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As of: 1:44 PM, 11/15/19

An Electric Vehicles Story

Plug In Power

Driving electric vehicles is getting easier throughout the state

Tom Prout sees the looks on people’s faces when he pulls his 2017 Tesla Model S into a parking lot. Their expressions say, “what is that?” And then come the questions. Perhaps the most common one is this: How much does it cost to run that car? Prout bought an electric car because he wants to save the environment. But the Indian River resident keeps a spreadsheet of how much it costs to operate his Tesla - and those savings are huge.

That’s thanks in part to our support for electric vehicles, or EVs. For customers who charge their cars during off-peak hours, we offer lower rates that would allow Prout to drive roughly 300 miles for less than $8.

Prout appreciates the savings, of course. But he likes Consumers' focus on electric vehicles because it shows forward thinking and reflects good stewardship of finite resources. Tom Prout Fueling his Tesla Electric

"We're thinking of our kids and grandkids and what kind of world are they going to inherit?" he says. "I don't know about my kids. But my grandkids will see a world where more than half the vehicles sold are going to be electric."

Paving the Way for More Electric Vehicles

Automotive industry experts expect EVs will soon become a much bigger piece of the automotive market. That’s why we’re working to create the infrastructure electric vehicle drivers need in Michigan – today and in the years to come. Our plans include:

  • A recently approved program called PowerMIDrive to encourage the development of charging stations across Michigan. The three-year, $10 million effort includes rebates for residential customers who install chargers at home and site hosts who want to install chargers and ‘fast chargers’ in public places across our territory.
  • Buying or leasing 100 electric vehicles for our fleet over the next five years.
  • And in November, we launched a pilot study to determine how to most efficiently deliver electricity to customers who own EVs.

Looking forward to make life better for EV drivers

The study, which includes employees of GM and Consumers Energy who own electric cars, will have three phases:

  • The first will determine how much power EVs use.
  • The second will focus on when the cars take a charge. We want to spread out EV usage to avoid peaks, like those created by air conditioners. For example, EVs on one block could start to charge at 1 a.m., while EVs on the next block would start an hour later. Using either the car’s computer or a smart charger, EV owners control when the cars charge. The study will also examine those two options to see if one is better.
  • The third part of the pilot will simulate a demand response—a scenario like the hottest day of the summer, when some customers are asked not to run their air conditioners.

“We believe EVs are where the world is heading in terms of the future of transportation,” says Sarah Barbo, a director in Corporate Strategy. “We believe we have a role to play in that world. We want to get out ahead of it.”