Duke Energy proposes ‘cutting edge’ electric vehicle pilot program

CHARLOTTE — Duke Energy Corp. has asked N.C. regulators to approve a $600,000 pilot to test a program that would enable its utilities to manage the charging of customer electric vehicles for a flat monthly fee.

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Duke plans to work with BMW of North America, Ford Motor Co., General Motors and American Honda Motor Co. Inc. to recruit 200 electric vehicle owners for the pilot. For 12 months, the participants would be able to charge their vehicles for a fixed monthly fee — $19.99 with Duke Energy Carolinas and $24.99 with Duke Energy Progress.

Duke has chosen those manufacturers because they install an Open Grid Vehicle Integration Platform in their cars. That is a specialized modem developed by the carmakers and the Electric Power Research Institute allowing utilities to access data on energy usage and charging information for each vehicle.

The charging will be managed by Duke, making use of rates that vary by time of day and other pricing signals Duke is building into its rate schedules to maximize efficiency, control peak-time demand, increase convenience for the customer and reduce carbon emissions on the electric system.

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“This is a first-of-its-kind program,” says Lon Huber, Duke’s vice president of rate design and strategic solutions. “It does have elements that have been tested out elsewhere. But nobody has put these two things together where you have that fixed subscription price and then the active-manage charging. So, this is a pretty cutting-edge stuff.”

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