• Feb 16, 2011
How's this for a bargain? City council members in Austin, TX have brought forth a motion calling for an annual $50, unlimited use rate plan for plug-in vehicle charging. The proposed rates would apply to Austin Energy's "Plug-in Everywhere" service and would enable drivers of electric vehicles to fill up at one of the more than 100 Coulomb Technologies charging stations to be installed throughout the city by the end of summer.
The city's unlimited charging service, expected to be offered on a $25/six-month subscription basis, would allow plug-in vehicle drivers to simply swipe a card to access any of the areas charging stations. Without the subscription, charging costs of approximately $2 per hour of use would apply.

If the city council approves the subscription-based, unlimited use charging service, Austin Energy will issue "pay at the pump" cards to subscribers beginning in March. Austin has long been at the forefront of the plug-in vehicle movement, with both Plug-In Partners (now defunct) and the Austin Alt Car event calling the city home. Hat tip to Joe!

[Source: Austin Business Journal]


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  • 16 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think it is wonderful that the generator supporting Austin Energy has enough baseline power coal-fired plants, including a new one under construction in Central Texas, to support such a low price electricity offering like this.
      • 3 Years Ago
      50 bucks per year.
      wow that is really cool.
      I would immediately get a plug-in or an ev.
        • 3 Years Ago
        E.J.

        I think you misunderstood me. I meant, what if my hypothetical BEV was the power source for my house?

        I live a few blocks from several gas stations, which hypothetically are ideal locations to place EV chargers. At the end of the day, I drive my BEV home after getting a full charge, so when I get home I'd hypothetically have nearly 100% charge in my BEV battery.

        I plug in my BEV, but rather than charging the car from the house, the opposite happens - I charge my house from my BEV. Granted, I'd need a storage system of some sort to keep the house powered up during the day when I'm not home.

        The next morning, my BEV battery would be nearly depleted, but I could easily make it to the charging station a few blocks away. I'd top off the BEV, and have my full range for daily driving. Then, on my way home, I'd stop off at the station...

        Think of all the money that could be saved by not having to string powerlines to every single house! The need for copper and aluminum wire would drop dramatically. Not to mention the maintenance cost of the grid.

        Just a fun imagining of a potential alternative future. : )
        • 3 Years Ago
        Anyone want a fun gedankenexperiment?

        Would it be feasible to "ferry" electricity home, using the BEV as the bucket?

        Could you carry home a full charge every day, maybe a few times a day, to keep a home battery system charged up to run your daily house needs?

        Granted, there are some variables, like how much electricity you need for daily use, and how big a battery system you could (afford) have...

        But, on the other hand, imagine living off "unlimited" electricity for only $50 a year (minus battery costs).

        *Obviously, "unlimited" doesn't mean unlimited. Like the internet, they're not going to let you have "unlimited" charges. Power users will almost certainly find their accounts throttled.


        :)
        • 3 Years Ago
        Guy on street: Dude! What the hell's in your trunk? Your car's riding pretty low.

        Driver: Nothing really, just a bunch of heavy black boxes...
        • 3 Years Ago
        "Granted, I'd need a storage system of some sort to keep the house powered up during the day when I'm not home. "

        -Or net metering, which you probably already have.
      • 3 Years Ago
      YES! Every city should do that. It would end up subsidized a bit but it would massively help the adoption of EVs.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Great! Almost worth moving to Austin. I echo the sentiments that more cities show follow this initiative.

      .......God bless American ingenuity, the facility hasn't even commenced, and already someones planning a scam!
      • 3 Years Ago
      So who is going to do the math????

      I would but,

      I have to empty the dishwasher.
        • 3 Years Ago
        If you're paying $0.12/kWh (I don't know what Austin pays... but that's reasonable), then $50 buys you ~420kWh.

        If you get 4 miles/kWh, then your break-even is 1680 miles.

        If (like the Leaf and the Volt) you can only charge at 3kW, then you'd have to spend 140 hours/year on in-system charging stations, or about 2.7h/week.

        Since most people will charge at home, it's not clear to me that this will be a huge windfall for EV owners in general. If you live next to an in-system EVSE and leave your car on it by default, then you win, for sure, but then it's not available for anybody else.
      harlanx6
      • 3 Years Ago
      I suppose another perpetual bureaucracy will administer the plan, right? I suppose they will have to raise revenues to support it, because they will be taking a several hundred dollar loss on each subscriber. I suppose they will make up the difference in volume? Why don't they just furnish the EVs? The taxpayers won't mind. It's a great idea if you have an EV!
        harlanx6
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        Halliburton, like the EV proponents, is merely another special interest group lobbying to join the other hogs at the public trough. Government subsidies are part of the problem, not part of the solution. The time is coming when people will embrace EVs, and possibly HFCVs without the government bribing them to do so. We just disagree on government subsidies, particularly when we are racking up debt at the rate of a trillion+ dollars a year (or whatever the deficit actually is). Some of the things the government is subsidizing are insane! Oil Companies making record profits need subsidies? Come on!
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        To implement a very slight change in a billing system which must already exist?

        Don't worry too much. I'm sure some more responsible elements will come into power after a while and privatize the whole thing in a no-bid contract to haliburton.
        I doubt they will charge more than $5K or $6K per customer to maintain the 10 lines of code or so it might take to put the option into the billing system.

        That way somebody will be making profit.
        And profit is, after all, the entire end sum total goal of government.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @harlanx6
        It is a per year program so it can be stopped and then end a year later. It is clear to anyone with half a brain that it is not a permanent program, it is an incentive system to get some electrics onto the road.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think everyone is missing what is going on here.
      This is not a flat $50 fee (as I read it) to charge your car.
      It is a flat $50 fee to charge your car on that system of around town plug-ins.
      It has nothing to do with plugging in at your house.

      Now - I don't have any particular problem with the fee. I might do it or not, depends on what my usage was. But I am not so sure it is some big savings either.

      • 3 Years Ago
      WOW.

      If gas prices hike up soon, this is going to be a giant boon for electric cars.
      $50 is like 1 + 1/2 a tank on an efficient mid size car.. or a tank on a SUV/Truck.
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