Duke Energy unveils EV charging subscription service, partnering with BMW, Ford and GM

Source: By Robert Walton, Utility Dive • Posted: Thursday, August 31, 2023

  • Duke Energy is rolling out an electric vehicle home charging subscription service in North Carolina that will allow residential customers to pay a fixed monthly fee for up to 800 kWh —  nearly twice the amount needed by the average driver, the utility said Monday.
  • The 12-month pilot program will use vehicle telematics to track charging data, eliminating the need to install a second meter at customer residences. Duke has partnered with General Motors, Ford Motor and BMW of North America to offer the program.
  • The pilot will also allow Duke to call up to three demand response events per month to help balance its grid. Participants will receive advance notice of the need to curtail charging at least 12 hours in advance, and can opt out of demand response events up to four times during the pilot, Duke said.

Dive Insight:

Duke’s EV charging subscription pilot is the latest example of how utilities are helping customers make the transition to electric transportation.

The average EV owner is already saving about $1,000 per year on fuel costs, according to the utility. “A predictable monthly subscription charge on top of that is going to ensure predictable savings when charging,” Kendal Bowman, Duke Energy North Carolina president, said in a statement.

Customers of Duke Energy Carolinas will pay $19.99/month while customers in the Duke Energy Progress territory will pay $24.99/month.

“The average EV driver uses less than 15 kWh on a given day, meaning the pilot will offer peace of mind for participants with nearly twice the amount per month needed by the average driver,” Duke said in its announcement. The pilot will allow customers to specify their desired state of battery charge and departure time to optimize charging using an application provided by their automaker, the utility explained.

The pilot will be limited to 200 customers, Duke said.

Duke, with GM, Ford and BMW, is using the Open Vehicle Grid Integration Platform, or OVGIP, to enable management of charging vehicles. The OVGIP interface leans on utility industry communications standards to allow for interoperability with automakers’ original equipment.

“OVGIP data will allow Duke Energy to measure customer charging data directly from the enrolled vehicles, eliminating the need to install a second meter. Each automaker owns and manages its own charging application that communicates through OVGIP,” Duke said.

EV connectivity gives customers “easy opportunities to save money, support the electric grid and drive toward zero-carbon charging,” Bill Crider, Ford’s head of global charging and energy services, said in a statement.

“Our pilot program with Duke Energy is another strong example of providing customers with better vehicle ownership experiences, while also supporting our shared grid and sustainability aspirations,” Crider said.

Utilities across the U.S. have been partnering with automakers and other companies on a variety of initiatives to help customers go electric.

Earlier this month, Vermont’s Green Mountain Power launched a program allowing customers to test drive electric vehicles through a new partnership with Motor. And Arizona’s Salt River Project, in June, announced it would work with charging services company Qmerit to install Level 2 EV chargers in customer homes.

States are setting EV targets in order to reduce carbon emissions. Last year, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, D, issued an executive order calling for zero-emission vehicles to comprise 50% of in-state automobile sales by 2030.

“North Carolina has ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and we’re supporting those efforts,” Bowman said. “Increasing the numbers of EVs while reducing the number of gas-powered vehicles on the road will help our state move closer to carbon neutrality.”