Switching the load from gas pumps to electric vehicle charging stations has gotten some wondering if the power grid is sufficient, in more ways than one.
For example, tell a utility that 500 electric vehicles are going to be charging on the grid, they start running calculations, some of them quickly realizing that the local grid may not be able to handle it. Considering that the power grid in many places, such as France and even the United States, is aging, it’s an understandable point, especially if you imagine that most electric vehicles would be plugged in when drivers get home. Fortunately, smart charging systems might alleviate these issues.
Then there’s the cost of electric vehicle charging at home which, after possibly installing up to $1,500 in hardware and upgrading the house wiring, may reach $3,000 or more. Of course, new homes in California are pre-wired for charging stations, and reputable companies are building cheaper and more-efficient electric vehicle chargers all the time, so that’s helpful. Still, owners need to wrap their heads around not paying for traditional fuels, but paying more for their home utility bill each month.
Still, considering that the average price of electricity in the US is just 12 ¢/kWh, and an electric vehicle, such as the Nissan Leaf, uses 29 kWh/100 mi, that’s still just 3.5 ¢/mi. The average conventional vehicle in the United States, at 25.1 mpg and $3.56 per gallon, costs 14.2 ¢/mi. The choice is obvious, the electric vehicle running costs just 25% that of a conventional vehicle, but a new law in the state of Minnesota makes it even cheaper. If you figure that average electricity prices might be the equivalent of 87.3 ¢/gal, then the new law reduces that price to the equivalent of 57 ¢/gal, reducing Nissan Leaf running costs in the state of Minnesota to just 2.3 ¢/mi.
Minnesota’s new law requires utilities to offer these power prices for electric vehicle owners, as well as offer 100% renewable-energy offsetting.
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