Friday, September 18, 2020

August 2020 Drive Report; Back to Home Charging!

 Ok, I admit it should be the "almost September Drive Report" but life has been hectic. First COVID canceled several planned road trips so had more money and time left over than I had planned for but being evicted quickly spent the money and monopolized all my time.  So almost the entire month was done on public only charging.  Luckily I was able to find a place that checked off nearly every box (I was SHOCKED at my good fortune!)  and was able to plug in at home during the last week of the month. 

Despite having an all time high of public charging fees of $31.20, my record 106.31 kwh of free L2 courtesy of Volta mostly with a bit of PSE tossed in (more about them later) took my spending to about the norm. 

For the month I went 1256.7 miles averaging 5.29 miles/kwh (a LOT of in town driving loading then unloading my storage unit helped here) with an all in cost of $33.77 or 2.69 cents per mile. Yeah, still great value but also much higher than what I am used to and looks like I will have to get used to that. (more about that later) 

Public Charging

Electrify America quickly degraded from "the one" to "completely out of the question" unless of course, there is nothing else and that scenario of few options is slowly but surely evaporating away. 

First off, they throttled Chademo.  I reported here and everywhere else about getting 200 amps or more from them at a cost of 18 cents a minute prompting me to purchase my first EVER subscription to a service. But then they turned the stations down to 125 amps or less making the speed the same as what everyone provides.  At 18 cents a minute, if I charged a lot, it would still be cheaper but with one plug per location, EVgo was looking better and better. 


In April, EVgo announced a 25% reduction in pricing with no subscription fee needed if you were affected by COVID 19. Well, as I see it, EVERYONE  was affected in one way or another so the discount was simply there for the asking. In my case, I was working at another location to help cover their massive increase in orders that changed my 24 mile roundtrip commute into a 48 mile ONE way drive.  So I got the 20 cents/min rate and it was extended several times and now its good to the end of the year. Great deal and nicer as most locations have 2 or more Chademos to choose from! I only had to send an email pleading my case. 

Pay by KWh

As mentioned above, EA's rate of 18 cents a minute was still reasonably attractive since I was still averaging 24-26 cents/kwh but then the bombshell dropped.  I don't know what WA did to deserve EA's rath but did they ever put the screws to us. 

Not only did they change to per kwh pricing of 31 cents/kwh with the $4 a month plan but they also dropped rates in other parts of the country to 12 cents/minute on the $4 plan and 16 cents/min ala carte! 

Despite paying the lowest electricity rates in nation, we are now billed the highest rates in the nation! So if you drive a Gen One LEAF or regularly charge to 90% SOC or higher, rejoice. You got what you wanted. As for me; EA who? 

PSE Charge and Go

What goes around, comes around. I lost one charging option only to gain another!  At the beginning of September, the loooooong awaited entry of PSE (Puget Sound Energy) into the public charging arena was finally here!  Now, I am not talking about a miniscule scattering of free level 2's. This was a charging complex anchored by two 150/100 KW DC's!  For the eco warrior; all Charge and Go complexes will be 100% renewable energy. 

Billing is handled by Greenlots and yeah that means putting money in an account that would "normally" be difficult to get out but unlike EA (EA who! 😆) where its all but impossible to run your account balance below $10, Greenlots has an option where you can turn off auto reload and run the balance to zero. Realize that when this happens your charge session ends.  In the grand scheme of things, I don't care that much but still nice to have the option.  I did run my account down to see how quickly they would pull the plug and they did it a bit prematurely leaving me with a balance of 14 cents.  Since they are billing 25 cents a minute, guessing their system only verifies there is enough to complete that minute before allowing the charge to continue.  Despite that, the 25 cents per minute charge is prorated. 

But it was so nice to get my time back! I plugged in and peaked at 201 amps. Since my time is valuable (did I mention I am on a 4 day weekend and due to smoke, have nothing to do?) I unplugged when the rate slowed to a crawl of 65 KW. 

Notice the tiered charging? I had seen evidence of this before but this the 
most defined curve yet. 

Since this was more a "demo" charge than anything (the station is less than 2 miles from my house) , I plugged in at over 30% SOC which I would normally never do but despite the less than ideal charging conditions, I still managed 22.4 cents/kwh. I am confident I can get it to near 20 cents/kwh under the right conditions. 

Now this is the first of only 7 locations but not bad for their maiden project. I do think that PSE will rapidly expand the program. The Puget Sound region is one of the leaders in electrified mobility and this should be a win win for everyone. Combined with a large renewable portfolio, this simply makes sense. 

Sleeping In My Bed!

As we know (then again maybe some of you don't since I didn't put out a July Drive Report) I was evicted from my home of 7 years in July. I do need to thank Crystal for allowing me to stay in her home for 6 weeks while I searched for a suitable home for my car but it was not easy.  Prices had gone up more than I expected. The medium rent on a one bedroom home was now $1400! INSANE! 

What was almost as insane was the number of scams on Craigslist. Nearly every ad I saw there had to be cross referenced with Zillow and other sources before I could consider them a valid option so when my new place came up, I thought it was a scam. 2 bedrooms, garage w remote, 200 sq feet bigger than my old place? No way it should have been on my targeted search but it was and I was in! 

Now, I mentioned above that my home charging costs will go up and the reason why? My 2.2 mile move from Olympia (wasn't actually in the city limits BTW) to Lacey came with a BIG jump in city tax. My first electric bill came out to 9.78 cents/kwh up from the 8.65 cents/kwh I was paying but that is not all.  The new home has electric heat which means I will be paying tier 2 rates all winter. So the sub 2 cents per mile will likely be a summer time thing only from here on out. 


Trying to get info from PSE on the other 6 locations for Charge and Go has been all but impossible so asking that anyone who sees anything to report back here! As always, I will let you know when I know!