Support of plug-in electric vehicle technology is consistent with our vision of leading the way to a secure and exciting energy future. At Ameren, we are committed to contributing to a positive new ownership experience for our customers. To meet our customers' expectations, the company needs to fully understand and be prepared now for the impact that EV technology will have on our delivery system.
Yes, we are ready for EVs today. However, we anticipate it will take time for the market to develop in our region, and we are working now to ensure that we can meet the needs for widespread adoption of electric vehicles in the future.
<ul><li><b>We are acquiring electric vehicles for our own use and installing charging stations at our facilities to support them.</b> In this way, we can learn first-hand about EVs and share our knowledge with our customers. We are currently driving two Chevrolet Volts - one in Illinois and one in Missouri - as part of an industry research demonstration. We are also taking receipt of new Mitsubishi and Nissan EV models in 2012.</li><br/>
<li><b>One of the most important ways we can get ready for electric vehicles is by communicating with customers.</b> This includes asking you to check with us when you're planning to buy an electric vehicle. At no charge to you, we'll assess the capacity of our service to your home or business and, if needed, we'll upgrade it to ensure your new EV can be adequately charged. It is your responsibility to make sure the panel and wiring inside your home or business is plug-in ready. </li><br/>
<li><b>We are working with a range of organizations to ensure that the communities we serve are ready for widespread adoption of electric vehicles.</b> We are proactively discussing electric vehicles with appointed and elected officials as well as other civic leaders. We are considering alternative rates for charging EVs, and we're investigating incentive programs to help customers purchase and install charging stations. We are also participating in the St. Louis Clean Cities Plug-In Readiness Task Force to help conceptualize a public charging infrastructure, while encouraging others to consider plans for plug-in readiness. </li>
<li><b>BEVs</b> are plug-in vehicles with no back-up gasoline engine. The BEV tends to have the largest battery of all plug-in electric vehicles. After the electric travel range has been exhausted, the vehicle must be recharged before it can be driven again (<a href="/Environment/ElectricVehicles/Pages/BatteryEV.aspx">more</a>).</li><br/>
<li><b>PHEVs</b> represent the plug-in version of the hybrid electric vehicle and can be recharged by connecting it to an external power source. PHEVs typically have larger batteries than HEVs, but smaller batteries than BEVs, allowing the vehicle to operate exclusively on electricity for some distance. After this "electric-only" range is exhausted, the vehicle defaults to gas-powered operation (<a href="/Environment/ElectricVehicles/Pages/PluginHybridEV.aspx">more</a>). </li><br/>
<li><b>HEVs</b> are electric vehicles that are fueled by gasoline only and cannot be plugged in. They are powered by a small battery and a gasoline-powered engine. The battery, which recharges during the vehicle's braking and coasting, is the sole source of power at low speeds, while the gas-powered engine is used to achieve higher speeds (<a href="/Environment/ElectricVehicles/Pages/HybridEV.aspx">more</a>). </li></ul>
As of 2012, the Nissan LEAF has a manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) about $35,000; however, it will cost about $28,000 after a $7,500 federal tax incentive. The Chevrolet Volt, with a MSRP of roughly $40,000, will cost about $32,000 after the $7,500 federal tax incentive. This federal tax incentive will be available for the first 200,000 customers for each vehicle.<br/><br/>
In addition to the far lower fueling costs associated with keeping EVs charged, it is anticipated that the costs for maintaining EVs over their operating lives will be substantially less than regular gas engines. Generally, the combination of these factors makes the EV a competitive buy from a total cost-of-ownership standpoint. This is especially true if you own the car for several years.
Charging stations manage the electricity for recharging EVs. They are available at various levels.<br/><br/>
<ul><li><b>Level 1 charging</b> is done at 120 volts, the voltage most commonly found in your home. Portable Level 1 charging equipment is provided with every new electric vehicle. There is no additional cost to the consumer other than making a 20-amp circuit and wall socket accessible from the car's parking space.</li><br/>
<li><b>Level 2 charging</b> is done at 240 volts and is generally preferred because it's faster. Level 2 charging requires a separately installed charging station. Costs for purchasing and installing a Level 2 charging station at the home can range from $1,500 to $3,000, depending on the work required. Costs to purchase and install larger versions at the workplace can approach $5,000 to $15,000 per charging station.</li><br/>
<li><b>Level 3 charging</b> (or fast charging) is intended for commercial and public charging locations - the electric version of a local gas station. Fast charging requires 480-volt circuits, rarely found in homes. Industry standards have not yet been developed for Level 3 charging stations, but cost estimates for their installation in commercial and public settings range from $25,000 to $75,000 per charging station.</li><br/></ul>
See <a href="/Environment/ElectricVehicles/Pages/VehicleCharging.aspx">Vehicle Charging</a> to learn more.
Charging times vary depending on several factors. Charging at Level 1 using a standard 120-volt outlet can take between 8 to 10 hours, while charging at Level 2 (240 volt) can take between 4 to 5 hours. These time estimates are based on recovering 40 miles of electric driving range.<br/><br/>
On average it will cost Ameren residential customers about a dollar for a 40-mile charge. Compare this to the nearly $5 it costs to "gas up" a conventional high economy vehicle at the pump after driving the same distance. See the <a href="/Environment/ElectricVehicles/Pages/ChargingTimesEstimatedCost.aspx">Fueling Cost Comparison Table</a> to learn more.
It's unlikely that electric fueling stations will exist in the same numbers as gas stations today. Gas stations exist in such large numbers because no one can "gas up" at home or at work. With plug-in electric vehicles, the exact opposite will be true - we anticipate that 95% of all vehicle charging will take place either at home or at work, leaving only 5% that will take place in public locations. Ultimately, public charging will occur in places like shopping malls, restaurants, movie theaters, universities, hospitals and parking garages - the types of places where people spend enough time to make the electric "topoff" worthwhile.
More than 80% of all the energy Ameren generates comes from power plants that burn coal as a fuel. However, many studies have shown that the airborne power plant emissions released to charge a new electric vehicle is roughly half the tailpipe emissions released by a new gasoline-powered vehicle.