Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Commonwealth's Six-Year Transportation Plan Meets Today

My helpful Commonwealth Delegate Tom Rust, who is currently running unopposed, conveyed a bit of information which I certainly found interesting and I hope you will too.

N. Virginia Transportation Meeting Is Oct. 25

Board seeks input on highways, rail and transit projects

The Secretary of Transportation and the Commonwealth Transportation Board will conduct nine public meetings across the state in October and November.  These meetings are being held to give stakeholders the opportunity to review and provide comments on projects and programs to be included in the Fiscal Year 2013-2018 Six-Year Improvement Program.  This includes highway, rail, and public transportation initiatives.  Following the open house from 6:00-6:30 pm, there will be and opportunity for the public and transportation stakeholders to comment.  Written comments may also be submitted during this informal session, or they may be mailed or e-mailed until December 12, 2011.  The Northern Virginia meeting will take place on Tuesday, October 25 beginning at 6:00 pm at the VDOT office, 4975 Alliance Drive in Fairfax.

I plan on attending this meeting to speak about an issue very important to me at the Commonwealth level: Electric Vehicle access to High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes with single occupancy.

Electric Vehicles Too New for HOV

The Clean Fuel Club

In Virginia, we've had 3 different phases of the HOV easement for clean fuel vehicles.  It all started with House Bill 1881 and Senate Bill 771 of the 1993 session of the General Assembly, which established the Clean Fuel license plate and is the origin of the Virginia Code § 46.2-749.3. Special license plates for clean special fuel vehicles. (Unfortunately, the on-line legislative records don't go back as far as 1993 so I can't provide an exact link to the text of these bills.) Then in the 1994 session, Senate Bill 71 added an easement to allow Clean Fuel vehicles to use the HOV lanes as single occupancy as per Virginia Code § 33.1-46.2. Designation of high-occupancy vehicle lanes; use of such lanes; penalties. However, this bill only extended the easement up until 1 July 1997; the law was later amended by 1996 Senate Bill 274 and 1996 House Bill 585 to extend the easement to 1999 and by 1999 Senate Bill 1068 to 2004 and finally by 2003 House Bill 2316 to 1 July 2006.

It was a brisk, autumn morning while on my way to work my 1995 Nissan Altima was totaled by a minivan at the American Legion Bridge.  It was 2000 and the hot, new technology was the 2001 Toyota Prius and the 2001 Honda Insight: the first generation of hybrid cars.  I needed a new car, and I wanted one badly!  But the Prius was back-ordered for months and I needed to get to work; I couldn't wait.  So I resigned myself to the most fuel-efficient car I could get in the full-sized class.  I'm still driving that 2001 Toyota Avalon today.

Around this time the Federal Government started to get involved in national guidelines for HOV designation and usage.  On 10 August 2005, Public Law 109-59 was passed, adding Section 166: HOV Facilities to 23 United States Code, Chapter 1.  This set at the Federal level the allowances already specified by the Commonwealth, which was charged with defining rules for its Clean Fuel easement by 30 September 2009.  Yet while the U.S. Congress was providing an HOV easement for all, Virginia was beginning to clamp down.

Second-Class Clean

On 19 April 2006, the Virginia General Assembly passed House Bill 1248 and Senate Bill 454, which amended Virginia Code § 33.1-46.2 to define a second type of Clean Fuel plate.  This new plate would begin issue on 1 July 2006 and entitle any vehicle which bore it an easement to travel on any HOV lane in the Commonwealth of Virginia except along the I95/I395 corridor.  Where as any car registered before 1 July 2006 would continue to be given carte blanche access to all of Virginia's HOV lanes with single occupancy.  With this new provision, the easement was extended another year where by both types of clean fuel plate would be allowed to use the HOV lanes outside of I95/I395 and the older plate allowed to continue using those lanes too.

I was quite angry when this was announced.  After all, I had wanted to get a hybrid, but they weren't available.  I certainly wasn't going to trash a five-year-old car for a new one at that point.  As an environmentally conscious individual, such waste would have been anathema to my nature.  So instead I planned.  I knew that my car should last another 5 years, and I knew the days of better technology were coming.  This was the seeds of the website you see here: if I couldn't have a car with clean enough fuel for all HOV, I'd get an even cleaner fueled vehicle for my next automobile!  I'd get an electric car.

This system of two-tiered Clean Fuel categories was extended to 1 July 2008 by 2007 House Bill 2132, to 1 July 2009 by 2008 House Bill 1014, to 1 July 2010 by 2009 House Bill 2476 and finally to 1 July 2011 by 2010 House Bill 214 on 11 March 2010 and by Senate Bill 552 on 10 April.  On 20 April 2010, I placed a $99 reservation on a Nissan LEAF.  Finally I was going to get my Electric Car!  We were told that the Southeastern United States would be allowed to order the car in December 2010, and assuming 6 months of production, we'd have our cars by June, 2011.  I might not be able to drive HOV single occupancy on I95/I395, but at least there would be I66 and VA 267, the Dulles Toll Road and Greenway.

Insult to Injury

On 10 December 2010, my dreams of driving electric were dealt a serious blow.  The night before the delivery of the first production Nissan LEAF, they informed all reservation holders in the Tier 2 market, which at that time consisted of the 7 states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, as well as the District of Columbia, wouldn't be able to order their car until Late Summer 2011.  Late Summer 2011 ordering meant late autumn delivery at best; well after the end of the HOV easement 1 July 2011.

Why would I worry about that when the General Assembly had been steadily renewing the easement each year?  It comes down the second part of 2010 Senate Bill 552.  Just like 2006 House Bill 1248 and 2006 Senate Bill 454, the 2010 bill defined a third class of Clean Fuel plates with a further restriction: no more access to I66 HOV as single occupancy after 1 July 2011.  By delaying the car release in Virginia by 8 months, Nissan was injuring its customers not only by the delay itself but by the fact that no LEAF bought in Virginia would qualify to drive on the HOV lanes of either I95/I395 or I66 with single occupancy.  The 2011 Chevrolet Volt, with it's late 2010 release, would qualify, as well as any Smart ED leased here in addition to the Commonwealth's 2 or so Tesla Roadsters.  None of those cars were released before 2006 and thus none qualify for the original Clean Fuel badge, but at least the handful that got in before the deadline get to use I66 single occupancy — but not the LEAF, not the Ford Focus Electric, not the Tesla Model S.  Clean cars can drive, but Cleaner cars are left sitting in traffic.

On 28 March 2011, Virginia House Bill 1432 extended the HOV easement until 1 July 2012.  Yippie!  I can use HOV single occupancy if and only if I pay a toll.  And the badge in the middle: how can I spell anything with that?  It's ugly!


California knows how to treat environmentalists right.  Effective 1 July 2011, while the Commonwealth of Virginia was taking away HOV rights from the first generation of Electric Vehicles, California started restricting its HOV single occupancy to only cars with a White sticker, meaning Super Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (SULEV), Inherently Low Emission Vehicles (ILEV) and certain Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles (ULEV).  The LEAF qualifies for this, but hybrid gasoline vehicles don't.  Not even the Chevy Volt qualifies in California.  Effectively, you need to be nearly Zero-Emission to get the White Sticker.  The White Sticker easement extends until 1 July 2015.

Yellow stickers for Hybrids and Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emission Vehicles (AT PZEV).  They were limited the first 85,000 applicants and expired as of 1 July 2011.  California is also considering a new Green Sticker to begin distribution on 1 January 2012 and restricted to the first 40,000 applicants.  It's unclear whether the LEAF would qualify for a green sticker, but according to the list of qualified vehicles, the 2010 Plug-In Prius does.

More information can be found in the California Clean Vehicle Incentives FAQ.


In Maryland, Virginia's neighbor to the North, they also have an HOV easement, but they restrict it to plug-in vehicles only.  This means the Chevy Volt and the Nissan LEAF qualify.  I like the Volt so I like this system.  I prefer Zero-Emission as the standard, like California, but the advantage of following Maryland's lead is that we could co-operate on the issuing of stickers and recognize them in both states.  Thus Marylander could use Virginian HOV lanes and Virginians could use Marylander HOV.  I also like the sticker approach because it ties the qualification to the vehicle and doesn't allow it to convey the benefit in perpetuity like you can with the original Clean Fuel plate in Virginia.  I don't mind people who were early adopters having an advantage for HOV usage, but it's time for a new generation of early adapters.  It's time for the Electric Vehicle.

My Speech

Now you know the background, here is what I'm planning to say tonight.

In 2000, when I bought my last car, it was next to impossible to get a hybrid.  Hybrid vehicles were, after all, limited to a handful of custom imports and hobbyist vehicles.  There were barely any of these new, clean cars on the roads of the Commonwealth back then.  Hybrids were, after all, expensive, untested domestically and weren't even available in major dealer showrooms yet.

At that time Virginia Code § 33.1-46.2 Section A Paragraph 6, allowing single occupancy HOV usage to cars baring Clean Fuel plates, made a lot of sense.  There weren't very many hybrids on the road so letting them use the HOV lanes wouldn't affect traffic congestion greatly.

However, as of mid 2011, we now have over two million hybrid vehicles on the road, and many of those are right here in Northern Virginia and around Washington, which boasted the fifth largest growth nationally in the hybrid market.  The Commonwealth has adapted to this, limiting single occupancy access to certain HOV areas, but this favors the oldest hybrids and doesn't encourage our citizens to help our business by buying new cars.

Today, hybrid vehicles are ubiquitous.  Plug-in and Battery Electric cars, however, are still rare.  These newer, cleaner vehicles are today where hybrid vehicles were back in 2000 and 2001: expensive, untested domestically and not even available in major dealer showrooms yet.  Just as the Commonwealth helped the nascent hybrid vehicle market to grow though the HOV easement, so too, I argue, that the next generation of even cleaner fueled vehicles should have that privileged.

It's time we cleaned up our clean fuel cars.  It's time to put zero-emission vehicles on I66 and I95/I395.  It's time for those busy and congested roads to produce no pollution for the housing that runs along these highways, where families live and children play.  Don't we want to stop our voracious appetite for hydrocarbons coming from nations which dislike us?  Isn't that the kind of kind of Virginia we should be striving for?

That part of the speech should run about 2½ – 3 minutes, which would be my allotted time; I'll therefore submit the rest of the speech as follows in written comments.

The way I see it, we have 6 options:

  1. Keep things as they are, with new, zero-emission vehicles restricted to VA 267 and no access to I95/I395, nor to I66.
  2. End the Clean Fuel HOV easement all together, which although fair would, I suspect, make no-one happy.
  3. Evolve the requirements for the HOV easement over time, expiring dirtier cars and creating openings for cleaner ones.  We might not be able to tie this to specific CAFE standards according to the EPA, but at least we could work towards emission targets.
  4. Simply put a time limit on the HOV easement, so that the oldest cars only qualify for say 10 years and as those cars expire, new slots open up for the new generation of cleaner vehicles.
  5. Follow California by completely ending the easement for hybrid vehicles and only allowing Ultra-Low Emission, Inherently Low Emission or Super Ultra-Low Emission on our HOV lanes.  I don't expect the Commonwealth to be this draconian but I see it as still preferable over the Status Quo.  And finally…
  6. Allow only Plug-In Vehicles, vehicles that can be plugged into the wall, to take advantage of the HOV easement.  As a resident of Northern Virginia I find this the best solution for the Commonwealth because it's the exact same rule which governs our neighbor Maryland.  In fact, what would benefit the residents of Northern Virginia most would be if Richmond and Annapolis could set up a joint commission and co-operate on the issuing of this Plug-In easement such that each state would recognize the other's right to use HOV single occupancy within both states.

And finally, if we're to enact any but the first two options, I would recommend that we end the use of the Clean Fuel plate in favor of a non-transferable sticker, like California and Maryland.  The ties the easement to the qualifying car and allows the Commonwealth to restrict usage to specific vehicles rather than to an owner, since it's the car we need to be clean.

I know I'm not making any friends with this viewpoint but in the long run, I see any of options three through six as in the best interest of the Commonwealth.  Let's keep Virginia green and I thank you for your time!

I know this speech will rub a lot of people the wrong way, but it's from the heart and I feel it must be said.  Will you join me tonight?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Schedule EV, the rate for me!

After months and days of complex posts and decisions, I finally put in a work order for the two meter solution.  I called Dominion this morning trying to get more information on the meter base that my electrician Joe from Cullen Electric will need to install.  After many attempts to retrieve that last piece of the puzzle, we determined that the work order for the meter has to be submitted first before Joe and I can get the correct meter mounting.  With the work order, a Dominion engineer will examine the premises and hopefully work with Joe to get the meter installed properly.  I trust Joe and just need to find out when would be the latest he could come before the meter itself was installed.  Otherwise, it's pretty much a done deal!

Daily Electrical Usage Curve

I decided to go with Schedule EV because I really don't trust my calculations for what my household electrical usage is.  I worked out the estimates for my hourly usage 8 months ago and wanted to post this chart at that time, hoping for reader's feedback.  But now I'm up against the decision time; I just couldn't wait any longer.  The simple, one-meter, no new holes, no complex electrical work solution just wasn't enough to put me in that camp, even though I was leaning that way when I first contacted Dominion.  Instead, I get to live as I have been living under Schedule 1, and yet charge my EV, and my EV alone, under Schedule EV.  It's a more complicated solution, but it'll make the charges easier to isolate and I can get a decent picture of how much electricity my car is actually consuming.  That is, assuming I don't also charge at work.

The one major danger is the gap between Joe bringing out the circuit to the meter mounting and when the meter is installed and the circuit goes live.  During that period, I'll not have any access Level 2 charging, and with my long commute, it looks like I'll have to be driving my ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) again.  Sigh.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Electric Vehicle Calculator by Dominion

I wanted to post this sooner, but a post that has been waiting 8 months for me to complete for once had to take precedence.  And although I could have included this there, it would've been buried and it's bad enough how long that last post is!  Schedule 1EV is complicated!

From Affordable Electric Car NOW

Anyway, I digress.  The point is, now you can get a rough estimate of how much it will cost to charge your vehicle under Dominion's new EV rate programs.  Simply visit the this site and enter information about your vehicle, the length you typically drive and how you plan to charge.  Dominion offers 3 vehicles in their HTML application: the Ford Focus Electric, the Nissan LEAF and the Chevy Volt.  In terms of charging, you choose between your standard wall outlet running 120 V, which you would typically connect to via the car's included EVSE, or 240 V which assumes you already have an EVSE pre-installed which is set up to use the higher voltage.  Finally, you can set the time to start charging.  Personally, I like to work backwards from the end since I know when I need my car by, but even cars like the LEAF don't let you do that so the start time is quite reasonable, even if it does mean I may not be taking full advantage of all 4 hours of super-off peak.

One final note should be made of the Ford Focus Electric cheating with it's expected range numbers.  This time last year, the LEAF was rated at 100 mi per charge and many of it's promotional materials still maintain that.  The EPA, however, though on an environmental penalty of about 30% when they derived the 73 mi per charge rate used by the Dominion calculator.  The Ford Focus has yet to be tested by the EPA and thus it's marketing of 100 mi per charge is taken as an official value, making it look like a more efficient car than the LEAF.  The truth is, when the EPA evaluates the Focus it will likely receive a grade of about 70 – 75 mi per charge with its 23 kWh battery as opposed to the LEAF's 24 kWh pack.  The Volt values are also based on their EPA evaluation.

Dominion Virginia Power EV Rates Revealed (Part 3)

Calling Dominion

During the Canadian Thanksgiving Day weekend I called Dominion's Electric Vehicle information and sign up line to discuss which pilot project I should choose: Schedule EV or Schedule 1EV, below.  I found out that if I signed up then I'd be getting my new meter before my EV arrived which wouldn't be useful for the program.  We thus decided to punt the decision until after my next meter reading on the 17th of October.  That way, the new meter would be installed during the subsequent meter reading in November, which should be after my LEAF arrives.

Not So Smart Meter

The other thing I found out was that the Smart Meters Dominion installs are an earlier design.  These units are only capable of sampling electrical usage at fixed intervals which allow them to calculate for each of the prescribed Time-Of-Use intervals under the given rate plan.  They don't have the advanced technology of having 3 lines to the house, where, for instance, one has a household line, an EV line and potentially a line to a Solar or Wind generator.

In fact, the Schedule EV program installs 2 meters on your home.  You keep your original meter for your household, ticking off net electrical usage under the standard Residential Schedule 1 rate.  Typically next to this, they add a second meter to the mains which is the smart meter monitoring the EV usage under Schedule EV.  However, if they find it convenient, they may place the meter anywhere where an electrical line in can be tapped, though the location of the current meter seems the most logical.

The other new Smart Meter technology is the ability to create a mesh network, as they're doing in Austin, TX.  This technology allows the customer to monitor their current and historical electrical usage via a wireless network that sends information to Austin Energy.  What's more, these new Smart Meters can communicate with smart household appliances to regulate appliances like a refrigerator or central air conditioning, allowing the power company to reduce household electrical usage during peak hours.  On the surface this may sound like big business controlling we the consumers, but it benefits us too.  After all, throttling our appliances during the most expensive, peak demand will save us money, especially if we're under a Time-Of-Use rate.

Second Meter?

As stated above, folks interested in the Schedule EV plan will be getting a second meter to monitor the EV electrical usage.  Because this is a second meter, it needs to have its own line into the house which must be provided by an accredited electrical contractor.  Dominion's responsibility is only to the meter.  They'll hook up the meter if and only if there's already a line into the house with a empty mounting for a that meter, as would be for Schedule 1EV (household Time-Of-Use).  If your electrician hasn't yet run the line out for the second meter and installed the meter mounting, Dominion can't connect the meter to your EV.

So today I spoke with my favorite Electrical Contractor, Joe from Cullen Electric, Inc..  Unfortunately, for most of the conversation I had him confused with a representative from Dominion, much to my chagrin.  I'm waiting for a call from the Net Metering folks at Dominion to answer a question I still have about hooking up solar panels under one of the EV schedules.  So unfortunately I dragged Joe into a long and only partially productive debate about installing Photovoltaic panels on my home.  My plan is still to consider installing Solar Panels on my home, especially if I can get the guidelines of my HOA overturned this week, but obviously that's not why I asked Joe to call me.  Sorry about that Joe!

Anyway, Joe estimates the job to be about three-quarters of a day's work and estimates about $700 – $800.  Basically, since there's already a circuit breaker panel in the garage for the EV, Joe just needs to pull the 125A 1/0 SER cable out of the main breaker, hook it into a new cut-off switch and then run a wire out from the cutoff to the new meter mounting.  The cutoff switch is for safety since it needs to be within a minimum number of feet from the meter, but is convenient since it doesn't require the current 125A wire to be extended.  As of the time of this writing, I'm still checking with Joe on whether he knows which meter mounting to get but if I do go with Schedule EV, it looks like he can install it pretty close to the Smart Meter installation date, assuming it's 17 November as Dominion indicated to me when I first called.

I'm considering just going for the Schedule 1EV to simplify the work by Dominion and not have to run a new wire out of my house, though I certainly could budget the extra electrical work.  I certainly have always preferred the EV-Only Schedule EV, but it's looking more and more like I'll be going with Schedule 1EV.  But each day this changes and Joe is still trying to track down information on the correct mounting…

Schedule 1EV

Finally, we come to the long sought after description of Schedule 1EV — it's only taken me 8 months to write!  Recall from Part 2 that we start with 4.417¢kWh for fuel, transmission, taxes and other various fixed costs.  We then need to add in the base Distribution and Support rates for Schedule 1EV; these rates are summarized in the following two tables:

Schedule 1EV Rate 16 April – 15 October
Hours Distribution rate in ¢kWh Supply rate in ¢kWh Net Cost (EV) Net Cost (House)
01–05 (Super Off-Peak) 0.000 0.444 $10.32 $0.73
05–10 (Off-Peak) 2.053 1.652 $0.17 $164.49
10–13 (Intermediate) 2.053 3.818 $0.16 $57.92
13–19 (Peak) 2.053 9.501 $0.63 $398.98
19–22 (Intermediate) 2.053 3.818 $0.16 $193.08
22–01 (Off-Peak) 2.053 1.652 $46.59 $56.35
Totals $58.04 $871.56
Schedule 1EV Rate 16 October – 15 April
Hours Distribution rate in ¢kWh Supply rate in ¢kWh Net Cost (EV) Net Cost (House)
01–05 (Super Off-Peak) 0.000 1.388 $32.14 $1.25
05–06 (Off-Peak) 2.053 2.106 $0.04 $11.24
06–11 (Peak) 2.053 4.605 $0.30 $155.89
11–17 (Off-Peak) 2.053 2.106 $0.23 $56.18
17–22 (Peak) 2.053 4.605 $0.30 $179.88
22–01 (Off-Peak) 2.053 2.106 $52.08 $34.65
Totals $85.10 $439.09

This by far is the most complicated rate of all that I've analysed.  Not only is it a Time-Of-Use rate, like Schedule EV, Schedule 1T (The old Time-Of-Use household rate) and Schedule 1S (The Time-Of-Use rate used for houses with Solar Net-Metering), but its seasonal periods break mid-month so it means I have to compute complete months then prorated, partial months in during the summer schedule and add that to prorated, partial months in the winter schedule.  Thus, my sheet does 3 look-ups for each month and each hour, making it bulky, slow, hard to maintain and from which it's hard to get specific details.

What's more, Schedule 1EV is an alternate rate, not an additional rate.  You use Schedule 1EV instead of Schedule 1, not in additional to it like with Schedule EV.  This means that your entire household rate could be effected by the change, not just by the addition of the EV, but now your usage and time of usage matters for everything.  When you run your A/C or Electric Heater, when your Refrigerator cycles or when you watch Television or Browse the Internet can all effect your total electricity rate.

Since my home is currently on the 2-tiered, fixed-rate Schedule 1 plan, I don't have any information about how many kWh of electricity I use at say 10 am (hour 10) or 10 pm (hour 22), or when I may be my peak usage and when do I use the least.  The EV is easy to estimate because I know when I plan to charge it, how long it takes to charge and thus when the charging will typically stop, not so with the whole household.  All I know for sure is the total electricity usage in my one month billing cycle.  Any more detail than that, and I have to guess.

Estimating Home Electricity Usage

I've literally wanted to post this since I wrote the first part of this article back in February.  Indeed, it's the entire inspiration for this series I've made about explaining the electric rate.  Of all the things I've discussed thus far, I can show evidence, trace steps, and point to solid sources of information to back up my claims.  When it comes to estimating household electrical usage, however, things reduce to an educated guess.

Daily Electrical Usage Curve

To start with, I decided to assign an arbitrary point system to my daily electrical usage.  The points don't correspond to any real-life value, they just follow the rule that if hour x value is greater than that for hour y, then that hour is estimated to use more electricity and if the value at x is twice y then x used twice as much electricity as y,  The following table details the numbers I used and some of my reasoning.

Daily Electrical Usage (Estimated)
Hour Value Percent Reasoning
00 0.25 0.30% Sleeping, for the most part
01 0.25 0.30%
02 0.25 0.30%
03 0.25 0.30%
04 0.25 0.30%
05 3 3.56% Wakie, wakie!
06 6 7.12% Get ready for work (or sleep in on weekends)
07 6 7.12%
08 6 7.12%
09 6 7.12%
10 2 2.37% At work with alarm active or relaxing in front of the Television or Computer
11 2 2.37%
12 2 2.37%
13 2 2.37%
14 2 2.37%
15 2 2.37%
16 5 5.93% Chillin after work
17 5 5.93%
18 5 5.93%
19 7 8.31% Primetime: The height of activity
20 7 8.31%
21 6 7.12% Evening slowdown
22 6 7.12%
23 3 3.56% Getting ready for bed

Phew!  So, that's what I estimated.  I took those numbers, summed them to get a total points used, then divided each by that number to get a percent usage, which you can see next to the raw values above.  I take these percents and multiply the total monthly usage by them to get the estimated total monthly electrical usage for that hour of the day.

Because I've never been on a Time-Of-Use rate before and I'm no-where near confident with these numbers, I would be happy to hear from one of my readers to show my my mistakes.  Barring that, I could just go with the Schedule 1EV rate and see what happens.  They won't break out my usage in hours for me, as I explained above, but I could at least see if my estimates were near the mark.

Rate to Rate: Who's cheaper for a household?

Up until now, I've only been talking about EV rates.  The amount of money it costs to run the household electricity is different than that for an EV because the costs for an EV already assume some electricity usage so the electricity is never metered from zero.  For instance, under Schedule 1, there are 2 tiers of electrical usage for the base Distribution and Supply rates: the first 800 kWh are charged charged at one rate and anything above that at another.  As such, since my home already uses more than 800 kWh per month, my EV would always be charged the abouve 800 kWh rate.

In addition to this, there are taxes like the State Consumption Tax, the Special Regulatory Tax and the Local Consumption Tax, as well as the Fairfax County tax.  In the case of the three Commonwealth taxes, they are each 3-tired taxes.  In Part 2 I estimated that most of my EV's electricity would be in the in the first Tier, with a little less than ⅓ in Tier 2.  With the household, we're counting from zero so all again most usage is at Tier 1 with a bit in Tier 2 with the above 2,500 kWh usages over Summer.  Also, where as the Fairfax County Tax has already reached its $4 cap by the time we start to count the EV, that entire $4 is paid at the household level.

Household Rate Fixed Costs

Fortunately, the only thing different between the Schedule 1 rate household and the Schedule 1EV rate household is the Distribution and Supply usage rates.  Even the monthly rate of $7 is the same under both schedules.  These invariant values a summarized in the next table:

Name cost in ¢kWh Annual Cost
Schedule 1 & 1EV: Distribution (Monthly cost, $7.00) $84.00
Rider C1: Peak Shaving 0.009 $1.93
Rider C2: Energy Efficiency 0.044 $9.43
Rider S: Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center 0.280 $60.03
Rider R: Bear Garden Generating Station 0.117 $25.09
Rider BRC: Base Rate Credit -0.132 -$28.30
Rider T: Transmission 0.616 $132.08
Fuel Charge Rider A 3.289 $705.19
Sales and Use Surcharge 0.056 $12.01
Consumption Taxes (Tier 1) (< 2.5 MWh) 0.155 $31.08
Consumption Taxes (Tier 2) (2.5 MWh ≤ x < 50 MWh) 0.099 $1.38
Consumption Taxes (Tier 3) (≥ 50 MWh) 0.075 $0.00
Fairfax County Tax (Min 56¢; Max $4) 0.605 $48.00
Totals 4.430 $1,081.92

As before, we need to explain the base rate calculation here.  I currently estimate about 21,441 kWh per year of electrical usage in my household given the pattern of data I have going back almost two years.  How this breaks down in terms of the Consumption Taxes is 20,051½ kWh of that is under the Tier 1 level and only 1,389½ kWh falls under Tier 2.  I again use these estimates to calculate the last 0.151¢ of the tax total.

I've also eliminated the County Tax from the calculation but not because it isn't paid, but because it's always always $4.00 per month for me, regardless of how much electricity I use.  For this rate to be relevant, I'd have to use less than 661.157 025 kWh of electricity in a given month and that is no-where near happening.  After all, I'm never even going below 800 kWh to stay within the Schedule 1 Tier 1 Base rate.  Thus, the County Tax and Monthly Distribution rate are not counted in the total cost per kWh, but are included in the annual totals.

I spend about $1,081.92 each year … on all secondary items

In summary, I spend about $1,081.92 each year in electricity regardless of rate schedule on all the secondary items, riders and taxes.  This value is without the Base Rate, which turns out to be the lion's share of the calculation.

Comparison of Rate Schedules

As I stated before, Schedule 1 is a 2-Tiered system.  It's also a seasonal schedule, with different rates depending on the time of year.  These rates are summarized in the following table.

Rate Category Non-Summer Rate, 1 October – 31 May, in ¢kWh Summer Rate, 1 June – 30 September, in ¢kWh Net Cost (EV) Net Cost (House)
Distribution ≤ 800 kWh 2.233 2.233 $0.00 $214.37
Distribution > 800 kWh 1.260 1.260 $90.49 $149.20
Supply ≤ 800 kWh 3.795 3.795 $0.00 $364.32
Supply > 800 kWh 2.927 5.773 $278.48 $574.71
Totals $368.97 $1,302.59

Putting it all together

Compare this to the results from the Schedule 1EV rate above.  In the tables describing the Schedule 1EV rate, we have the totals for both the car and the household for the base Distribution and Supply rates.  The household rates are based on the estimated electricity usage from that section, and as such are only my best estimate for how much it would cost under Schedule 1EV: my own mileage may vary.  Summing together the values from that table and the one for Schedule 1 and finally pulling in the results for the Schedule EV in Part 2, we can finally compare each of the above rates:

Rate Schedule 1 Schedule 1 with Schedule EV Schedule 1EV
Distribution Cost per Year (EV) $90.49 $98.83 $52.17
Supply Cost per Year (EV) $278.48 $70.63 $90.97
Subtotal Cost (EV) $368.97 $169.47 $143.14
Total Cost (EV) $686.16 $486.66 $460.33
Distribution Cost per Year (House)1 $363.56 $363.56 $434.96
Supply Cost per Year (House) $939.03 $939.03 $875.69
Subtotal Cost (House) $1,302.59 $1,302.59 $1,310.65
Total Cost (House) $2,384.51 $2,384.51 $2,392.56

The Subtotal in the table above contains the sum of the Distribution and Supply costs and the Total adds this to the cost for everything else, including Taxes, Fuel, Transportation and the various other Riders.

The main take-away here is that if my estimates are correct, there's not much difference for the household electricity cost under Schedule 1 and Schedule 1EV; my calculations show less than $10 per year!  Stranger though is that the Distribution is about $70 higher under Schedule 1EV but about $60 lower than Schedule 1 for Supply.  Secondly, as you can see, the cost to run an EV under Schedule EV and Schedule 1EV doesn't differ much either.  Schedule 1EV looks to be about $25 cheaper than Schedule EV, but both are clearly less than half the rate under just Schedule 1.

What if the LEAF had a 6.6 kW charger?

I would be remiss if I didn't do the same analysis for the Schedule 1EV that I did for Schedule EV with respect to 6.6 kW charging.  Specifically, the $98.68 I pay per year for charging my LEAF from hour 22 to hour 1 (Off-Peak) could be reduced to a mere $0.22 cents and my Super-Off-Peak per year goes from $42.46 to $65.38 per year because of the greater overall electricity usage.  Thus, the cost to run the LEAF under Schedule 1EV goes down to $384.78 per year, about $75 in savings per year.

And that's all you need to know when you choose a new EV rate schedule.  So call Dominion right now: 1-866-566-6436 and join the EV Rate Revolution!

1Doesn't include the Monthly Charge since this is already assumed in the fixed cost independent of the rate program.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Affordable Electric Time Machine Yesterday!

Back To The Future: Electric DeLoreans Coming In 2013

My old, Montréal friend and former leader of the High Council of Gallifrey Andrew Gurudata recently retweeted a link to this news article at BoxOfficeBuz:

During the International DeLorean Owners Event in Houston, Texas last week, DeLorean Motor Company announced a partnership with [an] electric car company called Epic EV.  The goal is to mass-produce a full electric DeLorean called DMCEV.  The news is coming from Jalopnik.com.

The original Jalopnik article is by Kevin McCauley and reads as follows:

This is a brand-new, all-electric DeLorean

For several years, DeLorean Motor Company of Texas has been reconstituting the fruit of John Z.'s troubled loins (phrasing!). Now it's working with electric-car startup Epic EV to put an all-electric DMC-12 into production by 2013. You know what that means: Onboard power for the Mr. Fusion.

Humble, Texas-based DeLorean Motor Company not only owns the DMC brand name, but it also maintains a huge stockpile of original, factory parts. The company's primary business has been restoring, servicing and selling DeLorean cars and merch, but it's also been using those parts to assemble new cars to order, using 80% original parts and 20% modern engine and suspension tech. These new models are, in effect, pro-touring versions of the original DeLorean cars.

The new car the two companies unveiled today at the International DeLorean Owners Event in Houston, Texas is no run-of-the-mill electric DeLorean conversion. It's a development model of a car, called DMCEV, which DeLorean plans to launch into production in two years.

The companies haven't released any specs yet, but if it's anything like Epic EV's Torq Roadster, it'll get a 200 hp+, 44V/156V electric motor, powered by a 24-30 KWh lithium ion phosphate battery. Sure, it's bit low on jiggawatts right now, but the companies have two years to get that sorted out. Though I guess they never did, or else they'd have come back to let us know.

Finally, last but far from least, this ABC News story gives further details about the future car release including the following critical piece from DeLorian's current vice-president James Espey:

So far, said Espey, the company has retrofitted one car with an electric motor.  If all goes well, he said, the company would start selling built-to-order electric DeLoreans around 2013.  The sticker price (if a custom-built car can have a sticker): about $90,000.

Emphasis mine.

Still no news of a fully-electric Time and Relative Dimension In Space vehicle, though we do know the Type 40 ran on Artron Energy derived from the Eye of Harmony at the heart of the Gallifreyan Panopticon.  However, I can confirm that the Kronosphere does run on electricity, even though it won't be invented until 2020.

All joking aside, this is seriously making me rethink my investment into the Nissan LEAF, if only the price wasn't so out of reach.

$37.6 Billion in Taxes

That's how much we Americans would be paying as a whole if the Federal Government charged kWh in taxes for every kWh used for all of the Residential, Commercial, Industrial and Transportation levels.  This is based on the total electricity usage of each sector over the 12 month period from July 2010 to June 2010, which is summarized below.

Now, in places like Wyoming, with the lowest overall electricity rates in the country in 2010, and especially in the Industrial sector with a 4.79¢kWh average, this tax would represent a 20% increase in the rate of electricity, but in places like Hawaii, with the highest overall electricity rates in the country, and with Residential rates averaging 28.1¢kWh, this represents a mere 3½%.

Currently there are no federal taxes at least on residential electricity usage.  So if the kWh tax was enacted, it would be the first ever tax on electrical usage at the national level.  And after all, $37.6 Billion is just a drop in the bucket in terms of federal spending.  None the less, it's money that could be used to pay for much-needed infrastructure improvements and given the balanced-budget oriented Congress, this would at least allow for the payment of some infrastructure projects which could include investments in solar, wind and geothermal power.

The main problem I see with this across-the-board tax is that like all flat taxes, it's in some ways regressive.  Where as the rich can afford to conserve and reduce electricity usage, lower-income folks won't be able to afford such modifications and so will end up requiring more and paying more for the same amount of service.  I therefore don't support such a tax as is but think this is a debate that we as a nation should have.  Much or the U.S. infrastructure, including even the electrical grid itself, is aging and passed it's original life expectancy.  We need to invest in the next 20, 30 and 50 years to keep America equipped to maintain its commercial edge.

Month Residential (MWh) Commercial (MWh) Industrial (MWh) Transportation (MWh) Other (MWh)
July 2010 155,553,653 128,192,270 84,809,418 658,253
August 2010 154,953,988 128,966,878 86,888,581 608,458
September 2010 125,769,782 119,324,357 82,676,592 628,120
October 2010 96,754,911 108,437,492 81,372,705 607,314
November 2010 93,170,152 101,398,996 78,804,962 595,314
December 2010 130,379,651 107,864,455 79,688,183 672,258
January 2011 146,430,729 107,907,906 78,933,839 696,590
February 2011 121,728,957 99,356,722 75,565,871 650,399
March 2011 105,476,318 103,550,741 81,262,696 657,024
April 2011 94,799,256 100,725,066 79,358,719 619,441
May 2011 98,306,883 107,068,609 81,574,661 620,181
June 2011 126,369,341 117,547,425 83,152,045 637,512

Source: the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Sales Revenue Spreadsheet (xsl).

Monday, October 17, 2011

The EVA/DC October Meeting in Silver Spring, MD

Recently elected president of the EVA/DC and my friend Charlie Garlow has published information about the next EVA/DC meeting this Wednesday.  The meeting is at the Silver Spring Library, opened to the public and all are invited!  His invitation is as follows:

Dear EVeryone, Please forward this email far and wide. Bring your friends.

What a great time we had this weekend at the National Plug In Day on the Capitol Mall at 3rd and Pennsylvania Ave NW.
Great cars, and e-bikes/e-scooters, and great people joined the great weather. Does it get any better than this?
Three Volts, one LEAF, one Smart, one Solar Prius, one RAV4EV, one Tesla, one BMW Z3 EV, one Chevy S-10, two Vectrixes [Vectri?], two A2B e-bikes. Phil's three wheel leaning trike, other leaning e-trikes, what else did I forget? Oh, and the honky tonk band, the Capitol Hillbillies on piano, harmonica and guitar.

For some photos on the action, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/npid2011/page11/

October Meeting of the Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington, DC. www.evadc.org is this Wednesday, Oct 19, 7:00 PM at the usual Silver Spring, MD public library. Pizza and beverages will be available as usual, but if you really want to bring in your home-baked apple crisp with brown sugar, I won't object @!! It is harvest season.

Recap of last month's EVents, including

  1. the National Plug in Day events all around the US. Joe Lado and others tell all.
  2. Jr Solar Sprint races in Arlington, VA. Doron Shalvi and Charlie Garlow.
  3. 3. Solar Home Tour on Oct 1 - 2. Rob Neighbour, Bryan Murtha, Mark the Sparkie and others talk EVs and PV.
  4. 4. Solar Decathlon EV Workshop on Oct 2. Bob Bruninga and Eric Cardwell.
  5. 5. Public Outreach efforts. Speech at the Rotary Club. Dave Goldstein at conferences.
  6. 6. Others I forgot?

Plans for upcoming events: Univ of MD EVent on November 16 and a field trip to Frederick, MD to see the Merit Builders' solar canopy charging system.
Your topics that you want to bring up....charging? Prices for new EVs? Lease vs. sale?

EVs for Sale.

  1. Peter Jancik is selling his converted 1999 white Chevy S-10 pickup truck Cell 202-413-1797. Asking $6500, but it is worth more than that in parts.
  2. Suhas Malghan is selling his black MR2 asking $7500. 40kW continuous, 90kW peak Siemens AC motor, EVision, Brusa charger and I have spares to redo the front suspension among other things. Not yet running, but Suhas is working on the capacitors. This is an oversized motor. Zoom. Pictures are at http://turanga.com/blog/?page_id=31
  3. thegreencommuter.net in Takoma Park, MD is selling all sorts of e-bikes and e-scooters.

Charlie Garlow, President
Dave Goldstein, President Emeritus
Eric Cardwell, Vice President
gobs of other officers and EV advocates.

View Larger Map

Note: Like the Tyson's Pimmit Library, the Silver Spring Library extremely difficult to find mainly because as you go up Route 29 / Colesville Road you pass the entrance first and then see the sign for the library on your right.  The entrance is behind a tall office building and looks like an entrance to that office block's parking lot, which is why it's so easy to miss.  Shame on Silver Spring for the design!

Unfortunately I missed the National Plug-In Day event on the Capital Mall due to a Rhinovirus who's but I'm currently kicking up to Kathmandu!  And more unfortunately I'm going to miss this EVA/DC meeting because this Wednesday's my HOA's annual public meeting where I, as acting president (since the official president is out on travel) will be running the show and preparing my community for new rules which will finally allow Photovoltaic and Solar-Thermal water heating in our association!  I'm sad to miss my friends at the EVA/DC again this month but I know they all wish me luck as we make my home a little more green!


Charlie adds:

Dear EVeryone, again,

As usual, Phil Foss with his incredible 1909 digital camera, has once again come up with the best video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lpk71BjSjqc&feature=youtu.be

And another agenda item. How could I have forgotten the Chevy Volt Meet-up at Lincoln Theater's back parking lot, featuring Alexandra Paul, Hollywood star and EV Activist who got arrested in Who Killed the Electric Car?, and featuring Bryan Murtha and Joe Lado with their Chevy Volts, and a host of other EVers in attendance. Everyone got to drive the Volt. What a night ! Alexandra Paul gave me her Hello I'm Alexandra Paul sticker, which I will keep forever.


To be quite honest, Alexandra and her green activism makes her one of my heroes so thank you for the update Charlie and though I don't always speak highly of the Volt, I do think overall it's a wonderful car for those Americans with a 30 mile or less commute, unlike me.

And finally, Peter, the owner of the Chevy S-10 Pickup wanted to add that his vehicle is available for auction on eBay:

Thank you very much for mentioning my truck in the e-newsletter. I was wondering if it would be possible to let know EVA/DC members that the converted S10 1999 will be sold for $3250 or more on eBay. Here is the link to the auction:


If the car will be bought by EVA/DC member I will contribute 2% to EVA/DC.

Thank you,
Peter Jancik

Friday, October 14, 2011

Affordable Electric Plane NOW?

Back in 1997 or so I longed to use a different kind of vehicle.  Those who know me probably could never guess I had this kind of adventurous spirit or that I long so much for those days of old but yes, back then I attempted to get my Pilot's License on a Cessna 152.

Now, to cut a potentially long story short, I never finished my VFR (Visual Flight Rules) training nor took the written exam, though I did complete the ground course over at Freeway Airport in Bowie, MD — a bit of a long hall these days.  But in late 1997, for reasons I can't for the life of me remember, I stopped.  Strangely enough, this was soon after I put down a $500 deposit on a block account that still has about $250 or so on it.  Not that I expect their records go back 10 years such that I could reclaim it; it's my own fault for stopping.  In 1999 my Class 3 Medical Certificate and Student Pilot's Licence expired and since then not only have I been too lazy to drive out to Freeway but I've even been to lazy to renew the license.

Now recently I've been very focused on Electric Vehicles, in case you hadn't heard.  And although this site is Affordable Electric Car NOW!, for an aspiring pilot like me, it doesn't stop there (and don't get my started on my plan for the Affordable Self-Driving Electric Car NOW! page I'm planning to start in about 8 years).  I still dream of flying around the country, from city to city in a plane of my very own, and how more appropriate could that be if I did it electrically?

Great Minds Think Alike

I truly believe it'll one day be possible to fly a full-sized airplane using only Electricity — and I'm not the only one.  For instance, Cessna with Beyond Aviation are attempting to do just that: Electric Cessna 172 Begins Taxi Tests.  It'll be a number of years before an Electric Cessna is commercially available, to be sure, but I've got time; I'm already 10+ years invested in patience!

But to be honest, I'd love a hands-on hobby, so I'm making it a goal of mine, over the next 10 years, to either purchase or (more likely) retrofit a Cessna 172 for electric propulsion.

Of course, let's not jump the gun.  First I need to finish my VFR and IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) coursework and pass the flying tests — and before even that renew my Class 3 Student Pilot's licence, and I'd better do that before I turn 40!  Only then would I look into purchasing a second-hand Cessna and start the detailed and intricate research into replacing the Internal Combustion Engine with an electric motor and the fuel tanks in the wings with light-weight and efficient, advanced Lithium or newer technology batteries.

But that'll be years off and there's lots of time for better, lighter battery technology to develop.  And heck, by the time I get to it, maybe I can even put on a layer of Photovoltaic paint along the top of my fuselage and wings.  But before all of that, there's also this business with the Electric Car I've been talking about…

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Planet Money discuss the Future of the EV

This Tuesday's Planet Money from NPR has an interesting interview with Daniel Yergin, one of the world's leading figures on energy issues.  In this episode of this wonderful, down to Earth economics program, we learn the history of the first Electric Vehicles as well as their likely future in the next 20 years.

The main take-away is that Yergin predicts 3% penetration of EVs by 2030, which doesn't seem unreasonable.  I often like to compare the EV revolution to the Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) revolution of the first decade of the twenty-first century.  Strictly speaking, the comparison isn't completely fair since Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology is a lot easier to adapt to existing technology than pure Battery Electric Vehicles are.  That said, according to this article in 2009 HEVs represented about 3% of vehicles on the road.  I generally think that therefore by 2022 we should see about 3% of the cars in the United States to be BEV and PHEVs, so 20 years for full BEV penetration to reach 3% is a definite possibility, if not sooner.

Anyway, check out the Tuesday 11 October 2011 episode of Planet Money entitled The Future of Energy.  I only hope this inspires them to do more stories about the economics of electric vehicles!

Friday, October 7, 2011

We're in the Money…

…well, if you call a 1.79% annual rate loan money.

Though no doubt that rate's better than any Nissan Motor Acceptance Corporation can give me.  My plan is to pay it off within 3 years, if not sooner, by simply direct depositing my Net Pay (after allotments) straight into the loan, which should come out to about $867 per month in payments, give or take a bit.  At this rate, I can have the $20,000 loan paid off in a mere 2 years.  Not that I have to pay it off so quickly since my loan term is 60 months (5 years) and still charges the same rate.  Mind you, the Personal Property Tax on the LEAF still scares me and having this debt hanging over me is not a fun prospect, but we'll face that as we come to it.

Paying off half the car with a loan allows me to keep some of my savings, which is good in case there's an emergency of some kind.  And the interest paid under this accelerated plan is just $300 - $400.  What still remains is to move most of cash payment out of the savings account and into an account where I can draft a personal check for the other $20,000 or so, as well as set up direct deposit to make payments to my loan automatically.  Then there's getting an insurance policy and ordering new plates and finally all pieces should be in place.

Only one month to go…

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dominion EV Pilot Program opens today!

Dominion Virginia Power Electric Vehicle Charging Pilot Program Begins

As I've indicated numerous times before, I'm very keen to make my Power Utility, Dominion Virginia Power, aware of my intent to use an Electric Vehicle so that they can better prepare for the load I would be drawing and be able to provide sufficient power at times optimal for charging.  Fortunately, like most EV drivers, my intention is to charge my car overnight, when the demand for electricity is already at its lowest, which allows my PU to balance generation between the peak daylight hours and the nighttime hours when my car draws energy.

In return for this, I've asked my PU to set me up to be charged a Time-Of-Use rate which would reduce the cost to charge the EV when it's charged over night versus during the daylight hours.  Back in February, I reported that Dominion Virginia Power was proposing two new pilot program rates specifically for electric vehicles which would use new smart meters and allow the calculation of rates based on Time-Of-Use.  Excited, I sought more information and was able to calculate a $200 savings by switching over to either of the new EV-based TOU rates.

Dominion Virginia Power EV Rates Revealed (Part 2)

I explained how rates are calculated back on Valentine's Day because I ♥ calculating this kind of stuff.1  And although the rate for Fuel has gone up slightly since I wrote Part 1 — it's now 3.289¢kWh — all the calculations remain the same.

So take for example the Nissan LEAF with its 24 kWh battery pack.  If we estimate the LEAF's wall-to-wheel efficiency to be 3⅓ mi⁄kWh (5.364 kmkWh), with a 38 mi (61 km) commute each way, this represents 22.8 kWh (2 × 38 mi ÷ 3⅓ mi⁄kWh) or 95% of the 24 kWh pack on the LEAF.  I then assume the weekend driving consists of more local, around town driving equivalent to exactly half of the weekday driving or about 38 mi (61 km) per day or 11.4 kWh.

In addition to each of these, it's important to remember that the EVSE also draws power to maintain its status and remain in a ready state.  My EVSE only draws 5 Watts to maintain its ready state — EVSEs with more Internet connectivity and wireless capabilities will draw more power than a plan nuts and bolts EVSE like my Clipper Creek CS-100.

Since I plan to only charge my vehicle over night and be out of the house around 5:00 am, I set my calculations to assume I can finish charging by that time.  This would be different if I could charge my car at work, but with a 3.3 kW charger on the Nissan LEAF, it will take 6.09 hours (22.8 kWh ÷ 3.3 kW) to charge the LEAF during the weekdays and 3.45 hours (11.4 kWh ÷ 3.3 kW) on the weekend.

The Missing 4 cents revisited

Once the total electrical energy required for charging the EV is known, we can calculate the cost for Transmission and Fuel rates and Use, Consumption and County Tax, as well as the various Distribution and Supply riders to get the base price for charging our EV.  These rates are summarized in the following table:

Name cost in ¢kWh Annual Cost
Rider C1: Peak Shaving 0.009 $0.65
Rider C2: Energy Efficiency 0.044 $3.16
Rider S: Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center 0.280 $20.11
Rider R: Bear Garden Generating Station 0.117 $8.40
Rider BRC: Base Rate Credit -0.1322 -$9.48
Rider T: Transmission 0.616 $44.24
Fuel Charge Rider A 3.289 $236.21
Sales and Use Surcharge 0.056 $4.02
Consumption Taxes (Tier 1) (< 2.5 MWh) 0.155 $7.68
Consumption Taxes (Tier 2) (2.5 MWh ≤ x < 50 MWh) 0.099 $2.20
Consumption Taxes (Tier 3) (≥ 50 MWh) 0.075 $0.00
Fairfax County Tax (Min 56¢; Max $4) 0.605 $0.00
Totals 4.417 $317.19

Now, the Fairfax County Tax will typically hit the $4 maximum without the EV so the EV won't add to that tax.  Also, for the Consumption Taxes, many months my household never goes over 2.5 MWh.  Generally, I still do come close to if not going over in the warmer months of June, July, August and September, even after going to R-49 attic insulation but not in the winter since I have methane-based (natural gas) heating.  In my calculations, I use my actual historical household data to compute the Consumption Taxes, so in months where the usage does go over 2.5 MWh, I calculate my EV's electricity rate accordingly using the Tier 1 or Tier 2 Pricing as necessary.

Total energy usage [is] about 7,138 kWh.

Now, to compute my total electricity usage, I take the average usage per day using a weighted average of 57 × 22.8 kWh each weekday and 27 × 11.4 kWh each weekend day for an average of 19 1935 kWh per day.  If we multiply that by the number of days in each month, we can get an estimate of how much energy we use per month and if we multiply by 365.2425 days per year, we have the total energy usage of about 7,138 kWh.  This is the value multiplied by each of the rates in the above table to get the total cost per year.

In the case of the Consumption Taxes, this further breaks down by my estimates to about 4,957 kWh taxed at Tier 1 and about 2,225 kWh taxed at Tier 2.  The Consumption Tax part of the Total in the table above is weighted using these estimates as a percent of the total electricity usage annually.

Taking these numbers, we can see a total cost of $317.19 to run my Nissan LEAF not including the base rate schedule.  Thus, no rate schedule can come to a total less than $317.19 per year.  However, depending on the Rate Schedule chosen, the additional cost could vary between $150 and $350.

The Base Rate Schedules

Dominion Virginia Power customers have 3 basic choices when it comes to their base electricity rate: Schedule 1, Schedule EV and Schedule 1EV.  Each of these is outlined below.

Schedule 1

Most Dominion Virginia Power residential customers are under this rate schedule.  Thus, these numbers represent no special EV rate and just plugging your car in under the normal rate schedule.  Since the monthly fee of $7 is already covered by your current electric bill, this can't count toward the cost to charge the EV since you have to pay it either way.  For Distribution and Supply, Dominion Virginia Power breaks the bill up into summer and off-summer months as well as usage under 800 kWh and usage beyond that.  In the case of the EV, my house never uses less than 800 kWh per month so I'll always be paying the above 800 kWh rate for my EV.  Thus, the rate for Distribution is 1.26¢kWh.  The rate for Supply varies throughout the year so from June to September it's 5.773¢kWh and 0.02927¢kWh the rest of the year.

Thus, the total base Distribution cost is $90.49 for the entire year and $138.49 for Supply for the Summer months and $139.99 for Supply the rest of the year.  The total Supply annually is therefore $278.48 for a total of $368.97 per year under Schedule 1.  Adding this to the fixed result, we get the total annual cost to run your EV under this rate schedule of $686.16.

Schedule EV

Technically, the Schedule EV rate plan isn't a primary rate schedule.  Instead, a dual meter is set up at your household with the main residence still under Schedule 1 and a dedicated line to EV metered using the Schedule EV rider instead.

Because Schedule EV is a Time-Of-Use rate, the time at which electrical energy is drawn becomes significant.  Fortunately, this is easy to calculate because we know from above how long it takes to charge the LEAF under my scenario, and thus how much power is required each hour.  When the EV is charging, since it's using a 3.3 kW charger, it will require that much power per hour and thus use 3.3 kWh per hour in use.  You also have the base EVSE power of 0.005 kW which comes to 0.005 kWh per hour, each hour.

In the case of Schedule EV, there is an additional Distribution charge for the second meter of $2.90 per month for a total of $34.80 per year.  The Distribution and Supply rates are then given by:

Hours Distribution rate in ¢kWh Supply rate in ¢kWh Net Cost
01–05 (Super-Off-Peak) 0.000 0.684 $31.74
05–06 (Off-Peak) 2.520 1.429 $0.07
06–22 (Peak) 2.520 10.256 $3.73
22–01 (Off-Peak) 2.520 1.429 $99.12

For simplicity, I've show the results for the entire period blocks, which generally fall into the following categories: 01–05 is full 3.3 kW charging, 05–06 is only the EVSE, as well as 06–22 and finally 22–01 is used to charge the EV during weekdays since at 3.3 kW the LEAF required more than 4 hours to charge to 95% from 0.  For that final block, it breaks down into no charging on weekends and 2.09 hours during the weekdays, where the rest of the charging occurs in 01–05 on both Weekdays and Weekends.

The Distribution and Supply results together for each of the time blocks yields $134.67.  Add to that the monthly Distribution charge and we get $169.47, less than half the cost for base Distribution and Supply under Schedule 1.  Because the final bill is a combined bill between the household and the EV meters, the taxes are cumulative, so if under Schedule 1 the Tier 2 Consumption Tax threshold be reached for the household, it would also do so under Schedule EV.  The final result is a grand total of $486.66.

One final thing to note is the $99.12 spent from 22–01 could be avoided if the LEAF had a 6.6 kW charger instead of the cheap 3.3 kW charger it currently has.  With this charger, it wouldn't need to draw electricity in the more expensive off-peak period; all the needed energy could be added and metered during the Super-Off-Peak time for a mere $48.87 during that period and only $0.22 for the 22–01 Off-Peak.  Thus, the total cost with a 6.6 kW Charger would be $404.89, an over $80 per year in savings.

Schedule 1EV

Schedule 1EV is a household rate plan that replaces the Schedule 1 with a special Time-Of-Use rate specifically tailored to EV owners.  As such, it is far more complicated than anything I've discussed thus far and as such I shall hold off to discuss this in its own post.


As you can see, there's a lot of savings that can be made by just switching to one of the 2 experimental EV rate programs.  I'm personally looking very much forward to participating in the program; won't you join me?  Just sign up here and be a part of the future!

1Okay, technically the posting date was just a coincidence but sometimes I like to embellish to make these posts more readable.
2For Schedule 1, Schedule EV and Schedule 1EV.