Q: How much does it cost to charge a typical vehicle, and how does that compare to what I would pay at home?
A: The cost, as regulated by the Public Service Commission, will be $0.18/kWh (what is a kWh?), vs. $0.12-0.13/kWh at home. To fuel 300 miles of travel,
- Cost, charging an electric vehicle (EV) at a Town station assuming the EV has a battery capacity of 75kWh and a range of 300 miles: Assuming the current $0.18/kWh rate, fully charging the battery would cost $13.50 (75kW x 18 cents/kW).
- Cost, fully charging the same EV at home: A home charge would be about $9.00.
- Cost, filling the tank of a gas vehicle that gets 30 mpg: A vehicle that gets 30 mpg would need 10 gallons for the 300 miles. At $3.00/gallon, the cost would be $30.00. If you take maintenance into consideration, the cost-per-mile comparison is even greater, as there is very little maintenance for EVs.
Learn more about the range of EV battery capacities from Car and Driver.
Q: How do the chargers differ from our home meter connections?
A: Pepco is a public utility company that provides electricity to individual residential homes through direct utility line connections and billing to the residential customers at that address. In contrast, their EV stations will be connected to the electric utility lines and commercially available for general use both by town residents and any non-residents, without regard to established residential customer accounts.
Q: Does the Town’s zoning ordinances allow the installation of chargers in the residential areas?
A: Our zoning ordinances regulate construction on private property in order to assure that the scale and use of each parcel does not negatively impact its neighbors or the Town in general. As the Planning Commission noted in its review of the zoning ordinances (PDF), the ordinances do not apply to town-owned property, so the Town’s residents and its Council are left to make decisions about our common property.
Q: Has the Town investigated other opportunities for chargers?
A: The Sustainability Group has to date found only one group with a comparable offer to Pepco. This is a startup in Ohio that offers a package that includes design, installation, connection to utility, construction, maintenance, software for billing and termination provisions. Unfortunately, to date, they only operate in Ohio. Other better-known companies operating in this area offer parts of this package but not all, and none at no cost.
Q: What is the urgency to install chargers now?
A: Virtually all climate scientists agree that we are in an existential crisis with one opportunity to avoid catastrophic climate disruption. That opportunity can only happen if everyone steps forward to do everything we can to eliminate the emission of greenhouse gases. Emissions from the transportation sector are currently 29% of the U.S. total. All major vehicle manufacturers have committed to a fast conversion to electric. Enabling adoption of electric vehicles is critical to ensuring our children’s ability to prosper as much as we have. Montgomery County has estimated that its emissions from transportation are 40% of its total emissions (a higher percentage than the national percentage), which makes converting to electric vehicles an even more significant step locally.
Q: How many town residents might use a public EV charging station if they could not charge their electric vehicle directly at home?
A: There are 5-6 residents of houses on The Circle that cannot park on their own property. There are also a sizable number of residents that do not have garages, where private charger installation is easiest and cheapest. Another group does not have driveways adjacent to their houses; residents in this group would need to run underground cables from electricity sources to remote posts that support the chargers—not an inexpensive undertaking.
Q: Should the Town charge Pepco a fee for use of Town land?
A: The Council could determine whether it has the authority to do so, then negotiate with Pepco. There is no guarantee that Pepco would agree to re-structuring the offer to differ from what was mandated by the Public Service Commission.
Q: Are electric chargers appropriate to a historic district?
A: The locations being considered are in areas that have traditionally been devoted to public uses: parking areas for the Town Hall, church, Woman’s Club and athletic fields. They located on public park property and not next to houses. The Town has successfully adapted to the introduction of most modern services, including power, water, sewer, telephone, and cable TV, all the while keeping its historic character. As long as the charging equipment itself and its use are modest, it is likely that the equipment will also be in keeping with that character. The continuation of the Town as a historic district depends on the Town’s successful inclusion of the necessary services required for modern life. View the Historic Preservation Commission’s comments to the Council regarding the compatibility of the proposed charging stations with the historic character of the Grove (PDF).
Q: Will the Town be able to negotiate with Pepco about the appearance of the chargers?
A: The Town will work with Pepco to adapt their standard design to Grove characteristics. If the design is not compatible, the Town will not agree to the installation.
Q: What level/speed of charging would the Pepco charging stations provide?
A: Pepco would install Level 2 chargers (240 volts), which offer the fastest charging that any potential sites in the Grove can support. Level 3 direct current (DC) fast chargers require higher voltage than is readily available at the potential sites. More information:
- From Forbes: What Are The Different Levels Of Electric Vehicle Charging?
- From J.D. Power: What is DC Fast Charging?
Q: Is there a good way to estimate mileage gained per hour of charge?
A: The general range is 18-28 miles per hour of charge.