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Survey of California plug-in vehicle owners highlights charging behavior
22 August 2012
|California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project rebates by vehicle type through July 2012. Source: CCSE. Click to enlarge.|
Californians own more than 12,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), roughly 35% of all plug-in vehicles in the United States. As of July 2012, approximately 1,000 new plug-in vehicles are being sold in the state every month. The more than 12,000 PEVs provide both consumer and environmental benefits, according to a new study by the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE). CCSE conducted the survey in support of California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP).
The study surveyed more than 1,400 PEV owners in coordination with the California Air Resources Board (ARB) in early 2012. Owners supplied information on vehicle usage, charging behavior and access to charging infrastructure. The study found that owners drive their cars an average of 26 miles per day and charge their vehicles primarily at night.
California PEV owners also have a high adoption rate of solar power, with 39% of respondents currently owning solar and 31% considering solar installations within a year.
This is the largest plug-in electric vehicle owner survey ever taken in California. It’s still early in the development of a robust PEV marketplace, but California is firmly established as a national and worldwide leader in supporting advanced technology, zero-emission automotive transportation.—Mike Ferry, CCSE Transportation Program manager
Some of the highlights from the survey include:
85% of owners use their PEV as their primary car, driving an average of 802 electric-fueled miles per month.
Roughly two-thirds of vehicle charging takes place in off-peak hours (between 8 pm and 8 am).
In San Diego, favorable utility rates result in some PEV owners paying equivalent to $0.90 to $1.90 per gallon of gasoline to power their electric vehicles.
39% of the state’s PEV owners have also invested in home solar energy systems, helping to power their vehicles with renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition to charging at home, 71% of PEV owners report having access to either public or workplace charging or both.
Plug-in vehicle owners report they are willing to pay 40% – 70% more for public charging compared to standard residential electricity rates; they also are prepared to pay 2.5 to 3 times more for “critical need” public charging than they are for daily charging.
About 70% of respondents reported having access to either workplace or public charging or both. Of these, about 90% reported they had access to free charging.
Most of the PEV owners in this survey (91%) have Level 2 equipment at home, and the 70% that have access to public or workplace charging are primarily using Level 2 charging, as very few DC fast chargers have been deployed in California.
54% of California PEV owners have household incomes of $150,000 or more; 25% have household incomes of $100,000–$150,000. 91% reside in a single-family home with attached garage.
CCSE and ARB, in partnership with other key stakeholders, plan to conduct additional surveys in support of the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. The ARB funds the project, and CCSE administers it throughout the state. CVRP provides cash incentives to individuals, businesses and others throughout California for the purchase or lease of battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric and fuel cell electric vehicles. CVRP rebates range from $1,500 to $2,500 for highway-capable passenger vehicles.
Funding for CVRP is provided through the California Air Resources Board (ARB) via revenue from vehicle and vessel registration and smog abatement fees, with project funding legislated through 2015. Each year, ARB conducts a competitive solicitation process to select a CVRP administrator. The California Center for Sustainable Energy has managed the Project since launching the program in March 2010.
Approximately $23 million in CVRP funds were distributed to more than 8,000 Californians from March 2010 to July 2012. Project funding for fiscal year 2012 – 2013 is expected to exceed $20 million. Throughout 2011, the majority of CVRP rebates were distributed to owners of a single vehicle model, the Nissan Leaf. However, with the introduction and eligibility of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in early 2012, such as the low-emission package Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Plug-in Prius, a greater level of vehicle and manufacturer diversity within the project was achieved.
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