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It will cost me about $.37 per kWh to charge my Volt at work. This is much more expensive than driving on gas. It is unacceptable. PG&E should charge less for power consumed by public chargers so that the owner of the charger can lower the price charged to me.

My two way commute is 54 miles. I thought I would be able to charge at home and then at work. That way I would not use a drop of gas for commuting. That was good for several weeks when the station charged only $1.00 flat. In fact, because charging at work cost only $1 flat, I tried to charge from home only enough to make it to work and then fill up the battery at work with the cheap electricity. Now the building owner says that the price was incorrectly programmed because the station should have also charged by the kWh. Now the station charges $.28 per kWh plus $1.00 per session. I usually draw about 10 kWh per session. All of a sudden, my daily cost goes from $1 to more than $4. As stated above, that equals about $.37 per kWh.

That is more expensive than driving the Volt on gasoline. With premium gas at $4.29 per gallon, the Volt running about 2.86 miles / kWh, and 37 miles / gallon when on gas, it only cost $.33 to generate one kWh using gas for the Volt (4.29 * 2.86 / 37 = .33). In other words, if electricity costs more than $.33 / kWh, it is better to drive the Volt on gas.

Therefore, it is better for me to drive on gas for part of the second leg of my commute than to charge at work. That means everyday now, I drive about 38 miles on electricity and 16 miles on gas (54 - 38 = 16). Too bad, I would really like to be free of gas on daily commute. I was able to do that for more than a month and it was a bliss.

I have learned that we cannot rely on chargers outside the home. The operator of the charger can raise their price at will as in this case. For my next electric car, I have to assume that the only place I will charge is at home. That means the car should have enough range to cover a 2 way commute. 38 is really cutting close. For Silicon Valley, I think at least 100 miles is required. That would allow a commuter to drive from San Jose to San Francisco and back, covering the length of Silicon Valley. The Leaf is getting to that range but it lacks the range extender needed for the occasional longer trips.

To be fair, the building owner, where our company is located, is not making any money as they explained to me. Their electric rate is pretty high, especially during the afternoon. To encourage electric cars, especially with today's limited range, the government ought to subsidize the electric rates for public chargers. Instead of charging $.37 per kWh, the building owner should be able to charge $.10 per kWh if the utility company can charge them less for the electricity consumed by the chargers. This should not be too hard or too expensive to implement. When commuters charge at work, that will essentially doubles the range of the car. It will encourage many more commuters to adopt electric cars. Please write to the California Public Utility Commission today and demand special electric rate for public chargers.

Thanks.
 

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Your commute is very similar to mine. Mine is 52 miles. What I end up doing is around 12 miles on the highway on way home, I use ICE, then leave just enough battery so I can switch back when I get back in town. I use about .2 to .4 gallons a day. I don't have any chagers at work. There is one about two miles away, but they charge .49kWh. So as you have pointed out, it is not worth using.

What you have described is my only reservation with electric driving. Why should we, as electric drivers, assume that someone should provide us with electricity at a certain price? I mean, there is no reason why my employer, the landlord that owns buildings where I work, the city, or anyone else should pay to have a charger installed, then pay the monthy electric bill, just so I can charge my car. Do they buy a tanker of gas and let us fill up? There are only three reasons why they would.
1) To make money. Which is really hard to do when you can only make a few dollars a day.
That statement is based on the idea of selling electricity at a few cents over what it costs. One Charger can only sell about 12 kWh per day.
If owner charges $.20 over cost per kWh, that is only a couple bucks.
2) To provide a community service. This is usually what drives governments to put in chargers. The money to install and maintain chargers comes from taxes in some form. But I am opposed to idea of making anyone else pay just so that I can have a charger. It is not right. And I could never expect or demand a government to do this.
3) As a free service (or benefit) to employees or customers. This is what I would like my employer to do. But lets face it, there is no obligation for them to do so. As I have mentioned, my employer does not hand out gas coupons either.

So as a an electric vehicle owner, all I can count on is myself to charge up at home. Anything else is just icing on the cake.
 

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With premium gas at $4.29 per gallon, the Volt running about 2.86 miles / kWh, and 37 miles / gallon when on gas, it only cost $.33 to generate one kWh using gas for the Volt (4.29 * 2.86 / 37 = .33). In other words, if electricity costs more than $.33 / kWh, it is better to drive the Volt on gas.

Therefore, it is better for me to drive on gas for part of the second leg of my commute than to charge at work. That means everyday now, I drive about 38 miles on electricity and 16 miles on gas (54 - 38 = 16). Too bad, I would really like to be free of gas on daily commute. I was able to do that for more than a month and it was a bliss.

I have learned that we cannot rely on chargers outside the home. The operator of the charger can raise their price at will as in this case. For my next electric car, I have to assume that the only place I will charge is at home. That means the car should have enough range to cover a 2 way commute. 38 is really cutting close.
A couple of questions/comments:
1) Start with stuff you can control. Why are you only getting 2.86mi/KWh? That's what I get with snow tires & temperatures in the mid 20's. With the stock tires and temps in the 70's I get closer to 4.5-5.0 mi/KWh, and I'm not even trying hard. Is there something special about your commute - big elevation changes?

2) Find somewhere where you can do L1 charging instead of L2. The load/draw is more amenable to those peak level/draw times, as its only about 40% of the load of L2. You don't need a full charge, you need about 16 miles of charge, which is nominally 4 hours at L1. Many places allow this without any fee as no special things are required.

I'll refrain from commenting on your proposed solution - that's a topic for another thread...
 

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38 miles electric? Is it fast highway speeds? I've done 48miles in 70*F weather on our highways at 55-65mph. Also, ensure tires are 38psi or 39.

Now the building owner says that the price was incorrectly programmed because the station should have also charged by the kWh. Now the station charges $.28 per kWh plus $1.00 per session.
Simply put - there's your problem. Why does he charge .28/kWh? Are businesses paying that much for their electricity? Usually businesses pay less per kWh than residents. But California is its own "country" in terms of electric pricing and so this may not be correct. Does your business do anything with cost-savings internally to save money? Do they let employees keep their computer monitors on 24x7 or do they conserve those? Each can use 100W or more for larger monitors and most employees leave for the night and weekend while leaving them on. Stuff like that can be a big monetary drain. If they were paying .28/kWh, I would expect they would be on a serious plan to conserve internally.

Now, is he entirely truthful for telling you this added kWh of .28 is correct? Would you be able to see their electric billing and find out? In Pennsylvania here, homeowners pay .1488/kWh and businesses pay about .10/kWh.

In your situation and in CA, I would simply be on a TOU plan at home and charge only there or any public charger at $1.00 per session (or less) or not at all.

In your situation, the L2 charger was the problem. They could have (or should have?) given a cheap 120V plug and you could bring your EVSE along. Then they could charge you only their .28/kWh electric rate. But having a $1.00 per session fee added on, you now have no incentive to drive an EV as it now costs more than a gasoline car. This is an "epic fail" in my book. If you are using an L2 charger - you are plugging in in the morning and using a lower than .28/kWh rate if they are charged hourly rates. You are not charging during the higher afternoon time (unless you drive out to lunch). Maybe talk them into dropping the hourly to .15? Otherwise, you'll just stop using the charger and they'll be out the monies they spent to install it and won't get the $1.00 per charge event.


Therefore, it is better for me to drive on gas for part of the second leg of my commute than to charge at work. That means everyday now, I drive about 38 miles on electricity and 16 miles on gas (54 - 38 = 16). Too bad, I would really like to be free of gas on daily commute. I was able to do that for more than a month and it was a bliss.
That describes me pretty well. I have a few 70-mile and 55-mile away customer sites I go to. Usually leave home in Mountain Mode, stay at the customer site with the 13miles remaining of charge, head home with Mountain Mode and 14-miles from home, turn off MM and finish without charge remaining. It's one reason I have a Lifetime mpg of 76.5. My prior car was 26mpg so I'm way better now.

It is just something you have to deal with in your current situation. You just don't buy the Volt to save money - there are a lot of other reasons. To save money, I'd have bought a used Honda Civic.

Finally - government support? (do you mean federal?) No, this is California's problem. And California just is different than other states and in your case, you are kind of stuck with it. But the good thing is - Volt is a 40/40 car. 40 miles of EV mode and 40 miles per gallon if driven smoothly. You are shirking the gas prices quite a bit even with charging at home. California has to stop screwing around with their in-state electricity commission and build out a more proactive infrastructure to support cheaper electricity. Texas has .07-.08/kWh electric prices. No wonder companies are leaving California and going there.
 

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3) As a free service (or benefit) to employees or customers. This is what I would like my employer to do. But lets face it, there is no obligation for them to do so. As I have mentioned, my employer does not hand out gas coupons either.
Careful. You making a very poor analogy that often thrust forward by the ignorant, entitlement mindset whining about EVs charging at work. As poor as it is, the fear-mongering and chest-beating has killed many a work charging initiative.

EV charging at work, particularly when regulated by an employer policy (like the one a recently drafted), is a *commuter benefit* and can only be used for commuting purposes on the particular work day. It is not analogous to "free gas" nor gas coupons, which can be used for any purpose, on *any* ICE vehicle, at any time.

Not to mention the potential environmental, economic, societal, and corporate benefits of Workplace EV charging, of which there is none of the above with "gas coupons" (well maybe personally economic but that's selfishly lame:))
 

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That brings up the whole GE debacle of giving the employees an option of Volt or C-Max and then giving them gas cards. Who wants to plug in when you have "free gas" to use? There was a case here in PA where a lady at a school district who used a gas card in excess and got caught and faces possible jail time. Gas cards for employee use actually encourages more gasoline use without reigning in any real benefits for the one giving them out.
 

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Find somewhere where you can do L1 charging instead of L2. The load/draw is more amenable to those peak level/draw times, as its only about 40% of the load of L2. You don't need a full charge, you need about 16 miles of charge, which is nominally 4 hours at L1. Many places allow this without any fee as no special things are required..
+1. Yep. Plug in L1 from 8 to noon. Non-Peak in most places. Move your Volt after if needed. It's really a simple solution, I've been doing it every work day on my 68 mile commute for over 10 months gas-free* (typically 6 to 8 hrs L1 charging).

You don't need no stinkin' "charging station". :)

*OK, I used a couple gallons this past winter due to ERDTT, but you Californians don't have to worry about such things! :)
 

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A couple of questions/comments:
1) Start with stuff you can control. Why are you only getting 2.86mi/KWh? That's what I get with snow tires & temperatures in the mid 20's. With the stock tires and temps in the 70's I get closer to 4.5-5.0 mi/KWh, and I'm not even trying hard. Is there something special about your commute - big elevation changes? ...
Same here: ~4mi/kWh highway/freeway speeds and 4.5-5.5mi/kWh on surface streets in mild temps. Only a fraction less in cooler temps.
 

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At work, for commutes at reasonable distances, a level 1 charge with a standard plug and (NEMA 5–15R) outlet are all that is needed. Commercial users get lower electricity rates than residential users. The recipe is there for very successfully provisioning for EV drivers at work, very inexpensively. After all if you are there and parked, about eight hours, you don't need high power chargers to do the job.


However, it isn't happening. Expensive level II chargers and outrageous charges on top of already high rates currently seems to be the growing norm. Hopefully folks will just say no to these schemes, and facility owners will learn from best practices over time.
 

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I second the thought that gas cards encourage more gasoline driving.. I drove a jeep wrangler for many years.. the epitamy for bad MPG.. my combined was only 17.. maybe 18 in winter qhen the top was up and windows closed...

my employer as a Perk gives me a "fuel allowance".. once I got that. I no longer cared.. I drove at 75-80 on the freeway.. left it run while I ate my lunch in it... etc

im the only one in the company with an EV and I rarely go to the office so installing a charging station is a waste of time.. although when we move to another building, talk of a charging station has been made..

while I dont feel its REQUIRED of an employer to offer charging.. it can encourage responsible energy use..
-Christopher
 

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To be fair, the building owner, where our company is located, is not making any money as they explained to me. Their electric rate is pretty high, especially during the afternoon. To encourage electric cars, especially with today's limited range, the government ought to subsidize the electric rates for public chargers. Instead of charging $.37 per kWh, the building owner should be able to charge $.10 per kWh if the utility company can charge them less for the electricity consumed by the chargers. This should not be too hard or too expensive to implement. When commuters charge at work, that will essentially doubles the range of the car. It will encourage many more commuters to adopt electric cars. Please write to the California Public Utility Commission today and demand special electric rate for public chargers.

Thanks.
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

I just wanted to be clear you understood me. ;)

The electric rates are set by the market. The daytime rates are expensive because that's when demand is highest and grid efficiency is lowest. Your situation is simply reflecting reality in the way that is often hidden by flat rates and free workplace charging.

The government should NOT be subsidizing the electricity rates. If they should be doing anything it's streamlining the ridiculously tortured building codes and permitting in order to lower installation cost and encourage solar PV to the point that it's an automatic installation on every rooftop, pushing to make TOU and real-time charging mandatory to encourage efficiency and peak-shifting, improving building and appliance codes so that new builds require and use less electricity and providing low-cost loans so that individuals and organizations can more easily retrofit and improve their efficiency. In other words, government should be encouraging energy efficiency and renewable production, not subsidizing prices so that inefficient energy use is encouraged.

jeffhre notes that commercial rates tend to be lower, and that's because it's bulk-purchased. However, those rates are far higher than commercial off-peak rates that can be embarassingly cheap. Adding to daytime load will just add to the price.

It's unfortunate that your commute is long, but policy that's good for you isn't necessarily good for everybody.
 

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@AutoRev You don't mention who is the owner of the charger. Would these be Blink chargers, ChargePoint chargers, or chargers metered by your employer?

In SD, Ecotality (Blink) has somehow managed to elbow out competing charging vendors and most free public chargers. Ecotality gouges EV customers for utilization while pocketing subsidy money for installation. So, basically they're in the business of using government cash to install rip-off machines. Our campaign for rate relief should start with those theives, not the state or utility company.
 

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I would strongly agree that the last thing the government should to is to subsidize electric power.
Tied with that as the last thing the government should do is subsidize oil. Shame that they do.
 

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@aventineavenue

I think your missing my point. I agree with everything you wrote, but I am not my employer. I am merely thinking like my employer. And if I were my employer, I doubt I would do anything to help an EV owner too. Which is my point.

@Zythryn

I agree with you as well.

Which brings me back to my three situations as to why a landowner would install or help EVs charge. I just don't see it happing because there is no business reason to do so. Which is sad in my case cause I really want to kick the gas out of my commute, just like the OP.
 

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That brings up the whole GE debacle of giving the employees an option of Volt or C-Max and then giving them gas cards. Who wants to plug in when you have "free gas" to use? There was a case here in PA where a lady at a school district who used a gas card in excess and got caught and faces possible jail time. Gas cards for employee use actually encourages more gasoline use without reigning in any real benefits for the one giving them out.
As told to me, since the incident predates my employment:

Setup: I work for a quasi-government agency/company [< 50% of our revenue is from State/Federal funds] that supports school districts and charter schools across the state. Short description; we make a profit that is reinvested into new and/or improved services and products for our clients.

Event: One of our company vans was driven out of town to a small school district for a delivery that was slated to take two days. It involved the driver getting a motel room to avoid driving back tired and on overtime. He used the company card to purchase gas for the van at a station that also sold beer. He paid for both on the same ticket - as if the auditors at work wouldn't notice the small charge.

When the attendant noticed how he intended to pay for everything, they asked if he was sure he wanted to do that since our company name is on the card in big letters, and he answered in the affirmative. Turns out that the attendant was related to someone either at the district office or school board and called to tell them of the exchange.

I'm told that the stuff < %$#^& > hit the fan so fast that the driver had hardly opened the first beer before his phone rang with orders to return to the office IMMEDIATELY.

Outcome: Let's just say that he got to finish the remaining brews at his own house while he scanned the want ads for new employment.
 

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Y'all have to understand California is an electrical capacity diminishing state. The long term goal is zero fuel driven electricity. Thus getting generators to build more capacity in California is almost a non starter. And as older plants are decommissioned they are not replaced. This is why California imports so much electricity from out of state and why Enron was able to do what they did 10 years ago. It's pretty apparent the goal of California is to generate only renewable energy and buy the rest.

It's that buy the rest that has caused the tiering of rates. The only "market" for electricity in California is between the generators and the Independent System Operator. The ISO is the buyer for electricity in California and has a mandate to pay what it takes to make it available. Most of the out of state comes from the Pacific Northwest. Columbia River when it is available and Canada otherwise. Then peaks are bought from wherever else it might be available (at whatever cost) on the spot market.

But producing the renewable energy is a double edged sword. If you covered the Mohave desert with solar panels you could probably provide the summer afternoon peak energy usage for the the entire nation. But the same groups that want only renewable also don't want the Mohave covered. Similarly, if you tapped the Yellowstone Caldera you could probably generate sufficient geothermal electricity for more than half the entire continent's need but the same people who support geothermal energy are the same ones saying keep your hands off Yellowstone. Their mantra is use less via conservation as the only path. The problem is the nation's economy is more and more tied to the availability of more and more energy. So buy an EV but don't use any more electricity. So we do more and more and more things that consume electrical energy vs chemical energy and no matter how efficient we are or we get the demand will continue to grow.

So California's Energy pricing strategy is to charge higher and higher rates for consumption beyond certain baselines. And those baselines do not consider EVs. After all the large users get their politically mandated share what's left over is ~8-12 Kwh per day for the rest of us. So, if your commute is 40 miles per day and it takes 10Kwh per day you will go over your baseline and your rates will rise exponentially. So even with TOU rates once you go over your baseline (which has nothing to do with TOU, OBTW) your rates will double and double again for every Kwh used regardless of when it is consumed. So that electricity that was $0.8/Kwh when you were under your baseline is $0.34/Kwh when you are over 200% of your baseline.
 

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rdunniii,

Which, I had reinforced by the changing fall weather and corresponding tiers falling into place, is a very good reason to consider time-of-use charges and solar power.
 
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