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SRP survey reveals that nearly 40% of Ariz. EV drivers say charging costs lower than expected

October 2, 2020

by Paul Ciampoli
APPA News Director
October 2, 2020

Nearly 40 percent of Arizona-based EV customers say that costs associated with charging their vehicles are lower or much lower than expected, according to the results from a survey released by Arizona public power utility Salt River Project on Sept. 28.

SRP released the results from its EV community survey completed by 1,269 SRP customers part of the SRP EV Community, conducted between Aug. 24 and Sept. 17, 2020. It is the fourth annual survey of its kind that collects insights from SRP customers on their experiences owning and driving EVs, SRP noted in a news release.

SRP’s 2020 EV community survey, completed by 1,269 SRP customers that are part of the SRP EV Community, was conducted between Aug. 24 and Sept. 17, 2020. Eligible SRP customers receive a $50 Amazon gift card as an incentive for joining the SRP EV Community. As SRP EV Community members, customers hear about opportunities, news and other SRP EV initiatives, and also have the opportunity to provide valuable feedback, which helps shape SRP’s EV programs, rate plans and charging solutions, SRP noted.

SRP said that the survey found that 39 percent of Arizona-based EV customers say that costs associated with charging their vehicles are lower – or much lower – than expected.

Fifty percent of respondents said that costs are equal to expected, and only 9 percent said costs are higher than expected.

More than 73% of EV customers say they regularly use the timer on their EV to charge it during off-peak hours.

More than 84% of EV customers would recommend buying an electric vehicle to a friend or colleague. This percentage of EV promotors grows each year, increased from 74% of promoters in 2017, SRP said.

Additional insights from this year’s survey found:

  • Most survey respondents, more than 53%, say they rarely use public charging stations.
  • Various respondents said a benefit associated with driving EV is not having to visit public gas stations, specifically now during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • More than three out of four EV customers (76%) have Level II chargers at home vs. Level I chargers. This is a 12% increase in Level II home chargers from 2018.
  • More than one out of three (36.9%) respondents say they have access to EV charging at work.

Using feedback from customers, SRP has implemented behavior-based, energy-saving programs like its Electric Vehicle Price Plan that support current and prospective EV owners and drivers, the utility said.

This price plan works similarly to the SRP time-of-use price plans and is designed to help EV owners lower energy costs by charging their vehicles during off-peak hours, between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. SRP also developed the Electric Vehicle Export Price Plan for customers who produce some of their own energy with rooftop solar and customers are credited for the energy they generate.

SRP reported that satisfaction among Arizona-based EV customers continues to grow, with extremely high “Net Promoter Scores” and an annual increase in survey respondents who would recommend buying an electric vehicle to a friend or colleague. “This is especially significant this year, as the latest survey results were taken during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which, more than 56% of respondents say they have driven their EVs significantly less since the COVID-19 outbreak began,” the utility said.

SRP said it continues to gain insights from its EV customer base to better support the enablement of more EVs in the Valley, and more than 84% of respondents in the latest survey said they are willing to participate in follow-up research on their experiences as an EV driver.

SRP plans more research

As part of its programmatic research efforts last year, SRP launched “SmartCharge AZ,” an EV pilot program partnering with FleetCarma. This pilot is made up of five hundred SRP residential EV owners and helps SRP understand charging behaviors. It offers a controlled load-shifting program designed to promote charging during times beneficial to the power grid while also reducing customer costs.

After receiving the latest EV Community survey insights, SRP plans to initiate more research around public charging stations, focused on how the utility can instill improved customer confidence in driving between home and available EV charging stations.

SRP noted that it continues to offer incentives and rebates to commercial customers to install EV chargers in public parking lots, workplaces, multi-family dwellings and more to increase the number of EV charger ports in the Valley and state.

By 2035, SRP plans to support the enablement of 500,000 EVs in SRP’s service territory and manage 90% of EV charging through price plans, dispatchable load management, original equipment manufacturer integration, connected smart homes, behavioral and other emerging programs.

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