Cotton Electric EV Pilot Project
Are you a member who has an electric vehicle (EV)? Are you curious about what future rates including EV charging could be? Consider participating in Cotton Electric’s pilot project with EVs. With the increase in demand of EVs, Cotton Electric is activating the first step of this project by gathering and analyzing information from members who have EVs to design a rate that includes charging but doesn’t increase costs for members and the co-op.
“The goal of the pilot project is to get a group of members together for those who already have EVs in their home, so we can collect data from their meter profile on when they charge as we look for rates for the future,” said Jennifer Meason, Cotton Electric CEO.
Data requested may include the number of EVs in our service territory, the hours of charging, how we can shift those to off peak hours, how to better utilize generating resources and member’s experiences with their EV.
“We want to make sure our theory is actually going to work in reality for what our members need in putting together a rate that is beneficial for them as well as the co-op overall,” Meason said. “We want to create a rate that is equitable and fair for those that charge their vehicles.”
The time of day members charge their EVs does impact the co-op, even though rates have not been set yet. If members charge during peak hours, it adds to the overall demand of our system which affects future rates. With the information gathered from this pilot project, a rate will be developed to encourage members to charge during off peak hours.
“If we structure this project correctly, off peak charging is most beneficial for the co-op, which is more beneficial for the individual member and rates overall,” Meason said.
Collecting this data will also be beneficial from an operations point of view as well. Depending on if there is a large density of EVs in an area, updates may be required for our construction plan to ensure substations have enough capacity is able to serve those areas. There is a future for EVs in our area, and we want to look for not only what future rates could be, but how this demand impacts our membership and creating the right design moving forward, Meason said.
Once a pilot rate is chosen, members can choose to participate with a time of use rate to determine how it would lower the cost of charging if done during off peak hours. Tell us about your EV below!
About Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles (EVs) are a growing market for new car purchases with more and more people making the switch from the gas station to an electrical outlet to fuel their vehicles. EVs use electricity as their primary fuel, or some, like hybrids, use electricity along with a conventional engine to improve efficiency.
Drivers are purchasing the vehicles for all kinds of reasons. Many decide to buy when they hear about the savings. Drivers see around $700 in savings a year in gasoline expenses when they drive an average of 12,000 miles. They also can realize substantial tax credits that encourage low-emission and emissions-free driving. Additional benefits include environmental improvements because of reduced vehicle emissions, energy independence by way of using locally-generated electricity and high quality driving performance.
Throughout the country, businesses, governments and utilities have been installing electric vehicle charging stations. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, there are over tens of thousands of vehicle charging outlets across the country. This trend toward electric vehicles is expected to continue, especially with the billions of dollars that auto manufacturers are investing in these new vehicles. The list of manufacturer support is long with almost every large automobile manufacturer currently developing or selling an electric vehicle.