Xcel Energy is set to launch the pilot program it received approval for four months ago from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. As part of the company’s long-term clean energy strategy, the program provides participants with new at-home electric vehicle charging technology and a related new pricing plan.
These new offerings aim to cut costs and carbon footprint for electric vehicle owners whom the Minneapolis-based energy company serves. Xcel’s Minnesota pilot program will run for two years.
Chris Clark, president of Xcel Energy-Minnesota, said in a statement that the program is a show of the company’s commitment to clean energy and reducing carbon emissions.
“Electric vehicles are great for the environment,” said Clark. “Making it easier for customers to own an electric vehicle while helping them save money, simply makes sense.”
With the help of Xcel partnerships with charging station vendors, contract installers and vehicle dealerships, the program, approved by officials in April, aims to make all aspects of ownership, at-home charging and energy billing easier for electric vehicle owners.
As TCB reported earlier this year, at its core, the program involves equipment that meter electric vehicle charging separately from home usage. This allows charges at off-peak, discounted rates – but without the typical need for a second physical meter, which has a high installation price, and thus, has been a deterrent for consumers.
In the place of the second meter, the solution, dubbed a “smart charger,” relies on embedded load monitoring technology (with billing-quality accuracy), as mentioned in Xcel’s initial filing with the MPUC.
Xcel will also alleviate the challenge car owners face when selecting and installing chargers by acting as guides in the selection process, and liaisons between customers and contractors for installations.
Total cost reductions for equipment and installation is expected to be as much as $1,800, and upfront cost savings is expected to be potentially $1,050 – though the pilot program will confirm these initial estimates.
Enrollment for the pilot program will open at noon Wednesday and continue until all 100 available participant spots are filled, on a first come, first serve basis.