Is charging my PIP worth it?

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by Sidkane, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. Sidkane

    Sidkane New Member

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    I just bought my PIP and I am enjoying it for the most part, especially the electronics. What I'm trying to figure out is whether it's worth charging it versus just using it as a hybrid.

    1. I should say that the primary reason I bought it was to get a green HOV sticker here in California.

    2. I looked into purchasing a dedicated charging station but that was close to $2000 and for the 14 miles of EV range, it's not worth it and, in any event 2-3 hrs on a regular charge is not a big deal for me.

    3. But, according to the PG&E, the additional electricity used to charge the PIP every day would be several hundred dollars a month. Is that possible? If so how can that be cheaper than using gasoline?
     
  2. Sandiegomom

    Sandiegomom New Member

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    It depends.

    What is your average monthly usage? What tier do you normally land in? Do you have a special rate schedule or TOU meter or anything out of the ordinary?

    Edited to add: in my case, if I charge once a day, it adds about 100 kWh to my bill. I'm in the lowest tier (and will bump a bit into the second some months) so I anticipate about $15/month extra for the PiP.
     
  3. crewdog

    crewdog Acting Ensign Prius Prime

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    I've been using about 2.97 kw/hrs per charge at home on 120v.

    If you charge once/day at home, then a 30 days should be an extra 89.1 kilowatt hours of electric usage. That may put you in a different tier, depending on your electric provider, meter, etc.

    Hey, that extra 12.6 miles on EV adds up over time and will definitely help out your mpg even if you only charge once a day.

    I'm about to reach my 1000 miles on a tank goal...oh....so....close....

    just a few more EV trips to the liquor store......
     
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  4. Tracksyde

    Tracksyde Member

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    Several hundred a month? No way.. maybe if you were charging a Tesla Roadster everyday.. but certainly not a PiP..

    If you used even, say, 6kWh per day (approx 2 full charges daily), you'd only be looking at 180kWh per month. Unless you pay over $1 per kWh, there's no way you're into the "several hundred dollars a month" range. (Several hundred, to me, is something more than a "couple hundred", right? so something like $300+?)

    From what I've read here, PG&E rates seem close to SCE.. so even if you're in the highest tier, it would be some where in the neighborhood of $0.35 per kWh (IIRC). It would cost really close to the cost of gasoline (gas would need to be around $4.20 per gallon to be equal), assuming ~13 EVmiles per full charge and about 52MPG on gas.

    But several hundred dollars? I dont think so..although I suppose if you charged it to full, drove it empty, and repeated this process 4 times a day (so 8 full charges), you could get into the several hundred dollar range (about $252 per month at $0.35 per kWh).. although 8 full charges would be somewhere around 20 hours of charge time per day on its own..
     
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  5. rogerv

    rogerv Senior Member

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    "3. But, according to the PG&E, the additional electricity used to charge the PIP every day would be several hundred dollars a month. Is that possible? If so how can that be cheaper than using gasoline?"

    Were you actually told this by a representative of PG&E? This doesn't seem likely.
    Here's a link to PG&E's rate info and a calculator you can use to estimate your costs to charge your PiP. It appears that there would be a one-time charge of $250 for a second meter, plus the costs for having a contractor upgrade your electical panel, if you decided to go that route. Otherwise, it looks like the rate structures are similar to what we in So Cal Edison territory have. SCE has a group of employees trained to answer questions regarding EV charging. I'm guessing PG&E does also.

    Select a Rate Option
     
  6. bfd

    bfd Plug-In Perpetuator

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    The only thing that our SDG&E employees seem trained to do is to submit rate increase proposals to the PUC…
     
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  7. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    I'll try to help. Electricity is sold in units called kilowatt hours, or kWh. Typical rates are ten to fifteen cents per kWh. Most utilities have tiered rate structures: The first few hundred kWh you use cost about ten cents each, the next 200 are twelve cents each, after that, they're maybe fifteen cents each. You have to check your bill to see.

    A full charge on a Prius is less than 3 kWh -- that's 30 to 45 cents. If you charge once a day, that's $9.00 to $13.00 per month. Some electric companies will give you a discount for charging at night, if they have SmartMeter technology.

    Where I live, in alameda, they don't have SmartMeters, so instead they offer a flat $15/month discount if I charge at night, on the honor system. I don't know how this would work out for a Tesla owner, but it's a net bill reduction for me -- I'm basically paid to have a Prius Plug-in. I'm sure they'll figure this out in time.
     
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  8. Sidkane

    Sidkane New Member

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    Thanks everyone. The $15/mo makes more sense. I'd gotten my number from the calculator on the pge site. I must've input the numbers incorrectly, as I just redid it and it went to about $30/mo, which gets me about 300 to 400 miles of EV. That's pretty close to breakeven with gas prices.

    Thanks again!
     
  9. drinnovation

    drinnovation EREV for EVER!

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  10. Sidkane

    Sidkane New Member

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    Thanks for the volt link. Doesn't look like its a slam dunk that it's worth it there either.
     
  11. andyprius

    andyprius Senior Member

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    This has all been pretty well answered. I assume this is your first Prius. You will find that plugging in to a normal 120V outlet works fine and most probably will look forward to driving, plugging in and posting on Priuschat.. There is also nothing wrong with your first reason, CAV sticker. THE Prius is more than just a car, it's a obsession! :welcome:
     
  12. cwerdna

    cwerdna Senior Member

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  13. usbseawolf2000

    usbseawolf2000 HSD PhD

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    Yea, break-even because Prius PHV's electricity consumption is low. A heavier Volt that consume more electricity (360 Wh/mi) would cost you more than 50 MPG on gas.
     
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  14. bilofsky

    bilofsky Privolting Member

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    As a solar panel owner in PG&E territory (but a Marin Clean Energy customer), I can tell you that utility rates are anything but simple.

    My preliminary calculation is that my PIP will cost something like 2.7 cents per mile on electricity and 7.5 cents a mile on gas. But that's just the start.

    Because of my solar panels, I'm on a time of use rate. The real issue is whether charging will push me into a higher tier. This could double or triple the marginal cost (price for additional kWh's), or even more, making electric use more expensive than gas.

    During the summer, my solar panels will keep me in a lower tier. In the winter, I use more electricity for lighting and generate less, so am in a high tier for a couple of months even without charging the PIP. So I might just leave it unplugged in December and January.

    PG&E's E-9 rate used to permit charging in the wee hours for a few cents a kWh, but those rates have been raised substantially. So there's another thing - these days, rates keep changing, and usually upwards.

    My suggestion is to keep charging your PIP, get a Kill-A-Watt, track your monthly usage, and watch your utility bills. If you see numbers that make you think twice, then think about changing rate plans or unplugging your PIP.

    Me, I'm going to charge it, at least through the winter, and then look at the numbers.

    And you're right - a charging station doesn't make sense with the PIP.
     
  15. CharlesH

    CharlesH CA HOV Decal #5 on former PiP

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    The current off-peak rate for PG&E's E-9A schedule is

    $0.03743 for Baseline,
    $0.05559 for 101-130% Baseline,
    $0.16 for 131-200% Baseline,
    $0.20 after that.

    I decided to give a it shot; I am locked in for a year, though.
     
  16. fjpod

    fjpod Member

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    Certainly if you paid all that extra money for a Pip, you would want to charge it, but depending on what you pay per kilowatt hour, it may or may not be FINANCIALLY worth it. Where I live, in NYC, we pay about 26 cents per kilowatt hour, and by the way I figure it, charging a Pip is real close to my gasoline costs at 50 mpg on my regular Prius.

    So why would you charge it? For lower tailpipe emissions? Less foreign oil consumption? It's cool to drive electric?
     
  17. ursle

    ursle Gas miser

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    As the PIP get's 42mpg in "hybrid" mode and 79+mpg in "charged" hybrid mode I'd think it would be a no "brainer" to double your gas mileage at a few pennies a day in electric costs, your drive is perfect for pure electric but even "charged" hybrid(79mpg) isn't bad.

    If I wasn't going to use the PIP feature I'd change to a hatchback and go with the 55+mpg anywhere anytime.
     
  18. Tracksyde

    Tracksyde Member

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    :confused:

    the PiP's EPA MPG is actually 1 MPG higher than the no-plug Hatchback on the highway, 51/49 (versus 51/48 for the no-plug version).
     
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