The Telematics Vampire


Home Charging Incentives Come With Unexpected Cost

When Eversource and United Illuminating began offering incentives to offset the cost of buying and installing a level 2 home charging unit, the incentives also include up to $200/annually for participation in the managed charging program. (Participation in the managed charging program is mandatory if one takes the incentives for charging hardware/installation.) The only current version of managed charging that is operational at this time is the demand/response program, where during designated high-demand times occurring from June through September, the utility can throttle the rate of charge which would roughly lower the speed of the charge to the equivalent of a level one trickle-charge for the duration of the event.

Of course, at the point at which this program was inaugurated, there were already over 21,000 EV owners and some number (we don’t know how many) of installed home chargers. The majority of these EVs (based on number of registrations) are eligible to participate in the demand/response program without having an approved charger by using telematics. This way, the utility controls the rate of charge directly with the vehicle.

Through the work of Roger Kappler and Will Cross of the Tesla Owners Club, and Paul Braren of the EV Club, we have learned that the utility “wakes up” the car to check charging status on a frequent basis, as often as every 30 minutes. What is really strange is that this checking is happening all the time (24/7/365) and not just during designated demand/response periods, hence the”vampire” charge. The car is using power even though it is sitting there doing nothing. Like your cable box (or sentry mode if you are a Tesla owner). Roger estimates that the charge is the equivalent of .5-1% per day, which at 20 cents per kWh, works out to about $70 annually. The program pays a one time $100 enrollment incentive for telematics plus the above-noted $200 for demand/response. This passive electric use takes quite a bite out of that. If the vehicle isn’t plugged in, then it contributes to range loss.

Per Roger, Eversource has reported that it will be fixed but that it could take as long as 6 months.

The detailed Facebook post can be found here. (Note: This is a closed FB group.)

This does not apply if you are using an approved smart charger as far as we know. (We’re checking.)

This is not occurring with UI customers (according to UI). If any UI customers notice this, please leave a comment!



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