Your take-home messages:
Two-thirds of New Zealand’s electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid owners either already have, or are likely to take up a night-time discounted electricity contract if it was offered by their supplier. For others, overall household demand and integration with home solar generation make other forms of discounted supply contracts more cost effective. Using electricity generated from renewable source and drawing electricity late at night to relieve pressure on the national grid are also important considerations for some EV and PHEV owners.
This month’s poll:
Our fourteenth 1-click survey proposed that “I am likely to switch my electricity supplier to one that offers night-time discounts for EV / PHEV owners”.
Participants could choose between the following six options:
(1) Definitely Yes
(2) Probably Yes
(4) Probably No
(5) Definitely No
(6) Already with such a provider
The poll was sent on 8 December 2017 to 440 Electric Vehicle (EV) owners and 41 Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV, including Range Extenders) owners who have enrolled in the Flip the Fleet project • 258 EV and 24 PHEV owners responded by 14 December • 129 respondents provided reasons for their choice.
Nearly a quarter (24%) of EV and PHEV owners already charge on a discounted night-time rate (Fig. 1). Of the remainder, 42% chose definitely or probably yes to the proposition; 14% were unsure; and 20% were unlikely or definitely not likely to switch to take a discounted night rate.
Fig.1 Responses of 282 EV or PHEV/REX owners to the proposition that “I am likely to switch my electricity supplier to one that offers night-time discounts for EV / PHEV owners”. The pie diagram on the right shows the percentages of those respondents who currently do not use a differentiated night-time electricity rate.
What makes you Click?
Reduced price of night-time charging is a strong factor in the choice of electrical supply contract for many EV and PHEV owners, be they already on such a scheme or predicting their choice should their current supplier provide such an option in future (Table 1). Many commented that they have switched suppliers to minimise the cost of electricity, while others signalled they would switch soon once current contract restrictions for switching have lapsed. One respondent acknowledged the inertia and hassle required to switch prevents their move, but others have switched several times and actively negotiated improved deals to help minimise their cars and household electricity costs.
Table 1: Themes in comments by 119 EV and 10 PHEV owners in response to the proposition that “I am likely to switch my electricity supplier to one that offers night-time discounts for EV / PHEV owners”. The table excludes 28 comments on miscellaneous themes.
Other respondents said that they had concluded that, once their entire household’s electricity consumption is taken into account, a flat rate deal (especially if discounted) is overall more cost effective than just targeting a 11 pm to 7 am off-peak rate to charge their car. Several warn that cheaper night-time electricity is often coupled with more expensive daytime or peak time prices. A decision to stay on a flat rate or simple two-step contract for cost reasons is more likely when the EV or PHEV gets relatively little use, when there is a free public fast charger nearby, or when charging happens during the day at work (Table 1). The charging needs and rhythms of some EV owners allow cost minimisation by using the spot-pricing contracts or “free hour” deals offered by some suppliers.
EV and PHEV owners that have solar generation are a special case. Some still have night-time reduced rate deals, but others avoid such contracts because they try to charge their cars during the day or have an excellent solar buy-back deal for excess power from their current supplier. Coupling home battery storage or introduction of vehicle-to-grid transfers would change this cost-benefit analysis.
The overall conclusion is that if price of electricity is important for you, you need to shop around and even negotiate with your supplier and then consider the entire demand of your household and contribution of your EV or PHEV’s to that. It’s quite complex and many of your specific circumstances should be considered.
Practical constraints like the need for smart meters or timers (and the ‘know how’ to set them up), or a need to charge during day time were mentioned by some respondents, irrespective of whether they chose or favoured night-time contracts (13% of all comments, Table 1). Some commentators pointed out that these additional requirements are too expensive or inconvenient to warrant shifting their electricity supply to a night-time rate for their EV or PHEV.
As is common in many of the 1-click surveys conducted by Flip the Fleet, a portion of the EV and PHEV owners consider environmental impact as primary criteria for their choices. For some EV and PHEV owners it is more important to use electricity generated entirely from renewable sources, or to charge at low peak periods to not add their burden to infrastructure that is stretched at peak demand times, than to minimise the cost of electricity (Table 1).
Discussion, conclusions and recommendations:
It’s clear that many EV and PHEV owners are acutely aware of their electricity needs and potential impacts, as well as their growing consumer clout in a highly competitive energy market. As the number of EVs and PHEVs escalates geometrically, we can expect sweeter deals for their owners and imaginative contracts from suppliers to integrate EV ‘fuelling’ into national electricity supply options and constraints. Technology development and especially electricity pricing differentials targeting EV and PHEV needs are important tools to encourage behaviour change in their owners to minimise our collective burden on the grid and minimise emissions. We hope that EV and PHEV owners acknowledge that a lack of tail-pipe emissions does not necessarily equate to electric vehicles not generating greenhouse gases or triggering electricity demand changes that prolong the use of fossil fuels for generating electricity in New Zealand.
The variation in prices paid for electricity to charge electric vehicles is extreme. This may indicate considerable opportunity for many EV owners to further minimise their transport costs. There is also considerable opportunity for some electricity suppliers to bring on more EV-friendly contract structures to capture a rapidly increasing share of the energy market. Optimising overall household and business costs is complex and may require adjustment of other charging times and time that we use electricity for other things. Development of simple online calculators to optimise overall electricity use would help individual owners and businesses choice the best contracts and trade-off cost and calculated environmental benefits from charging at different times of the day.
Your comments in detail:
Below is a lightly edited and re-arranged record of all the comments received.
It’s common cents:
“Why wouldn’t I switch to pay less?” ● “Who doesn’t want to save money?” ● “Off peak nights are the best price, convenient time to charge and high chance of being 100% renewable energy” ● “Made financial sense to do so. We now run the house & 2 EV’s for less than we were previously paying for house alone when on a non EV tariff with previous energy supplier” ● “The final decision would be on a comparison of rates. But keen to charge at a good rate” ● “Because it’s what I have” ● “It will simply help the adoption of EVs across NZ….” ● “Well night-time rates make the whole house electricity account cheaper and of course vehicle running costs are down too. I am with Mercury and they have it already” ● “If it was a personal choice, I would swap to a provider who had a discounted night-time price provided the rest of their service was the same as the current provider – it’s no brainer”
“We moved to Flick before last winter….” ● “Already have the special rate with Flick – I was their first customer” ● “I’m already with Meridian on their EV owners plan at 11cents for an extended night rate” ● “I have been with Mercury for a number of years, with dual fuel discounts, loyalty discounts, and now with 20% discount on ALL power consumed between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. because I have registered details of my LEAF with them. Result, I am spending less on recharging than my 20% discount so “fuel” costs me nothing!” ● “We are with Ecotricity and they do not have daytime and night-time rates. Their rates change in blocks of time and are a lot cheaper than most from 11 pm to 7 am. We set to car to charge between midnight and 4 am when the power is cheapest (for us this is 15.23 cents/KWh including GST. They also pay for solar exported back into the grid. We have been contacted by other power companies and given price comparisons based on our previous bill. The best was 25% dearer” ● “With Mercury and get 20% off during night period of 11pm – 7am” ● “I’ve got a good rate and contract with Mercury” ● “Have looked at other suppliers many times but none give such a good discount (22%) as Contact” ● “We have recently changed suppliers and now have a really good deal with Pulse Energy. I doubt it could be matched” ● “I use Powershop and although they do not offer night-time discounts for EV owners they still work out cheaper overall compared to companies that do” ● “we have already switched from Meridian to Ecotricity as they offer cheaper price during the night to charge our EV” ● “Current supplier offers lower rates for any night-time use” ● “I’m with flick energy so already get a pretty good price overnight in off peak times”
… and not so favourable suppliers:
“It would naturally help all EV owners if it was possible to charge overnight (presumably the most common period chosen, for convenience sake) at a cheaper rate. I approached the CEO of Contact Energy about this idea a year or so ago, and the dismissive response has been a factor in my subsequent decision to change power supplier (currently in progress) to one that has an overnight rate as a possibility”
It’s complex – consider lots of factors in your choice:
“Just changed to Ecotricity flat rate. Have not done the maths on cheaper night rate – might just be too hard to work out” ● “We won’t switch for a number of reasons: (i) We’re with Ecotricity…because they are the only Carbon Zero certified electricity company; (ii) Moreover, their generation partner, and co-owner, Pioneer Energy, is a great little company I’m very keen to support; (iii) We get an OK export price from them for our PVs of 8c per kwh; (iv) We can do most of our charging during the day, from the PVs…so we usually don’t need much of a top-up overnight. So for all these reasons, a better overnight price is a very low priority for us” ● “[I won’t switch because of] other incentives offered by the provider” ● “Depends a bit on the plan offered. i.e. if they offer all power at a low cut rate between certain off-peak hours (e.g. 11pm to 6am), or whether a separate meter to record off-peak use has to be installed (and if so, at what installation/ongoing cost?)” ● “I also have a solar array on my roof and factors that I consider when choosing a supplier are COST of electricity; VALUE of exported solar generation; DISCOUNTS like the EV discount; PREVIOUS RELATIONSHIPS, ie whether I have used them before and had a positive or negative experience; PUBLIC BENEFITS such as whether they are associated with organisations (like Mercury and Northpower) that are putting charging points along roads”
Optimise the entire household electricity demand:
“Taking maximum advantage of discounted power was part of my EV strategy. I also program other electrical drains to work at night” ● “I found that I could get a cheaper overall rate [without chasing the cheaper night-time rate]” ● “I have controlled rate hot water (discounted) so to go to a night rate for the EV means I lose this discount. Along with that if I get night rates, then generally the day time rate goes up too so I would pay more for not only hot water but also any daytime usage. EZv electricity usage (2000 km/month) still not worth the change. We are a family of five so not that practical to put a whole lot of appliance use until after 11pm – we have tried…” ● “It’s not that simple… you have to take into account the final cost of all electricity, not just the car. It might be better to get a good price all day (our case) then get good price to charge your car and then get ripped off on everything else” ● “Well it’s not a freebie. They may give you cheaper night rate, but they put up the price of the day rate. I know what my usage patterns are like now, so every six months or so I check out the prices, eg on powerswitch, and make a change if I see a better deal. But my experience is the ones offering discount night rate for EV owners are not the ones that work out cheapest for this family” ● “It would depend on total contribution to power bill charging the EV”
Trading-off day and night prices:
“Sometimes a very good overnight rate is offset by an expensive daytime rate” ● “I already get 20% discount on all my power for prompt payment. If I change to night/day rates I expect my daytime power rate will go up” ● “The last time I switched there were ‘EV discounts’ available from some retailers, but they were not the cheapest given my mix of day and night rate usage. Actually, I was a bit surprised by this, as we have a reasonable high ratio of night:day use, with car charging, hot water cylinder, dishwasher, all being done at night on night rate. So I actually believe it’s a bit of a gimmick” ● “If the day rate is competitive then a night rate discount in Auckland is attractive” ● “I changed to Flick to get a cheaper night price – this is not specifically for EV owners. I am disappointed in the price difference between day and night however, so am considering switching to Meridian or Mercury offers for EV owners” ● “It just makes sense so long as the daytime rate didn’t go up, which it didn’t”
Not using enough electricity for night-time rate to be attractive:
“My electric bill for my Leaf is peanuts. No need to chase a cheaper deal” ● “We are in such lower power users I don’t think it will make much of a difference” ● “Using an EV is already financially advantageous enough” ● “It’s not worth switching for the savings that I would make. We are only talking a few dollars. We only do about one charge per week living in Dunedin” ● “My overall unit cost is 25c including GST and line charges etc. I am only using about $30 worth of power per month in my car, and in summer a good proportion of this comes for free from my roof. I suspect that anything I saved on night rate charging would be lost in higher rates for my daytime use” ● “Charging my Leaf is a small part of our power bill, so while good night rates would be attractive it wouldn’t be a key driver of a decision about supplier” ● “My EV Power usage is low, 1 or 2 kWh per day. I replace an old fridge freezer a couple of weeks before I got the EV ant my power bill has gone down about 1kWh per day”
It’s not just about the 11 pm till 7 am slot:
“TrustPower are now passing on the WE special EV owners benefit of access to night rate from 9pm instead of 11pm” ● “From my knowledge from working with the NZ electricity wholesale market, and specifically when I last compared day and night spot prices, I could not see a very significant or widespread underlying economic benefit from shifting load from day to night. This could be at least partly because of the shift away from coal and gas generation and because peak supply capacity constraints have largely been removed in the process of providing more reliable power supplies throughout the country. While there still appears to be significant underlying economic benefits from shifting load away from morning and evening peak hours (as evidenced by Electric Kiwi’s free hour of power), there is not so much real benefit from shifting to night-time usage” ● “Supplier would have to offer a cheaper rate than I currently pay. This is not always the case even if discounted for a night even rate” ● “despite not being able to do detailed checks on when I use power, I think I am doing about as well as I can with a 20% discount on all power” ● “We will switch only if it saves money overall. On the Mainpower network line charges are currently fixed price with no time of day option. Hence retailers can only offer discounts at night based upon lower energy costs. The few EV-based plans available from selected retailers on the Mainpower network would actually cost more than other non-EV plans from other retailers so aren’t worthwhile. Mainpower is currently reviewing line charges so this may change in the future”
Spot-pricing can be a better deal:
“Our supplier provides a Time-of-use pricing structure. This allows us to schedule the car charging to the cheapest part of the night” ● “We are currently with Flick and use spot pricing to charge our EV at off peak times to take advantage of low prices. I think this is a better deal than a fixed price company” ● “I am with Flick and find it easier to manage my charging based on the spot pricing”
EV owners can negotiate their electricity price:
“Been with Powershop for ages. I finally persuaded them to offer the special WE EV rate” ● “I pushed my suppler to provide such a solution. It was an uphill battle but I won. The supplier is Genesis. I may change to Ecotricity however” ● “Already with Mercury who offer EV night rate, you just have to ask for it though as they don’t rate it automatically” ● “EVers are a rapidly growing market in highly competitive industry – we can probably drive better deals in our direction”
“For my power consumption, it suits me far better to be with Electric Kiwi, and its free hour of off-peak power. I manage charging of an EV and a PHEV with zero cost” ● “I signed up with Electric Kiwi because I liked their one free hour of power every single day. We make really good use of that one hour, including charging (topping up) our Nissan Leaf. Our overall savings for the year were 50% of our electricity bill. I’ve looked at what other companies are offering, and for us, nothing comes even close. There’s just two of us, my wife and I, living in a Tiny House which I built myself. But we also have a 200m2 workshop right next to the Tiny House where we take our power from. So, our monthly bill of approx. $65 includes charging the car for an hour every night, plus heat pump, electrical appliances, fridge etc, lighting as well as the power we use in the workshop, where we’re building another Tiny House. I know that everyone has a different situation, but we’ve found the best deal for us” ● “I am currently with Electric Kiwi for power. They have the lowest cost per kWh that I have found and they offer one free hour of power every day. I can save “fuel” charges by arranging that my free hour of power comes within my charging period. Being retired, I do not have an excessive daily mileage and only charge once or twice a week. If I travelled a larger daily distance, I would maybe have answered differently [Respondent answered ‘4 – Probably Not’” ● “In short, we use a free hour of power each day to top up the Leaf and also for other significant loads. Our electricity supplier is Electric Kiwi, and they offer 1 hour of free power each day. We charge the Leaf for 1.25 hours (drawing 1.9kW to gives 2.4kWh in) almost every day, starting just before 3:00pm to include the full free hour, and that covers about 70% of our needs. About once a month, if the Leaf gets down to 20% or so, we top up at the (free) fast charger in town while we do a bit of shopping. We also start our spa pool and hot water heating just before 3pm every day……”
The higher the EV use, the more incentive there is to use night-time rates:
“If I was using the car to commute to work I would almost certainly use the cheap night-time rate” ● “Retired. Low use requiring charge only twice a week and sometimes use Vector as top up – currently free [This respondent answered ‘4- Probably No’]
The boss pays anyway:
“I currently charge at work. But if I was offered a super deal then I would switch companies and install my wall charger that I have had sitting in a box for almost a year” ● “I like the idea but currently my EV is a work van that gets charged at work” ● “I’m not in charge of the power bill here but if I were, I’d go with the cheapest company”
“We have negotiated a good rate at present” ● “Already have gone onto night-time rates and love the savings” ● “Every incentive helps make EV ownership more appealing” ● ““My supplier offered it. Mercury at 20% night-charge discount between 11 Pm to 7 am” ● “There is more to choosing an electricity supplier than just price! I am happy to pay a bit more to make sure that my EV runs on 100% renewable energy”
… and not so happy campers:
“Very few discounts are available for EV owners” ● “Currently with Contact & disenchanted with their dumb fixed plan offers. I would have switched to Electric Kiwi but my smart meter won’t send data & I can’t change at the moment” ● “I switched to Electric Kiwi about a month ago, because they offered an hour of free off peak power whereas Powershop didn’t have any off peak rates”
Flexibility and convenience for charging whenever suits:
“I like the flexibility of using it when I want” ● “I have the flexibility to charge my car at any time without worrying about what it will cost”
Need to match against your day and night-time rhythms:
“We use our EVs daily for work, Taxi and rental car. So night-time charging is when the car is idle (like for most people). If I were retired or worked at home, I would consider other energy providers that offer incentives around charging that is convenient to that lifestyle” ● “I charge the car during the day often” ● “Because we don’t have to charge at night. We work at home, so usually do partial charges during the day, either when the sun is shining ( we have PV) or we take advantage of our electric kiwi free hour of power” ● “For people working away from home, night-time charging makes perfect sense. It also makes sense to avoid existing peaks – but we do that with our substitution and off-peak mix anyway” ● ““Predominantly we charge at night unless we are going longer distances during the day. But this would be rare”
Switching providers to get the best deal:
“I’ve had an EV for a little over three years and have switched four times “ ● “I was with TrustPower and already enjoying a cheaper night rate from 11pm to 7am, but they raised their prices recently, with the night rate moving up from 11.3 to 12.3 cents / kWh. Also, TrustPower are not passing on the WE special EV owners benefit of access to night rate from 9pm instead of 11pm. We are now with “”Paua to the People”” who, charge the wholesale price of power and add just 1c / kWh to that. Until the very recent blowout in wholesale generation costs over the last three weeks, we have been paying them, on average, between 7c and 8c / kWh between 9pm and 7am. As we have for years sought to minimise our power costs by pushing load into the night hours, it has been an easy transition to charge the EV at night also, so that now, around 75% of our total electricity consumption takes place at night. Right now, the night rate cost is typically up around 12c / kWh due to the increased spot generation costs, but we are assured that this will settle back down again prior to Christmas. We hope so!” ● “Currently I am on an all-time flat rate. Talking to other EV driver they showed me their power bill and from 22:00 to 07:00 their rates are half of what I am paying. I will continue for a couple of months with my current supplier to get a price base and then change and compare it again, especially now that we are getting a second EV” ● “It would save me money. I didn’t need to switch, before I got my EV I asked my current company if they did an EV night rate and they did (though not advertised on their website). If they hadn’t I would have switched to one that did.
Undecided or can’t be bothered switching:
“Depends on their offer as flick has some wicked low night rates most nights. Also, what’s the day rate and do they offer solar buy back if I was to invest in a solar system” ● “I would need to know the other conditions for supply of electricity and whether or not, overall, they would be beneficial for me when compared with the existing supplier” ● “I am not sure but look forward to receiving more responses from other RV people” ● “Inertia, is the honest explanation [for not wanting to switch]. Bill paying etc. already setup and linked to other offers”
Currently locked in:
“At the moment we are locked into a contract that we signed before we bought an EV with a two-year minimum term. I would switch to an electricity supplier with a reduced night-time rate as part of an EV package if they would also pay the penalty clause in shifting from our current supplier. We will switch to whichever supplier has 100% renewable electricity and the best night-time rate as soon as the lock-down period has elapsed”
Bring on the Vehicle to Grid charging:
“If we had V2G technology, it would be even better, because we’d be able to support the grid during the early evening peak [respondent has a solar panel]”
Maximising use of renewable energy:
“Most important thing for me is to use an electricity supplier that is carbon zero- otherwise will be driving on electricity that is still on average only 66% green (Despite the fact that we have 80% renewable it is only 66% carbon zero, because geothermal, while renewable, emits CO2). My supplier is Ecotricity who is the only certified carbon zero supplier that I know of” ● “We switched to Ecotricity for its carbon neutral offering, and although the night-time rate is good, there are other providers who offer better” ● “Convenience and 100% renewable are more important to us [than cost savings]” ● “I’d like to encourage business that is taking sustainability seriously – so they can have a bit extra from me to prosper in a vicious energy market and prevail compared to those electricity suppliers that are getting away with not paying the fuel social and environmental costs of fossil-fuel electricity production” ● “We are with Ecotricity because they are carbon neutral and their rates are reasonable. We’re on a peak/off-peak tariff which I’m happy with” ● “I know there are probably cheaper options out there but I really like Ecotricity and their ethos. Have been having a conversation with them as to what options I have for night rates but I also do a bit of charging during the day so we’re not sure I would gain much…” ● “I charge the car at night anyway so it makes sense to choose the cheapest option especially when the power at night is generated from renewables” ● “I realise now that having an EV has heightened my awareness about renewable energy – why didn’t I care as much and sign the cheapest electricity deal available (Contact Energy – second biggest retailer, about half generated from fossil fuels)?” ● “overnight charging is easy and increases the environmental benefit”
Spread the load on the electricity grid, reduce the need for infrastructure:
“Our electricity system needs to ensure that not too many things are turned on during our peak demand periods. Pricing signals are a good way to drive this behaviour. The defenders of the status quo will be using the risks of everyone plugging their cars in at the same time as an excuse to delay roll-out of the fleet. Some form of forced “hot water element or car, but not both” technology may be required if the voluntary price signals aren’t good enough” ● “I’m keen to help NZ “peak shed” i.e. avoid charging the EV in the morning, and especially the evening peak period because that’s when the nation uses the fossil fuels to meet electricity demand. We use a timer to charge at night at the moment even though the electricity costs us the same then as during the day” ● “Cheaper charging, better time of use to encourage more efficient use of existing infrastructure” ● “The relationship between power providers and EV owners is a two way street. They offer a lower night rate but in return they are getting much higher energy use from the customer. Essentially, they are muscling in on traditional fuel providers (Z, BP) without having to install any additional hardware infrastructure. Both the supplier and user end up happy, and the world is a better place for encouraging sustainable transportation” ● “It would save me money and spread the load (not important for just one user, but could be useful if EV numbers increase). I’d like to see some smarter chargers that would make this feasible: sometimes you need to charge now, other times, charging at night is just fine” ● “Because it should be cheaper, but also because off-peak charging is better for the whole network. It helps optimise existing infrastructure and there should be value shared between network owners, retailers and consumers for ‘good behaviour’” ● “Because it would mean more efficient use of off-peak energy supply”
Integration with solar generation:
“I have 10kw of solar on my roof, so switching doesn’t make as much sense for me. I prefer to charge in the daytime with pure solar. In winter it may be another story, so I am keeping an open mind, but having a company that pays 17c/kwh buy back is a big incentive to stay with my current provider” ● “I’m with Ecotricity who offer a cheaper rate during the night on their Low Solar plan, although that is not a dedicated EV night-time charging plan. However, I don’t actually have to pay attention to that at all, because I charge my EV during the daytime from my own solar panels” ● “My supplier is Ecotricity and we have a Grid tied PV system, so when possible, the car is charged when I have surplus solar generation” ● “I have solar so can’t get cheap night rates” ● “I am retired, so my car is generally home sufficiently long throughout the week during daytime hours to maximise use of my solar panels” ● “I have 20 solar panels giving up to 5.4KW power. I am at home most of the day and charge during the day when I am generating power, preferably more than 3KW, which would otherwise go into the grid and gain me 7c per KWH. My running costs for the Leaf are approx. one cent per kilometre” ● “I have solar panels and charge up my EV during the day when possible so that I’m using the sun rather than the grid” ● “[We are not using night-time rate] because we have a Photovoltaic system installed on our house and use it to charge the car most of the time, carefully synchronising what power we have available by on-line monitoring to what we use in the house – during daytime (and when the sun shines) of course!” ● “We are about to have solar PV installed so will try to charge during the day” ● “I have a 3.42 kw PV system on my house, and at this stage I am more interested in learning about how to store the excess energy produced. I intend to increase the number of panels and I hope to go off grid in the long term if possible” ● “I gain more by charging from my solar panels during the day” ● “We have solar power and do most of our car charging during the middle of the day to minimise the amount of power we export” ● “I need a plan that supports EV as well as solar power and that is not a combination offered so far” ● “Since we have a 3.75kw solar array and our last power bill was $26, I’m not sure they would want me as a customer” ● “I have PV panels producing my own power on sunny days and I use this whenever I can. I am retired so often home in daytime” ● “Our current supplier offers a good grid buyback rate on our excess solar. We would need to weigh up the difference financially before making a change” ● “We have our own solar panels so we generally charge our car during the day when the sun shines. If the day is overcast, we would like to have the option of charging late at night on a reduced rate” ● “I’ve actually just achieved this (with Genesis), but with adoption probably not starting until autumn & winter, when the sun don’t shine – much. Meanwhile, we will use summer daytime solar for majority of charging, & revert to night rates when situation justifies (i.e. “free” solar vs 15c/unit night rate)” ● “Mercury gives us an EV discount, which is good, but I’d switch to Flick if they had an export tariff for the surplus from our solar panels”
Grid-tied solar doesn’t make sense:
“I would consider “smart” Solar to charge my car… however, grid-tied solar in NZ does not make sense and should be discouraged”
Incentive to install solar generation:
“I have had six voltaic panels on the roof long before buying my PEV. Since buying the PEV I have installed another six voltaic panels and am often able to charge the EV completely during the middle of the day at the slowest rate AND run the house appliances without having to import much electricity. (I can sometimes even export electricity)”
Optimising by having home battery storage:
“Our present electricity supplier does not have night rates, but its sister company does. When I have time, I shall change and have a battery installed, so I can use el. at daytime as well at night-time rates”
A dedicated outlet for an EV:
“I already use a supplier that offers cheaper overnight electricity, but I would consider changing to one who offered a better deal, or even cheaper electricity during the day if there was a method of connecting just the car” ● “It would be definitely yes if I could find an easy way to connect my garage separately to the cheap rate meter like our water heater is on now”
Connect your EV charger to the night store circuit:
“We have night-rate night store and hot water but have yet get the ecar onto that circuit.”
The need for a timer and knowing how to use it:
“It has taken a while to get used to the timer and we caught once during the day when we figured we had activated the override to charge for an early evening trip. But mostly it’s sweet. I wonder if a lot of Leaf owners are not using the timer to suck up the power at night because of the Japanese dashboard – perhaps an electricity supplier could offer a free language conversion for the dashboard as a start-up (switch over) bonus?” ● “I don’t have the facility to turn on my car charger at 11pm and I go to bed before then” ● “I moved to flick when I bought the car, then worked out how to use the Leaf timer”
The need to install a smart meter:
“I looked into this a while back, but switching to get night rates would also require installing a new meter. The cost of the new meter would negate the savings of getting the night rate” ● “Don’t want a smart meter”
Don’t use your dashboard to reliably estimate your electricity usage:
“One of the things I have noticed is that my km/kwh reading in my Leaf does not tally with the power I am charged by the power company. So the vehicle is less efficient that it says”
A need for smarter chargers:
“I’d like to see some smarter chargers that would make this feasible: sometimes you need to charge now, other times, charging at night is just fine”
Night-time security might be a concern:
“We don’t have a wall mounted charging unit and we don’t have a garage. Carport is too open and we don’t leave our cables out overnight”
Local free charger makes this less of an issue:
“We’ve been able to top-up on free power from the local rapid charger – I must get more organised when that goes” ● “Where there is community charge options, just a top up is needed at home – so it’s not as big a deal as day night hot water heating etc.”
Restricted choice in the country:
“The problem is finding a provider that offers a good rate where I live. That’s not so easy in the country”
Keep it a level playing field:
“There’s a whiff of contrivance and privilege that I dislike in offering a discount to plugin vehicle owners only. If it makes business sense for an electricity supplier to offer a price profile like you describe, why not offer it to anyone who wants it? Then I’d stop ignoring the deal on egalitarian grounds, but still ignore it because we charge from our own solar power system”
Sharing your knowledge helps everyone:
“thank you, for all your great work on Flip the Fleet!” ● “I trust this is helpful. Keep up the good work!”
What should we ask the members next? Please suggest questions to ask of your fellow EV owners in future 1-click surveys – email your requests to email@example.com.
Henrik Moller and Dima Ivanov
16 December 2017