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Connecticut Deserves Clean Air

Advanced Clean Cars II Campaign

The bureaucratic term of art for the air quality in Connecticut is non-compliant. Yes, it’s dirty. We do not meet the requirements of the EPA clean air rules. Transportation is the most polluting sector and the easiest to decarbonize. The technology is here. It is steadily declining in cost. The ACC II regulations, the follow on to the first set of California standards, will get us there faster and with better consumer protections.

With the fate of this program hanging in the balance, and a concerted push from fossil fuel interests to kill it, the advocates have placed ads in local newspapers, billboards, and on chargers that accept ads. This is the ad that appeared in the CT Post. If you are concerned about cleaning up our air by accelerating EV adoption, please tell you state legislators. They need to hear from you now.

Also, see our op-ed in the CT Mirror.

Advanced Clean Cars II




Eversource is Paying Me to Charge My Electric Vehicle

Photo above – JuiceBox Home EV Charger

EV Club member, Vincent Giordano, has utilized the Eversource incentives to buy a level 2 home EV charger and participate in the incentive to charge off-peak. In the 2-part post below, also published in the Ridgefield Press, he describes his experience and how the incentive worked for him. Vincent is a member of the Ridgefield Action Committee for the Environment (RACE).

The process whereby consumers have been accessing these incentives has not always been without hurdles, but we have been receiving reports from consumers that the utilities have been responsive in addressing issues. The club has a description of the program on its incentives page. The incentives he describes from Eversource are also available, with some small differences, from United Illuminating. So, take it away, Vincent…

Level 2 Home Charger

If you have an electric vehicle (EV) or are thinking about buying one, Eversource will help you pay for an electrical upgrade, a networked level 2 EV charger, and for charging the EV. Hard to believe – but it is true. Eversource currently has a program to rebate up to $500 for a wiring upgrade to 240 volts for your EV charger, another $500 for purchasing a network-ed level 2 EV charger, and up to $300 per year if you sign up for the advanced managed charging program.

Why is Eversource offering these incentives? It is because they realize the huge impact EVs are going to have on the grid and the importance of managing the demand for power. According to CT DMV data, Ridgefield residents own more than 515 EVs and there are more than 30,000 registered EVs in CT. Having networked EVs allows Eversource to minimize EV charging when the grid is under pressure. In the future, with bidirectional charging, Eversource will also be positioned to buy power back from EVs.

I didn’t need to upgrade my electric wiring so I passed on the wiring rebate. However, since I ran over my charger cord with the snow blower this past winter, a new and improved EV charger was intriguing. In April I purchased one of the Eversource approved EV chargers, a JuiceBox. Then I attempted to apply for my $500 rebate and to register for the advanced managed charging program. I would like to be able to report a seamless rebate and registration process. But in truth, it was more convoluted and difficult than it had to be. Thankfully, each time I ended up in some administrative trap or do-loop, the Eversource EV team came to my rescue.

This week, I received a $500 rebate check, and in October I should be receiving a gift card with the managed charging payment. The demand response season is June – September. If you are interested in these rebates, a good starting point is the Eversource FAQs for the managed charging program.

With CT’s grid 90 percent renewable energy by 2030, transitioning from fossil fuels to CT’s grid will help to save the planet and reduce US reliance on dictators with huge oil reserves and territorial ambitions.

December Update and Managed Charging

I just received a $95 check from Eversource for charging my Chevy Volt for 5 months (May to September).  During those months I used 693.43 kWh of electricity to charge my car.  At 10.45 cents per kWh, my cost was $72.46.  So the $95 check more than covered my outlay.  And now that I understand the programs better, I could have earned even more.

In an earlier article, I explained the fantastic Eversource rebate program for electric chargers and any needed electrical upgrade.  In this article, I share my experience with Eversource’s charging programs.  There are more than 600 electric vehicles registered to Ridgefielders and just 90 of us are enrolled in Eversource’s charging programs.

Our family has a 2016 Chevy Volt plug in hybrid.  It is our day to day; go-to vehicle.   Other than in the coldest months, the Volt has a 60-mile range which easily meets all our local travel needs.  We go about our business and charge at home.  Starting each day with a full charge.   When I read that Eversource would pay up to $300 per year to charge our car, I decided to give their programs a try.

There are two programs.  A baseline and advanced charging program.  The baseline program rewards participants who shift at least 80% of their charging to off-peak periods.  Off-peak charging is charging outside of the hours of 3 pm to 9 pm on weekdays.  If, in a given month, you manage to charge 80% or more during the off-peak period, you earn a $10 incentive for that month.  That’s a potential earnings of $120 annually.   There is an additional incentive for participating in optional Demand Response (DR) Events. These events can happen between June and September and only occur on non-holiday weekdays.  You must participate in all optional DR events in a given month in order to receive the $20 incentive during DR Season.  Full participation in all four months of the DR Season, and you earn an additional $80.   The baseline tier incentives are capped at $200 per year.

The advanced charging program gives Eversource more control over your charger.  You are rewarded for partnering with them to coordinate your charging.  You are required to create a charging schedule and to do your best to not override this schedule.  You specify how much of a charge you would like and by when (e.g. 100% charge by 8 am).    The charging schedule is created at the time you enroll via energy hub.  Hang onto that email if you want to change your schedule in the future.  Participation in the advance program pays the participant $25 per month, capped at $300 per year

So how did I earn $95.  It turns out that I just missed the off-peak goal in May (76% vs. the 80% goal).  In June, I missed the goal again (66% vs. 80% goal), but I didn’t opt out of any DR events in June so I earned $20.  In July, I joined the Advanced Program and earned the advanced Tier incentives for July, August, and September ($25/month = $75). Thus a total of $95.  For our charging habits, the advanced charging program seems to be just fine.

 




New Policies for Westport EV Chargers

Photo of Baldwin Parking Lot in downtown Westport

No More Free Juice

It shouldn’t come as a surprise. It was not expected that taxpayers would fund free charging forever.

Baldwin was the catalyst, but the policies described below are intended to apply to all town-owned parking areas, and going forward planning for parking includes consideration for EV charging.

The Board of Selectwomen today approved a charge of $.35 per kWh.

Baldwin is a timed lot, and the 3-hour limit applies to the EV spaces as well. There will be a 15 minute grace period before the vehicle is assessed an idling charge of $10/hour, billed in 15 minute increments.

If a vehicle pulls into one of these spaces with a near-depleted battery, 3 hours will not be enough to fully charge it. If the vehicle has an onboard charger of around 11 kW, some back of the envelope calculations indicate that it will be able to get about 30 kWh of charge, equating to roughly 130 miles of range, for a cost of $10.50.

Chargers at the town’s two train stations are exempted from any idling charges.

The charging spaces are for EVs that are charging only. Aside from combustion (ICE) vehicles, it is not permitted for an EV that isn’t charging to use one of these spaces. Citations will be given. We don’t know what the penalty will be, but currently if an ICE vehicle parks in an EV space at the train depot, a $25 fine is assessed.

The new policies will go into effect in January. Free juice reigns for the holiday.

12 chargers, 80-amp units (powerful for AC), have been installed at Baldwin with infrastructure for 12 more for when the time comes. The incentives available through Eversource provide for this kind of future-proofing. The chargers have J-1772 connectors.

Contretemps

Whenever public chargers are installed, it seems to generate some level of controversy.

We hope that nobody thinks installing public chargers is a bad thing. Given the importance of EV adoption in reducing greenhouse gases and other pollutants, and ongoing consumer concerns about range anxiety, public chargers are needed. These can be the powerful DC fast chargers, usually located along highway corridors, but also the less expensive level 2 AC chargers, such as those in Baldwin, in locations where there is more dwell time.

EVs currently account for about 7% of all vehicles registered in Westport. While Westport residents will no doubt use the chargers, it would be a mistake to think that all shoppers/diners are from Westport and that everyone in Westport has access to home charging.

Prime Access

These chargers are located near the front of the lot. It is common to see EV chargers located in what might be considered the prime spots for a parking lot or a building. We have heard the term “elitist” used to characterize this practice. The much more pedestrian explanation is proximity to the power source. Installing the chargers at the back of the lot would require more trenching and would be more expensive. (In a new-build situation, it is much easier to do this.)

In the EV community, most would prefer if the chargers could be located toward the “back of the lot.” Less tsuris.

Ongoing Evaluation

Since being energized, the chargers have been busy. Who doesn’t like free? Topping off may become a less frequent behavior when there is a fee that is higher than charging at home, plus an idling fee. These chargers are connected via the EVConnect service, as all town chargers either are or will be, and charging data, along with consumer feedback, will be used to inform future charger-related decisions.

Charging per kWh

As noted above, the fee is based on the kWh consumed in a given charge. Public EV chargers typically charge either using this method or by the minute. We think a per kWh fee is inherently fairer. You pay for what you use and slower charging vehicles are not penalized.

 




EV Owners Wanted for Energy Expo

2023 CT Energy Expo in Hartford

This event, the 2023 Energy Expo, will take place on October 19-21, 2023 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.  The Expo, which is free to the public, is structured to be like a home and garden show, car show, boat show, etc. and will be three days of exhibitors presenting renewable energy, energy efficiency, home improvements, and electric vehicles/alternative fuel vehicles.

EV Owners Wanted

Those organizing the expo have invited members of the EV Club of CT (well, any EV owners) to exhibit their cars in the outdoor expo lot. Club members exhibiting their vehicles do not pay an exhibitor fee.  You can exhibit for any or all of the 3 days of the event.

You have to commit for a full day for each day you exhibit. You would need to commit to get the car to the Connecticut Convention Center by 10 AM on October 19, or 8 AM on October 20 or 21, and if you need to leave, you will have to do so after 6 PM each day.  If you want to exhibit for two or all three days, you can leave the car overnight – you are not required to move it, but if you need to, it just has to be after 6 PM.  You can stay onsite to talk about your vehicle during the day, or you can leave it and come back to get it at the end of the day. You are welcome to spend time in the Expo.

As far as other vehicles, as part of the indoor expo there will be 2 new BMWs, 2 new Mercedes, 1 new Mini, 1 new Moke, and 1 new golf cart (along with our friends from Inductive Autoworks displaying a conversion vehicle).  And outside (where you would be exhibiting), there will be an interactive mobile unit displaying energy efficiency solutions, an electric city bus (from DOT), 2 electric boats, electric scooters, and an electric freight (semi) truck.

Participation

The Expo is being produced by the CT Power & Energy Society (CPES). If you would like to participate, please contact CPES president, Alex Judd, directly at ajudd@daypitney.com or 202-494-2299.

2023 Energy Expo Flyer

 




Northeast Electric Vehicle Symposium (NEEVS)

The Symposium is Sold Out – People Can Still Come for the Car Show

Get charged up at NEEVS, the ultimate gathering for EV enthusiasts, policy wonks, and all who seek cutting edge guidance on decarbonization.

Please join us at the first annual Northeast Electric Vehicle Symposium (NEEVS) at Hotel Marcel in New Haven on September 9, 2023. EV enthusiasts, electrification and decarbonization advocates, sustainability volunteers and professionals, municipal employees, real estate owners and developers and policy wonks are invited to join us.

Bruce Becker is the lead architect and owner/developer of Hotel Marcel in New Haven, the country’s first zero emissions and Passive House hotel, and Chairman of the EV Club of CT. Bruce will welcome guests as they enjoy a light buffet lunch, and briefly share his approach to hotel e-mobility at Hotel Marcel. Guests have access to Tesla Superchargers, Level 2 chargers under a solar canopy and a custom electric shuttle van.

Hotel Marcel New Haven with solar canopies in foreground

You will learn firsthand from expert guest speakers about:

  1. Hotel Marcel’s guest experience in e-mobility,
  2. The state of public EV charging and opportunities for improving it,
  3. The latest updates in state and federal EV/EVSE incentives and V2G,
  4. Best practices for transitioning vehicles and homes to all-electric,
  5. How to move municipalities to 100% clean, renewable energy,
  6. The societal and environmental benefits that proposed regulations for light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles under Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) provide for Connecticut.
  7. Zoning for EV readiness

Date: September 9, 2023

Hours: 12:00-4:30

Buffet Lunch: 12:00
Presentations: 12:00-3:00
Networking and Car Show 3:00-4:30

Host: Hotel Marcel, 500 Sargent Drive, New Haven, CT 06511

Organizer: EV Club of CT

Partner: Tesla Owners Club of CT

Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors: Hotel Marcel, Live Green CT, EV Connect, Chargepoint, Maxwell Vehicles, and the Greater New Haven Clean Cities Coalition.

Live Green Connecticut

 

EV Connect is a sponsor of NEEVS.

Chargepoint

Greater New Haven Clean Cities Logo

Maxwell vehicles logo

Hotel Marcel New Haven at dusk

Speaker Schedule:

12:00-12:15: Welcome address from Bruce Becker, lead architect and owner/developer of Hotel Marcel New Haven and Chairman of the EV Club of CT. Guests will be treated to an overview of the e-mobility customer experience at Hotel Marcel, the country’s first zero emissions and Passive House hotel.

12:15-12:45: Out of Spec Dave will share his experiences charging his EVs at various public charging stations, sometimes across long distances, to map the current state of publicly-available EVSE and how the customer experience can be improved to accelerate EV adoption.

12:45-1:15 Mark Scully, President, People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) will present their model for decarbonizing at the municipal level. PACE is an all-volunteer public health and environmental organization formed in 1973 by a group of concerned Connecticut citizens to promote the development of clean energy, encourage energy efficiency and conservation and challenge Connecticut’s commitment to nuclear power. Over many years, PACE has engaged in education, outreach and advocacy on clean energy issues. PACE is committed to developing a pathway to a 100% renewable future, free of fossil and nuclear fuels. PACE is the largest all-volunteer organization in CT working on these issues, and is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

1:15-2:05: Vehicle and home electrification panel discussion + Q&A with moderator Barry Kresch, President, EV Club of CT, and panelists Paul Braren, owner of TinkerTry and an all-electric home, and Rick Rosa, Senior Manager for EV Programs and Products from Avangrid/United Illuminating. Decarbonizing vehicles and the built environment requires working with a suite of incentives, electric utility programs, and equipment vendors. Learn about the latest EV/EVSE incentives and how the EDCs (utilities) are thinking about Vehicle to Grid (V2G) connectivity. Paul will share best practices and lessons learned from going all-in on his home remodeling by enrolling his Tesla Solar Roof and Powerwalls in Tesla’s Virtual Power Plant (VPP) with ConnectedSolutions program, powering two EVs utilizing Managed Charging and Charge on Solar, maximizing efficiency and savings by installing a SPAN smart electrical panel and installing heat pumps for year-round comfort with no natural gas.

2:05-2:30: Charles Rothenberger, Climate & Energy Attorney, Save the Sound will present highlights of the Regulations for Light, Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles under Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II). In July 2023, Connecticut became the latest state to initiate adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II rule, which will benefit society by requiring manufacturers to increase sales of electric and other zero-emission models within the state over time, culminating with 100% of new sales being ZEV in 2035.

2:30 – 3:00: Daphne Dixon, Co-founder and Executive Director, Live Green Connecticut and Director, Connecticut SWA Clean Cities Coalition, will present about Zoning for EV Readiness, a must attend for municipal decision makers.

Hotel Marcel bar and dining room
Hotel Marcel bar and dining room

Networking and Car Show 3:00-4:30: Enjoy beverages and food at the hotel bar while networking with other guests, and head outdoors to the lot adjacent to Hotel Marcel’s Superchargers to enjoy the car show while networking with EV owners that are members of Tesla Owners Club of CT, the EV Club of CT and the Westport Police Department.

Hotel Martel New Haven Superchargers with Teslas
Hotel Marcel New Haven Superchargers with Teslas

RSVP required: Register here.
Interested in a sponsorship? Please email evclubct@gmail.com.

Parking at the hotel is available to all. Club members that are participating in the car show, please register your vehicles for that portion of the event.

Guests may register for:

1) both event tickets: the symposium and car show (only if you’re showing a car),

2) only the symposium (attending the car show is open to all registered symposium guests)

3) only the car show (if you’re showing a car and will not be attending the symposium).




Managing Home Energy Load With Smart Panels

EV Club Meeting - SPAN Smart Panel Deck




Rivian Deliveries Coming to CT

Shiny new R1T on a Rainy Day.

The photo above is of Analiese Mione, a member of the EV Club CT Leadership Team and one of the earliest Rivian R1T preorder holders. She was all smiles when taking delivery of her Adventure Package R1T. The pickup is in forest green with 21″ tires to maximize range, an electric tonneau cover and heated and cooled vegan seats. The photo isn’t helped by the gray, rainy day, but we sure were toasty in the truck.

There were only 7 Rivians registered in CT as of our most recent DMV update on July 1st, but deliveries are increasing. Indeed, the Rivian employee who delivered the R1T and delivered a fact and fun-filled onboarding experience, mentioned that not 5 miles away a Rivian R1S was being delivered to another customer. During the Rivian earnings call this week, the company reported a 67% increase in production from second to third quarter, and affirmed guidance of 25,000 of vehicles to be produced by the end of the year. They are currently producing all 3 announced models: the R1T pickup truck, R1S SUV, and the commercial delivery van that is being manufactured for Amazon.

This adventure vehicle sports a 135 kWh battery pack and an EPA-rated range of 314 miles. Assembly is done at the Rivian plant in Normal, Illinois, which means it qualifies for the $7,500 federal tax credit for the remainder of 2022 under the recently passed IRA. For 2023 and beyond, we have to wait to find out if they comply with the new battery rules, and the price cap of $80K for pickups and SUVs goes into effect. It comes with J1772 (level 2) and CCS (level 3) charging connectors, along with a portable charger that can plug in to a 120 volt outlet or a 240 volt NEMA plug.

Behind the second row of seats is a gear tunnel that runs from one side of the truck to the other with doors on each end that fold down and double as seats or stepping stools for reaching above the truck. Analiese, a native plant specialist and private gardener in her retirement, plans to use it to conveniently stow her gardening tools for use at local private client homes.

Club president Barry Kresch joined Analiese for an inaugural test drive. Despite weighing a formidable 7,148 pounds, the vehicle rides on gossamer wings – smooth and silky, but responsive, quiet and very fast in all 5 driving modes. Analiese thinks she’ll drive it in Conserve and All Purpose most of the time, but can switch to Sport mode with the tap of one finger should a Ferrari or Lamborghini pull up to her at a red light. 🙂 To help spread the excitement about driving EVs and let others learn about this impressive feat of engineering, Analiese plans to participate in a number of upcoming EV showcase events.

Analiese Mione, Barry Kresch, and Rivian R1T




EVolunteers Requested

EV Drivers Could Relieve the Burden of High Gas Prices in Delivering Food to the Needy

Food Rescue US is an organization that reduces food insecurity by transferring excess food from grocers and restaurants to social service agencies that feed people in need.

Using an app, volunteer drivers “rescue” food from donors. A typical rescue takes 30 minutes to an hour.

The problem in our time of burdensome inflation is that the organization has been losing volunteers due to the expenses caused by record high gas prices. EVs can affordably fill the bill.

Food Rescue US is active in Fairfield, Litchfield, and New London Counties, as well as West Hartford.

Arrangements are flexible and volunteers can make as few or as many trips as they choose. If anyone can spare some time to help the hungry, please register at this link: https://bit.ly/EVfoodres

Your time and good will is appreciated!

 




Cross Country Electric Drive

The photo at the top is from the kickoff event for a cross country electric drive. The two women attired in pink are Daphne Dixon, Executive Director of Live Green CT, who is making the drive, and Alyssa Murphy, also of Live Green, who is accompanying her. Ford has loaned a Mustang Mach-E for the trip that will conclude in Sacramento, where Dixon originally hails from, after stops in CT, NY, PA, MD, DC, VA, WV, KY, TN, AR, TX, NM, AZ, UT, and 8 cities in CA, 27 cities in total.

Range anxiety isn’t completely a thing of the past, but it is much less of a concern than it used to be with longer range battery packs and more public charging stations. There will be continued improvement on the charging access front in the coming years with Infrastructure Bill funds and state incentives. Of course, there is no time like the present to make this drive with unusually high gas prices causing more people to look seriously at EVs.

Speakers, from left to right, are Marriott Dowden of United Illuminating, Jim Motavalli who is an automotive columnist and author, Barry Kresch of EV Club CT, Matt Macunas from CT Green Bank, and Charles Rothenberger of Save the Sound.

D-Day for the trip was June 6. It concludes June 27th. Clean Cities chapters will be organizing press events at each stop. You can follow their progress on the Life on the EV Highway Facebook page. As Dixon said, she is “hoping to reduce range anxiety one state at a time.”




If You See Something, Say Something

EVSE Out of Order

I just hate when I see signs like the one in the above photo. I refer to the spelling, but yeah, that, too.

Maintenance of charging stations can be a mixed bag. It seems like funding is obtained to acquire chargers without budgeting for future maintenance.

The charger in the photograph is one of two installed in downtown Westport at the Tri-Town Teachers Credit Union (TTTCU). Both are down. As far as I can tell, based on app check-ins, they’ve been out of service for roughly two months. These level 2 chargers were paid for by Karl Chevrolet of New Canaan in return for signage, a tasteful wooden sign, and for taking the tax credit for the solar array on the TTTCU building (TTTCU is a non-profit).

We reached out to the TTTCU and they report that the company that made the chargers is out of business and they have enlisted the town to help find someone who can service them, if they are repairable. When we have more news, we will update.

Down Charger Westport LibraryThe chargers at the nearby Westport library have also been down, literally. It looks like there was a close encounter of the first kind. They, too have been out for a while. (Update to this: The town is going to buy new equipment for this location; we’ll update again when we have an ETA.)

This happens at way too many places. It is a contributor to “range anxiety” among prospective EV adopters. Which brings us to the call to action. Many of us use apps to locate chargers. For those of you who use Plugshare or other popular apps that allow check-ins and comments, please make an effort to call out when you see a broken charger. Even if you aren’t in need of a charge, pay a visit to the ones that are local to you and do a check-in. The more data for other EV drivers, the better. And the more visibility, the better the chances of motivating the owner to make a repair.