Electric vehicles gaining traction in ND
In 2017, an electric vehicle (EV) charging program became available for the first time to Nodak Electric members. This program is designed to save electric vehicle owners money through a lower electricity rate for battery charging units that are hard-wired and off-peak controlled. Read on for more information.
While it may have seemed futuristic only a few years ago, electric vehicles are beginning to gain traction in North Dakota. Rapid advancements in battery technology now provide drivers with cost-effective vehicles that offer 100 to 300 miles of range per each charge.
The ability to save money is one of the major draws of electric vehicles. Charging with electricity is equivalent to less than $1 per gallon gasoline. If you participate in Nodak Electric’s off-peak charging program, the cost could be less than 65 cents per gallon. Electric vehicles also require significantly less maintenance. There are no oil changes, belts, air filters, spark plugs or other parts that need occasional replacement in a gasoline-powered vehicle.
One big question for many consumers in North Dakota is how electric vehicles perform in cold climates. Both gasoline and electric vehicles have lower efficiencies at colder temperatures. For EVs, cold weather can impact the distance you can travel per charge by 25 to 50 percent. Larger batteries, however, have less performance loss issues. Still, today’s EVs work well in cold climates. It is recommended that you store your EV in a garage during the winter and allow it to heat up while still plugged in. This will improve the battery range.
Nodak Electric members also get the satisfaction of knowing that they are charging with homegrown North Dakota energy. All of the electricity delivered to Nodak is generated by in-state resources, including coal, wind and hydro. By using electricity, you are supporting the cooperative that you own and the economy of your state.
Charging your EV
Charging times vary based on the vehicle and voltage of the charging station. Drivers can charge their electric vehicles through a standard 120-volt outlet, although it takes significantly longer (15-20 hours) than other charging options. Using 240-volt service, a dead battery can be fully charged in approximately two to four hours. Lastly, Direct Current (DC) quick charging is available at some gas stations and along major transportation corridors. On average, the DC charger can add 40 miles of range for every 10 minutes of charging.
Installing a home charger
You’ll charge your electric vehicle at home almost every day. Why not pay less every time you plug in?
The installation of a 240-volt charger qualifies you for a $50 per kilowatt (kW) rebate (maximum $500) and the money-saving off-peak charging rate. The off-peak program allows for the control of certain loads (most commonly heating and water heating) during periods of peak electrical demand. The financial savings realized by controlling loads are distributed back to the consumer through the off-peak electric rate, which is lower than the standard electric rate.
In exchange for the lower rate, electric vehicle charging times are limited to off-peak hours. During October through May, charging can be done from noon to 5 p.m., and from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. In the summer months, charging is available from midnight to 10 a.m. With only a few hours needed to completely charge an empty battery, most consumers are not inconvenienced by the limited charging times.
Public charging on the rise
Public charging options are increasingly becoming available in North Dakota and Minnesota lakes country. According to www.plugshare.com, a national online charging station locator, there are approximately 18 public charging options in North Dakota, with more planned for 2018. The Detroit Lakes and Bemidji areas also feature multiple public charging stations.
In Nodak’s service area, the new Minnkota Power Cooperative building features a free 240-volt charging station for public use.
Energy services is here to help
If you have questions about electric vehicles or are interested in installing a charging station in your home or business, contact Nodak Electric’s energy services team at 746-4461 or 800-732-4373. They will be able to assist with rebate questions and provide insight into technical requirements.