for immediate release
EV owners keep a close watch on electricity prices
Around a quarter of New Zealand’s electric vehicle owners already enjoy a cheaper night-time electricity price that has been discounted to minimise their costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Almost half of the remainder would also be interested in switching to night-time rate contracts if their suppliers provided the option in a way that optimises their overall household energy bill.
These are some key findings of this month’s survey by Flip the Fleet, a citizen science coalition of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle owners that upload data from their vehicles to a communal database each month.
“Many EV owners are hunting for the best deal and are quite prepared to switch suppliers to match their car’s and household’s electricity demand. They are seeking to both minimise costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using electricity late in the evening or early in the morning when the nation’s fossil fuelled electricity generators are put to sleep”, says Morgan Knoesen, a Flip the Fleet spokesperson and renewable energy specialist.
One respondent summed it up this way: “Off-peak night deals are the best price, convenient time to charge and have high chance of being 100% renewable energy”.
Just 20% of 282 EV owners that responded to the survey said they would ‘definitely’ or ‘probably’ not switch to a night-time deal, mainly because it did not suit their home charging rhythm or solar panel set-up. Some were reluctant to invest in the smart meter or timer equipment needed to schedule the night charging. Others have a good overall household discount already, and because fixed night-time rates are usually offset with higher day-time rates. For them it pays to stay away from the evening electricity price deals, especially if they don’t drive their EV that far. One respondent said “My electric bill for my EV is peanuts. I have no need to chase a cheaper deal”.
Nevertheless, Flip the Fleet owners vary tenfold in the price they pay for electricity – some averaging around 4c per kWh, others are up at 45 c/kWh. The average price they pay for household power is 20.4 c/kWh. Using our average observed transport efficiency, and allowing for 20% loss as heat when the battery is charged, suggests that New Zealand’s electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid owners are spending around 4c/km on average to power their vehicles.
“Our 4c/km estimate will be an over-estimate for many EV owners because we’ve used a pessimistic estimate of energy loss during charging. Also, some owners take advantage of a ‘free hour’ deal or use solar panels, and many others are lucky enough to have a free public rapid charger in their vicinity” said Mr Knoesen.
“Our renewable energy resource makes New Zealand an ideal place to own electric vehicles. The rapidly increasing number of EV owners are set to take up a large slice of our domestic electricity market. We hope that electricity suppliers get all the more creative in their pricing plans to help owners get the best out of their EVs and for our environment”.
Flip the Fleet is a citizen science project that provides scientifically reliable information on the benefits and constraints of electric vehicles in New Zealand. The project is partly funded by MBIE’s Curious Minds portfolio, through Otago Museum.
Participation is free and all New Zealand’s electric vehicle owners can enrol at www.flipthefleet.org
The Flip the Fleet project is described at: www.flipthefleet.org. See the ‘Discussion’ and the ‘Resources’ pages there for further data and results of a recent survey of New Zealand’s electric vehicle owners about battery health.
Many direct quotes of the participants in the survey described in this media release can be extracted from http://flipthefleet.org/2017/1-click-survey-14/
Contacts for more statements:
Henrik Moller, Prof Emeritus, Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago; and cofounder of Flip the Fleet – 027 2268 688 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dima Ivanov, PowerStats Ltd.; and cofounder of Flip the Fleet; 021 927 346; email@example.com
Flip the Fleet has members spread throughout New Zealand. We list the contact details of some local contributors below in case you want to get a local perspective for your story. Please ring 027 2268688 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can find a local member to speak to you.