Frequently Asked Questions About Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicle FAQs

Drivers can charge their electric vehicles any time, day or night. Shifting your charging to low-cost evening, early morning and/or weekend periods, however, can help you save money. Other factors that impact your charging cost include location and the rate plan you choose.

We offer two rates designed specifically for electric vehicles:

Our Residential Time of Use Rate is a similar option that offers additional time parameters. A time of day rate means that your kWh cost will differ depending on the time of the day electricity is used. If you can shift your electricity use to low-cost evening, early morning and/or weekend periods, you may benefit from these rates.

Our Experimental Residential Plug-in Electrical Vehicle Rate is generally used with your existing smart meter and applies to all your electric use (household and PEV). Reduced “off peak rates” incentivize customers to charge their vehicle during off peak hours.

Please note that neither of the above options requires you to install a 240v charging station.

Simply driving an electric vehicle offers benefits for your wallet, the grid and the environment. To get even more, consider these options:

  • Use a Cost Savings Calculator to compare vehicle types/benefits before you buy
  • Apply for Federal tax incentives up to $7,500 on some vehicles to reduce your upfront cost
  • Explore our PowerMIDrive™ rebates to see if you qualify for a rebate of $400 on the installation of a Level 2 charger at your home
  • Charge your vehicle often so you can avoid fueling up with gasoline
  • Take advantage of public or workplace charging stations
  • Charge your vehicle on renewable energy such as solar or wind

Sign up for time of use rate options to benefit from off peak charging.

We can only work on the utility side of the meter, providing the necessary service to your home. A licensed electrician should be consulted to install a charging station.

There are over 1,000 charging outlets in Michigan to charge EVs, and additional stations are being added on a regular basis. Find a charging station near you.

Rebates FAQs

Yes. Consumer’s Energy created the PowerMIDrive™ program to offer rebates of $400 on the installation of a Level 2 charger at your home, and rebates up to $5,000 and $70,000 on installations of public Level 2 and DC Fast Chargers on commercial properties. See the PowerMIDrive™ program details.

The PowerMIDrive program was approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission and developed on the premise of creating a managed vehicle charging infrastructure which includes residential, public workplace and public DC Fast charging incentives. In an effort to understand when drivers are charging and the impact of incentives and time of use rates, it was necessary for all stations to have Wi-Fi or cellular connectivity that would enable the collection of anonymous charging data. This will enable us to collect data that will help determine the effectiveness of the program.

All PowerMIDrive authorized chargers have this capability.

Our evaluation of networks and charging station manufacturers is ongoing. So it is likely that we will add additional stations to the authorized list.

Tesla home and public charging stations have not been identified as authorized stations because they can’t collect and share anonymized charging information with a network.

Tesla owners have the ability to purchase one of the authorized residential or public stations that have a J1772 plug and then utilize the [J1772/Tesla] connector that comes standard with Tesla vehicles.

Electric Vehicle Charging Plugs 

 

Using the adaptor is a seamless approach to participate in the rebate program, while increasing your ability to monitor and manage your vehicle charging through the Chargepoint mobile app.

Due to the charging station connectivity requirements of the PowerMIDrive program, residential customers must have Wi-Fi connectability in their home. Due to the continuous data collection and interaction between the charging station, network and mobile app, the use of a wireless device or mobile hot spot would not be an approved source for Wi-Fi access.

All residential customers should review the program guidelines to ensure they, and the equipment they choose, are eligible for the rebate. If you have questions, please email the PowerMIDrive team at PowerMIDrive@cmsenergy.com or call us at 877-904-8246.

Customers interested in public station rebates should be aware that applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and evaluated against many factors. Since it is our goal to extend electric vehicle infrastructure across the state, applications may be reviewed multiple times prior to being accepted or denied, so we can ensure infrastructure availability expands as efficiently as possible.

Customers that are not participating in the rebate program do have the ability to take advantage of plug-in vehicle rates that lower the cost of vehicle charging during off peak periods. Customers can contact the PowerMIDrive team at PowerMIDrive@cmsenergy.com or call 877-904-9246 to request the rate change.

Customers who have reviewed the guidelines and feel they will not qualify because they don’t have an approved charging station are still encouraged to submit an application. We are continuing to evaluate options that would enable additional chargers to be added to the authorized list, (including Tesla). If a customer is initially declined a rebate and their station is later approved in the program, Consumers Energy will contact the customer. In addition, this provides a means for us to evaluate the effectiveness of the program and what is and is not working.

Types of Electric Vehicles

Battery Electric Vehicles use only electricity to power the vehicle. All the electricity comes from an electric charging source and regenerative braking (using the vehicle’s kinetic energy to recharge the battery). Examples of BEVs include the Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf and any of the Tesla models. There are many different BEV choices coming to market over the next few years.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles use both gasoline and electricity. These vehicles have two power systems, an internal combustion engine and a battery. The battery can be recharged by plugging the vehicle into an external source. It also gains some charge through regenerative braking. Although vehicle technologies vary, PHEVS are charged by plugging in and through regenerative braking. Examples of PHEVs include the Chevrolet Volt, Ford Fusion Energi and Toyota Prius Prime.

Hybrid Electric Vehicles combine conventional internal combustion engine systems with electric propulsion systems. They use regenerative braking to convert energy that is normally wasted during braking/coasting into electricity. This electricity is stored in a battery until it’s needed by the electric motor. Examples of HEVs on the market today include the Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse.

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