“EVs present an opportunity to make the most of our clean energy investments while creating new and affordable options for our customers,” said Chris Clark, president, Xcel Energy-Minnesota. “Our plan is the culmination of months of research and discussions with stakeholders who are as invested in the future of EVs as we are. We look forward to giving drivers and fleet operators the knowledge, tools and options they need to go electric.”
Driving electric is good for both the environment and the pocketbook because EVs have about one-third the emissions of gasoline-powered vehicles at a cost equivalent to about $1 per gallon. EV owners can also participate in the company’s Windsource program, charging with 100 percent wind power and zero emissions.
The planned initiatives and pilot programs Xcel Energy has announced will focus on three main areas: home charging, public charging, and fleet operations. The company’s goal is to test innovative EV services that can be expanded to all Minnesota customers over time.
For residential customers, Xcel Energy will offer more options including a new subscription service that will provide drivers with a set bill for EV charging and equipment each month. Xcel Energy is also looking to offer dynamic digital tools to help customers understand all their options when it comes to vehicle choices, pricing options and charging solutions.
As electric vehicles increase their driving range, Xcel Energy is working on a fast charging corridor pilot that will leverage public and private funds to increase the availability of fast charging stations on highways and other major corridors.
The company is also working with the cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and has proposed a pilot to support a charging network for everyone who travels through the Twin Cities, including those who may not own vehicles. Through a partnership with HOURCAR, a local, independent, non-profit car sharing service, Xcel Energy will also support a new, all-electric one-way car sharing service and other innovative mobility services in the Twin Cities. This project will increase access to the benefits of electric transportation, especially those in low income, underserved communities.
Xcel Energy also hopes to make it easier and more affordable for large fleet operators like Metro Transit, the Minnesota Department of Administration, and the City of Minneapolis to integrate electric vehicles into their fleets.
With Metro Transit, Xcel Energy plans to provide the electrical infrastructure needed to charge the first eight of Metro Transit’s electric buses. These new 60-foot articulated buses will serve the C-Line, a new rapid bus route connecting Brooklyn Center, north Minneapolis and downtown Minneapolis, beginning in 2019. Xcel Energy is also looking to provide charging infrastructure for 200 ports for the State of Minnesota’s fleet and 90 charging ports for the City of Minneapolis’s EV fleet.