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As you will see in this complete electric car off peak charging analysis, there are numerous factors that need to be considered when you are actually calculating the marginal cost of charging on an electric car on your electricity bill. These numbers are important for two reasons.
First off, most electricity providers have a Tiered Pricing System where you pay a lower rate for a baseline amount of usage per month, and higher incremental rates for higher usage rates.
Think — progressive federal income taxes. These are winter rates in the county I live in — summer rates are in fact higher, but for the sake of consistency this entire analysis will be based on winter rates.
Secondly, understanding your current usage by hour of day will be important to understand how your usage will be billed once you move into a Time of Use Metering schedule, which adds a second dimension of complexity to the cost analysis.
So basically, you need to understand your overall usage in a month to pin down your price tiering and when you use it to figure out your time of use pricing. If you are interested in the nuts and bolts, here is a link to the Chevy Volt Electricity Usage Analysis spreadsheets I used to build my cost analysis.
To build the analysis, I boiled down the data to an average weekday-day and average weekend-day to perform my analysis. The charts are below.
You will notice a trend of usage that differs in time of use and total amount of usage depending on whether it is a weekday or weekend.
To give you some background, the reason my electricity usage profile looks like this is because I live in a house with one other person, who also works during the day.
As such, most of the electricity usage happens in the evening hours. Your personal electricity usage profile will depend of course if you stay at home during the day, have kids, or run air conditioning. We are fortunate in the San Francisco area to have natural air condition most of the time.
Expected Energy Usage with Volt charging The second step in building your cost analysis is to figure out just how much electricity you will usage if you are plugging in your Volt every night.
Fortunately you can control when your Volt charges, so you can plan to have it charging basically during off peak hours. In my analysis, I assume that I will put 20 miles of electric range into the battery on an average day.
Below are my charts on time of electricity use with a Volt on weekdays and weekends.
Lastly, below is a chart of the total electricity usage in my case on an average weekday vs an average weekend with and without a Chevy Volt Charging. Before we enter the complications of Time of Use Metering, the first analysis you should do is to figure out how much more you would have to pay to charge your Volt without time of use metering to create a baseline.
The reason this analysis is not as straightforward as one might think is because all that additional energy usage that you are adding by charging your electric car will actually push you into a higher tiered rate. Again, like US taxes, think of the your when you got pushed into the higher tax bracket ouch right?
But with a Leaf, or heavily used Volt, it is entirely possible. Below is a graph breaking down the amount of usage as it would fall into the tiered pricing rates, as well as the total costs of that usage.
Not a good thing if you want to keep your incremental costs for charging the car lower. Again in my case the effect is more muted because I have KwH of usage under the baseload rate at tier 1 that I am not utilizing.
Many other people would see significant tier 3 charges. This is assuming I put 20 miles of electricity into the car per day, or miles a month KwH.
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