Ninety five percent of consumers surveyed in Southern California say they would prefer to charge their electric vehicles (EVs) at home, according to a report from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).
In addition to personal preference, consumers who decide to purchase an electric vehicle are influenced by cost, convenience, overall performance of the vehicle and infrastructure support, says Arshad Mansoor, vice president for Power Delivery and Utilization at EPRI.
The survey, conducted in conjunction with Southern California Edison, found that 62 percent of respondents have a 3-prong, 120-volt outlet that meets the basic requirement for home charging: located close to the vehicle, typically in a garage, carport or driveway.
For 240-volt charging, about 83 percent of survey respondents report they have 240-volt service in their residence, but may require an additional outlet closer to the vehicle.
A key finding indicates that public fast-charging availability, for example, a 10-15 minute charge facility, may have a strong influence on PHEV adoption, as two in five hybrid owners and one in three non-hybrid owners say the capability will “definitely” influence their buying decision.
About 75 percent of respondents say they would pay a 33 percent premium (over the slower, at-home rate) to fast charge. However, that percentage drops to 30 percent if the cost of fast charging is double that of slow charging.
More than 50 percent of hybrid owners, compared to 28 percent of conventional vehicle owners, indicate that the next new vehicle they buy would probably or definitely be a PHEV. However, as gasoline price rises to $4.00 from a reference of $3.00, consumers who plan to buy a PHEV also increase.
In other news, EPRI announced a collaboration with Eaton Corp. and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) for a prototype integrated solar-assisted EV charging station to be built at EPRI’s research laboratory in Knoxville, Tenn.
Other stations also are planned for Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Nashville, Chattanooga and another site in Knoxville.
Eaton recently established a new business unit, Electric Transportation Infrastructure, targeted at the emerging electric vehicle and transportation infrastructure business within the company’s Electrical Sector.
The prototype charging station, also known as a Smart Modal Area Recharge Terminal, or SMART station, will provide information on energy usage, the time when the equipment is used, the amount of solar-generated electricity produced and stored, and the potential impact of load clusters — when several vehicles are refueled at the same time — on distribution system reliability, says EPRI.
One company who is ready to take advantage of increased demand for residential charging stations is Coulomb Technologies. The company has unveiled a residential charging station for EVs that can be used at home and for light commercial use such as by utilities, fleet managers and auto manufacturers.
The CT500 Level II ChargePoint Networked Charging Station is based on an open interface, standards-based architecture. In addition, Coulomb’s ChargePoint Network is open to all drivers of plug-in vehicles and provides authentication, management, and real-time control for the networked electric vehicle charging stations.
The network of EV charging stations is accessible to all plug-in drivers by making a toll free call to the 24/7 number on each charging station, or by signing up for a ChargePoint Network monthly access plan and obtaining a ChargePoint ChargePass smart card.