Time of Use Rates and EV Charging

Even though many industries struggled in 2020, Electric Vehicles have managed to increase their market share of new car sales around the world. In the United States, EV sales rose 9.9%. In the UK, EV sales tripled even though car sales as a whole declined to the lowest since 1992. Most impressively, 54% of Norway’s new car sales were electric vehicles. With so many of these new cars on the road, consumers and businesses have to consider Time of Use rates and whether or not they are charging their vehicles at the most economical times. Time of Use rates change based on the time of day and season, so that rates are higher during peak demand times and lower during off-peak times. For savvy chargers, this can mean lower utility bills and overall emissions for their EV.

Peak and Off-Peak demand times can vary, but typically stay in about the same range. Some companies offer Super Off-Peak pricing as well, where demand is especially low. Peak times are when the most energy is used by all of the company’s customers, usually in the late afternoon and evening. Off-peak times usually occur at night and in the later morning. Super Off-Peak times are late at night and in the early morning. By charging vehicles overnight, during off-peak times, customers can take advantage of lower rates. Rate Acuity’s nationwide rate database makes it easy to see what times of day are best to charge electric vehicles, and how the charge differs from other times of the day.

Time of Use rates may also be used to incentivize consumers to lower their overall emissions by charging their electric vehicles at times where clean energy is more readily available. Peak emissions hours are dependent on the region, and don’t necessarily correlate to peak demand hours. In California for example, solar power is a main energy source during the day. Charging your EV at night produces as much as 70% more emissions because alternative energy sources must be used. In New York, it is the opposite. The most efficient charging time is at night, when nuclear and hydro power are contributing more to the energy supply. This is 20% more efficient than charging during the day. Although rates based on energy type rather than demand are not the norm, they may become more popular as electric vehicles become more widely used, especially with increasing focus on emission reduction.

As electric vehicles increase in popularity and become more affordable, Time of Use Rates may become more widely used to incentivize customers and take strain off of the electrical system. Going forward, charging differently for electricity based on where it comes from can also incentivize customers to choose greener options. Both reasons for Time of Use Rates have the potential to influence our patterns of energy consumption.

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