Posted by: Jerry Garrett | January 15, 2011

Wait Until California Electric Vehicle Buyers See Their Power Bills

Getting ready for the Electric Age in California (Jerry Garrett Photo)

In California, which vehicle would be more economical to own and operate?
A) Nissan Leaf
B) Chevrolet Volt
C) Toyota Prius PHEV
D) Chevy Cobalt

Answer: D, as in “d’oh”

According to a new Purdue University energy study, owning any kind of electric car in California is going to cost a shocking (oops, pun intended) amount. Advantage: Internal Combustion Engine & Cobalt. (Finally a comparo the Cobalt can win!)

That’s even if the electric vehicle is re-charged at night, when rates are lower (as highly touted by all the car companies).

What gives? California electric utilities have been approved for “tiered” rate plans that gouge customers for more money, if they go over typical levels of energy use. EV re-charging is like a free ticket to that club.

The rationale for the tiered plans in the first place was to encourage conservation, but now there is also the (perhaps) unintended consequence of punishing those who buy EVs and re-charge them at home.

The utilities are reportedly studying ways to charge EVs on a separate meter. But nobody seems to be in a big hurry to change the system, at the moment.

Jerry Garrett

January 15, 2010


  1. Interesting to read how tangled the web of carbon footprints can be in practice compared to policy. And I am a proud owner of a little chevy that gets 30 mpg.

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