Across the globe, electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are making their way to consumers, and drivers are considering whether an alternative fuel vehicle is right for them. About 18,000 plug-in vehicles were sold in the U.S. last year and even more models are expected to come to market this year.
As your electric service
provider, we’ve intimately studied these vehicles for several years to better understand what EV users will need for charging and the short and long-term impacts to our distribution system so that we’ll be prepared to meet current and future customer demands. This also includes understanding our role in serving homeowners and companies that might want to add charging stations to their home or business.
We added plug-in vehicles (Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius with plug-in conversion kit) to our fleet to learn how they operate and what kind of mileage they get, what the charging experience is like, the cost to charge the vehicles and how they compare with our other vehicles in terms of performance.
Thus far, our experience shows that electric vehicles can cost as little as $1 - $1.50 per gallon equivalent – a more than 70% savings to today’s almost $4 per gallon fuel costs – all while performing very well in a range of everyday driving activities. In addition, plug-in vehicles will have significantly less tailpipe emissions than most conventional vehicles.
While the gas mileage impacts might make these vehicles attractive, it is expected for the average EV driver, that charging the plug-in can add anywhere from 10 to 30 percent to the typical monthly electric use as consumers “fuel” their vehicles with electricity, rather than at a fuel pump. All things being equal, you can see significant savings when comparing the cost of electricity to gasoline costs based on the current costs for both.
So, is this the time to consider a plug-in vehicle for your next car or truck? The answer today may be “yes – or soon”. Consumers today have a wide choice of traditional gas fueled vehicle styles, models and capabilities to choose from. The plug-in models are just now coming to market. Additional new models will be coming in the next several months and years. In a few years, we expect there will be a wide range of plug-in options to choose from that will meet the driving styles and needs for most drivers. Check out BGE.com for thoughts to consider as you evaluate if a plug-in vehicle is right for you.
During our ongoing research, we’ve continued to educate consumers on this new technology – providing presentations and showcasing our vehicles at different events. We’ve worked with the Maryland Public Service Commission and other State agencies to keep them informed of our findings and we’ve established working relationships with auto manufacturers and other utilities who are also studying the impacts of electric vehicles.