About Electric Vehicles
There are more electric vehicles (EVs) on the road every year, including in Alaska. There are two types of EVs that connect to the grid. Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) run solely on electricity stored in batteries, commonly with a range of 200-300 miles or more. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) typically can run for a limited range (often 25-40 miles) on battery power before switching over to an internal combustion engine.
Charging takes place at three levels:
- Level 1 at 120 volts adds about 3-5 miles of range per charging hour
- Level 2 at 208-240 volts adds about 20-30 miles per charging hour
- Level 3 at 480 volts can substantially recharge an EV battery in 20-30 minutes
Connectors come in different styles, with some proprietary to a particular manufacturer. For some Chugach programs intended to foster public charging, applicants must agree to install universal J1772 connectors.
Electric Vehicle Incentives
Chugach is offering several electric vehicle related incentives to promote the use of EVs in Alaska. Individually the incentives are intended to help the utility’s members interested in owning and driving an EV and the businesses that would like to serve them. Collectively, the programs will help Chugach learn more about the trend toward transportation electrification and its impacts on the grid.
Applicants may apply for more than one program for different installations, but an individual charger cannot receive funding from more than one program.
Here are links to current and upcoming Chugach programs to provide electric vehicle incentives.
Questions? Contact Sean Skaling at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (907) 762-4192.
EV Charging Research program (Fully subscribed)
EV Workplace Charging program (For employee charging)
EV Rental Reimbursement program (For test drives; not yet available)
EV Lease program (For transportation network drivers; not yet available)
EVs and the Triple-Bottom-Line Philosophy
Chugach has adopted a triple-bottom-line business philosophy, which broadens the financial bottom line to include social and environmental considerations for better long-term value. Using electricity as a transportation fuel provides a number of benefits. First, electricity is generally less expensive than liquid fuels. Another is significantly reduced transportation emissions. A third is that the use of kilowatt-hours for EV charging helps spread the fixed costs of a utility like Chugach across greater sales, which puts downward pressure on rates.
EVs in Alaska
Chugach periodically has a contractor count the number of electric vehicles (both all-electric and plug-in hybrids) registered in Alaska using software that reads the vehicle identification numbers. The number of registered EVs has risen steadily in recent years.
There are a wide variety of BEVs and PHEVs registered in the Municipality of Anchorage. In 2020 there were 12 makes and 16 models of battery electric vehicles in the Municipality and 12 makes and 19 models of PHEVs.
Chugach's EV is a 2017 Chevy Bolt, nicknamed Wattson. When fully charged it has a range of about 240 miles in the summer, losing up to 40% of its range in the winter when temperatures are coldest and short trips are taken.
Charging at Chugach
Chugach has installed a ChargePoint EV charging station which is available for public use in the parking lot at its headquarters at 5601 Electron Drive. While there is currently no charge to use it, drivers do need to first download the app or sign up for an account at chargepoint.com or dial the number on the charger.
How to Find a Charging Station
One of the most frequently used apps to find a charging station is called PlugShare. The app identifies the charger locations near you. It provides information including the type of charger, types and numbers of connectors, cost, nearby amenities, user comments, and photos. More detailed information is sometimes available for networked chargers. For example, the ChargePoint app provides more detail about their chargers, such as availability. If enabled, you may be able to join a queue to be next to charge and be notified when the charger becomes available, or when your vehicle charging is complete.
Cost of Charging an EV
The cost of charging an EV is about half the cost of fueling an internal combustion vehicle when fuel cost is $3.00 per gallon and electricity is $0.20 per kWh, which is Chugach's approximate residential rate*. Put in dollar terms, if you drive 10,000 miles in a year, you would spend $1,390 using an average efficiency gasoline vehicle, as compared to $690 to power an average efficiency electric vehicle, saving $700 per year.
*Assumes average electric vehicle efficiency of 2.9 miles per kWh and the average gasoline vehicle efficiency of 21.6 miles per gallon.
Efficiency of EVs
The primary reason for the low cost per mile is due to the efficiency of the electric drive system as compared to the relative inefficiency of an internal combustion engine. According to the US Department of Energy, approximately 16 to 25% of the energy in fuel is used to propel an internal combustion engine, whereas after regenerative braking, about 77 to 82% of the energy content of an electric vehicle powers the wheels.
The US Department of Energy provides interactive graphics that provide energy requirements for different driving conditions.
How to Charge at Home
You can plug into any regular 120 volt outlet to recharge your vehicle overnight. This Level 1 charging is slow, but will add 3 to 5 miles of range per hour. Overnight it may be enough to cover your daily driving.
Level 2 charging (240 volt) is faster, adding about 20 to 30 miles of range per hour. This can be accomplished by installing a 240 volt outlet close to your parking location and using a mobile connector, or by installing a Level 2 charger.
From electric grid perspective, the best time to charge is overnight starting after 11 pm, when system demand is decreasing. Most vehicles can be programed to start charging at a specified hour, or to achieve a certain charging level by a certain time of day.
The emissions to power electric vehicles take place at the power plants where electricity if generated. Chugach has a generation portfolio comprised of units powered by natural gas, hydro and wind. An electric vehicle charged on the Chugach system is responsible for an estimated 62% less carbon dioxide than an average-efficiency gasoline-powered passenger vehicle. In addition, an EV emits no cold-start carbon monoxide and other pollutants.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT THE LINKS PROVIDED BELOW:
Electric vehicles on the market
Save money with an EV, Plug in America article