Xcel Energy launches EV smart charging pilot in Colorado; Transportation Electrification Plan for New Mexico approved
Xcel Energy has launched a new pilot for customers of five major automakers to make it easier for consumers to make the switch to electric vehicles in Colorado and to charge their EVs at times when renewable energy production is high and demand on the energy grid is low.
Through its Charging Perks pilot, Xcel Energy is directly working with BMW, Ford, General Motors, and Honda to test how the company can help customers charge their EVs at times when they can save money, use more renewable energy, and when it is most optimal for the energy grid. Xcel Energy initially launched the Charging Perks pilot for Tesla customers in June 2021. The pilot program will include up to 600 EV customers in Colorado.
Achieving our EV vision to have 1.5 million vehicles on the road in the eight states we serve by 2030 will require unique partnerships and programs. This is one of the first smart charging projects between an energy company and multiple automakers and I believe represents a major opportunity to help our customers do even more to reduce their carbon footprint.
We’re excited because this pilot enables new paths to help manage the grid as we move to increase renewable generation on our system to approximately 80% by 2030.—Alice Jackson, president, Xcel Energy-Colorado
Xcel Energy will work with the automakers to manage remotely when vehicles charge by using on-board communications, smart phone apps, and customer websites. Automakers will use information from the customer and their vehicle, pairing it with grid information from Xcel Energy to create a charging schedule that ensures a customer’s vehicle is ready when needed while also charging at the best times for the energy grid. Customers will receive up to $300 for enrolling and participating in the Charging Perks Pilot.
Xcel Energy will use this pilot to evaluate and learn about smart charging technology and program design before launching a full program where many more EV customers will be eligible to participate.
Xcel Energy has actively participated in research and demonstrations with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to advance electric transportation for many years. EPRI is a close contributor and collaborator in the automotive-utility industry and the creation of the Xcel Energy portal that allows operational engagement with the Open Vehicle-Grid Integration Platform is an example of this collaboration.
The Charging Perks Pilot is one of several initiatives Xcel Energy is working on as part of its EV vision. This year alone, Xcel Energy has released a suite of programs to help residential and commercial customers make the transition to electric vehicles and lower certain costs.
Xcel Energy provides the energy that powers millions of homes and businesses across eight Western and Midwestern states: Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin.
Separate from the Colorado pilot, Xcel Energy has gained approval from the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission to begin offering a suite of EV charging programs starting next year that will make electric vehicle charging easy, fast, and more affordable for New Mexico customers. These programs and offerings make up the company’s New Mexico Transportation Electrification Plan.
From 2022 through 2024, Xcel Energy will invest more than $3.1 million into six broad areas with specific EV incentives, choices and savings:
Home Wiring Rebates are for customers who install a 240-volt electrical circuit that’s necessary to support faster in-home Level 2 charging. Customers can receive a rebate of up to $500 to cover the costs of permitting, materials, installation, and electrical work needed to install the circuit. Costs for purchasing an eligible Level 2 charger can also be included. Income-qualified customers are eligible for an enhanced rebate of $1,300 to offset costs.
Home Charging Service gives customers faster Level 2 chargers, installed and maintained by Xcel Energy, ensuring customers can charge their EVs more swiftly than using a simple charger that plugs into a typical household outlet. Customers pay a low monthly fee for the charger rental, installation by a vetted electrician and charger maintenance for as long as they are in the program.
Residential Charging Optimization rewards EV drivers for charging vehicles during off-peak periods with a credit on their bill every year to offset charging costs. It also encourages charging when renewable energy is abundant, often overnight, to reduce the amount of EV charging that occurs during Xcel Energy’s electric system peak.
Residential Advisory Services improve awareness of EV benefits and provide customers with information to help them make informed decisions. Xcel Energy provides digital tools to help customers find the right EV model for their lifestyle and explore EV charging programs.
Public Fast Charging Program will help expand fast charging options for EV drivers away from home. Businesses, municipalities, and community-focused organizations can receive no- to low-cost design and construction of infrastructure – typically, from the customer’s meter to charging equipment – and comprehensive advisory services. Xcel Energy will also build, own, and operate a limited number of public fast charging stations where gaps are identified.
Fleet and Community Advisory Services will help eligible fleet customers with a free suitability assessment, data analysis and advisory services using their own fleet operation data and business goals. In addition, Xcel Energy will advise fleets and communities on how charging infrastructure can be best sited and managed, saving customers significant amounts of time and money.
Additional detail on New Mexico programs will be added when these programs are launched in 2022.