1 Volt has a usable battery soc window of ~65% of the full capacity, or ~11.5 kWh of your 2015 Volt’s 17.1 kWh capacity battery. You need to pull from the wall ~120% of the kWh Used to recharge the battery (includes charging losses), or ~13.8 kWh from the wall for a fully depleted battery. At $0.25/kWh, that’s ~$3.45 for a full charge.

You can use Mountain Mode to put ~4 bars of power into a Gen 1 Volt's depleted battery. If you could fully recharge the Gen 1 battery via MM, it would use ~1 gallon of gas to do it. At $4/gallon, that’s $4 for a full charge (~11.5 kWh of usable power, or $0.35/kWh of usable power).

Big difference between time of use rates and tiered rates. You can control the time of day during which you use electricity for some items, but you can’t control the cost of any particular item’s consumption of electricity when using tiered rates except by sequencing the order in which it consumes the electricity.

IOW, if you plug in your Volt early in the tier consumption quantity measuring period, you could say you’re paying Tier 1 consumption rates to charge the car. If you plug in your Volt after you’ve already consumed enough electricity to move into Tier 2 rates, your charging costs are billed at that more expensive level. If you don’t plug in your Volt until your consumption has moved into the Tier 3 levels, your charging will be billed at the Tier 3 rate level. And... are those Tier levels for daily usage? Weekly? Monthly?

Some people with tiered rates think of their Volt charging costs as a newest addition to existing consumption, i.e., no matter what time of day they actually charge the car, their Volt charging usage increases their total usage, so the cost of charging is at the top Tier rate they use. If the total bill includes Tier 3 usage, and if the kWh Used to charge the Volt equals or exceeds the Tier 3 kWh usage, then they are paying Tier 3 rates to charge their Volt.
 

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I use the SCE TOU-EV-1 rate at home so it's pretty inexpensive to charge off peak. I installed the separate meter and wiring myself so it only cost me about $300 in parts and permit expenses. My employer offers free charging so my commute home is mostly paid for.

That being said, the rule of thumb that I use is to take the $/kWh rate and multiply by 10, then compare to the cost per gallon of the gas you use. You pick the less expensive of those two. For example, if I see a Chargepoint station that's $0.50/kWh (x10=$5) I know that more than gas at $3.95 currently so I pass on charging. But if I find one at $0.25/kWh (x10=$2.50) I would go ahead and pay to charge.
 

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SCE's TOU-D-B rate is $0.13/kWh (Oct-May) and $0.12/kWh (June-Sept) during Super Off-Peak hours (10PM-8AM). A separate meter is not required. We also run the washer/dryer and dishwasher during Super Off-Peak hours to make the TOU plan even more cost-effective.

As for Volt operating costs, electrons are cheaper than gas molecules... approx. $0.05/mile on electric vs $0.10/mile on gas.
 

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Regarding your comment about seeing Volts everywhere and assuming it must be cheaper... I thought a big incentive in Cal. is the HOV lane access. I would assume a lot of people buy the car for that reason alone, regardless of the operating cost issue.
 

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The Volt is cheap to run either way, I'm paying 21.4 cents/KW in MA which makes the cost per mile about 6 cents on either gas or electric when you use the EPA range and MPG numbers. However running on battery is much better than running on gas, the electric motors are silent, the ICE isn't, and the electric motors have more HP than the ICE. Also if you do mostly non-highway driving then the Volt gets cheaper to run on gas, I get 70 miles of range in the summer, which for you in CA is all year round, but only 45MPG when I use the gas engine.
 

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There is an electric vehicle rate of 13c/kwh but it needs a second meter and a bunch of wiring, and since I only drive around 6k miles a year it would take forever to amortize that.
Really? Installing a new meter should be a few hundred dollars, unless you need to run wires a long distance or there are other site-specific issues that make it a challenging installation. At $0.47/KWh for the highest summer rate, you'd make that back pretty quickly.

If you're considering buying a Volt, you might also consider installing a 240V EVSE. You could ask an electrician to provide a quote for installing both and perhaps save a little by getting them both done at once. (Keep in mind that some EVSEs just need a 240V outlet, rather than being hard wired, which has its advantages.)
 

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You guys are under it in SoCal especially considering it is supposed to be an "friend to environment" state. We pay 9 cents a KWh (12 if use is over a set amount) versus 5.89 a US gallon for gas, and although we don't have any HOV lanes, our charging stations are free (L2). Even at that I won't save a lot of money (retired) and anything I do won't making any difference to anything. I just wanted to drive an EV car that could be bought at a reasonable price and still be able to take it on vacation where dinosaur bones are more common than charging stations (guess where that is).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Really? Installing a new meter should be a few hundred dollars, unless you need to run wires a long distance or there are other site-specific issues that make it a challenging installation.
I know what you mean, but those low costs only really apply when the master panel is quite near the EV charging outlet, as in, both in the garage, and there is easy access.

That isn't my situation at all.

The utility drop is on the back wall of the house to a master panel where the current meter is located. That sends power 3 ways: to a subpanel for the house circuits, to the A/C unit, and to nowhere. (It used to be for the circuit that controlled the sprinklers. If we ever do put on solar panels, that is where it will be coming in.) A new circuit would have to run from there all the way across the house to the garage. Not sure what the distance is but it is the longest possible path across the house. The walls are all plaster on sheetrock. The electrical feed to the clothes dryer outlet in the garage goes through flexible metal conduit under the house and then up into the garage wall, then about 8 feet laterally and 2 feet up within the wall to the outlet.

So I believe that putting in a second meter and then running a new circuit is going to be way more than a couple of hundred dollars. It would be vastly easier to put a switch of some sort on the dryer outlet and use it for both its original purpose and charging an EV. (Obviously not both at the same time, hence the switch!) Now if SCE would let me put a meter in the garage between that switch and the EV outlet, and would subtract that power from the main one, then great. I don't think that is how it works though.
 

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I know what you mean, but those low costs only really apply when the master panel is quite near the EV charging outlet, as in, both in the garage, and there is easy access.

That isn't my situation at all.

The utility drop is on the back wall of the house to a master panel where the current meter is located. That sends power 3 ways: to a subpanel for the house circuits, to the A/C unit, and to nowhere. (It used to be for the circuit that controlled the sprinklers. If we ever do put on solar panels, that is where it will be coming in.) A new circuit would have to run from there all the way across the house to the garage. Not sure what the distance is but it is the longest possible path across the house. The walls are all plaster on sheetrock. The electrical feed to the clothes dryer outlet in the garage goes through flexible metal conduit under the house and then up into the garage wall, then about 8 feet laterally and 2 feet up within the wall to the outlet.

So I believe that putting in a second meter and then running a new circuit is going to be way more than a couple of hundred dollars. It would be vastly easier to put a switch of some sort on the dryer outlet and use it for both its original purpose and charging an EV. (Obviously not both at the same time, hence the switch!) Now if SCE would let me put a meter in the garage between that switch and the EV outlet, and would subtract that power from the main one, then great. I don't think that is how it works though.
No, you're right, that's not how it works. The meter would be between the utility wires and the charging station. It would most likely be installed at the back of the house (presumably next to the existing meter), and new wires would have to be run to the garage.

As I understand it, the cable would not have to go inside the sheetrock. It could go under the house just like the wires for the dryer outlet. Or possibly inside conduit mounted along the outside of the house (which wouldn't be attractive, but it would also be on the back and maybe side of the house, not the front, so who would see it?). These would be cheaper than fishing cable through walls.
 

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When electric rates are over .25 cent per KWH, remember all those taxes and fees that most forget, to go 52 miles per EPA on electric and 16KWH for a full charge, includes 2 KWH for charging loss: would be $4.00, on reg gas at $2.75 per gal., at EPA of 42 MPG, to go 52 miles would be $3.40 to drive 52 miles on gas, gas wins here.
 

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pasadena_commut seems like there have been a number of threads on this topic, if you search you should be able to find them.

Where we live the rates are the same at all hours of the day.
I did play with the Volt options to charge at specific times to understand how they worked and experience what it is like to use them.
To delay charging until midnight, then expect to get up in the morning and be fully charged you really need a level 2 charge plug.
Another way of saying this is, if you expect to charge in a 6-7 hour charge window, it takes a level 2 charger.

This year I put in a level 2 charger in the garage. All my previous charging experience at home was with level 1 chargers. I sort of got in the mode of using electric driving during the day and then plugging it in over night and it would be fully charged the next day.

The cost of e-fuel is most certainly cheaper for us.
Our other gas vehicles get either 16 or 20 mpg in the city. (average mpg across all vehicles is 21 mpg)
So a rough comparison would be 2 gallons of gas to go 40 miles & at $2.75/ gal for a total of $5.50

2013/2014 Volts: 16.5 kWh x 66% = 10.9 kWh usable
My Volt allows me to use 10.9 kwh of energy in the pack.
So, I have to put 10.9 kwh into the pack.
I will use 85% efficiency for charging which I have measured, and I know this can go drop to 80% if ambient gets too hot or cold.
Energy required to put 10.9 kwhr back into the batteries = 10.9 kwhr * 1.15 = 12.5 kwhr
Typical Cost to fill battery pack from emtpy= 12.5 kwhr * 11 cents / kwhr = $1.375

Cost to go 40 miles using our ICE = $5.50
Cost to go 40 miles using Volt in EV mode = $1.375

So, if I was using gasoline, this cost would be $1.375 / 2 gals or 68.75 cents per gallon.
I might then say, it is like paying 68.75 cents per gallon to drive the Volt in EV mode.

Ultimately pure EV (Battery only) total cost of ownership will be less than combustion vehicles, and indications are that this point is being crossed about now.

However, I must also back up the sentiment expressed here in the forum that this is about way more than HOV lanes, and saving fuel costs.
There is a big picture view here that we must be paying attention to and this is why I am moving to and driving EV's.
All the people here driving EV's in this day and time are mavericks, early adopters, those willing to move away from what everyone else is doing.
This takes a little guts to do, so I respect them for that.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Here:

https://www.driveclean.ca.gov/Calculate_Savings/Incentives.php

one finds a $450 rebate from SCE which should apply to the Volt. It can be applied 3 times (once for each new owner) to the same vehicle. This is interesting because the Federal and State rebate programs are only for new vehicles. It isn't exactly a plan, but it is essentially a decrease in the cost of "fueling" the car with electricity, so it is sort of the same thing. Note that you cannot claim it until you have paid the registration. (So if the previous owner paid it recently, you might need to wait almost a year to claim it.)

The page also indicates that Farmers and Travelers insurance offer a 10% rebate on hybrids and electric vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
As I understand it, the cable would not have to go inside the sheetrock. It could go under the house just like the wires for the dryer outlet. Or possibly inside conduit mounted along the outside of the house (which wouldn't be attractive, but it would also be on the back and maybe side of the house, not the front, so who would see it?). These would be cheaper than fishing cable through walls.
There is an enormous PDF on the SCE site which describes the options for wiring in a charging station. To get the EV rate a second meter is always needed. That would require either another panel (with a separate drop) or replacing the existing master panel with a dual meter panel. Then, either way, running another cable under the house to the garage and up through the wall there.

Odd that SCE doesn't offer something like the "Dryer Buddy" to tap the existing dryer outlet, hardwired to a charging station, with its own meter measuring just the current that goes to the charger. As with the current situation, they would still have to read both meters, but how hard can it be to subtract one value from the other to determine the usage on each billing rate? It would cost a heck of a lot less to put that in, entirely contained to the garage, than all this mucking around with the main panel. (Yes, I know we could not run the dryer at the same time as the charger. That would not be a problem.) That said, I'm not entirely sure that devices like the "Dryer Buddy" satisfy all the sections of the electrical code. That tends to frown on putting extender devices and extra junctions on high current lines. So perhaps that is the limitation.
 

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Get solar done.
3300 sqft home + large pool + desert living + 3 EV vehicles in the family.
I get paid $71 at the end of the year from SCE...
 
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