EV pilot programs provide an opportunity to gain critical knowledge.

EV pilot programs provide an opportunity to gain critical knowledge.

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Beginning October 2022, Duke Energy Indiana will launch four electric vehicle (EV) pilot programs for residential and commercial customers, each of which will run for two years and provide the company insights into the effects of increased adoption of EVs.

Charging preferences, customer behavior, and potential benefits for Indiana will all be under the microscope. Although approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in June, the official announcement of the programs took place in September to mark National Drive Electric Week — a nationwide education and celebration push focused on the benefits of all-electric and plug-in vehicles.

“As the adoption of electric vehicles accelerates, pilot programs such as these give us the opportunity to gain critical knowledge around what an electric automotive future will require and ensure we’re planning the system to reliably meet our customers’ needs,” Stan Pinegar, Duke Energy Indiana president, said.

One of the programs is the Off-Peak Charging Credit, which will allow residential customers with Level 2 EV chargers to apply for quarterly bill credits provided for charging EVs during times of decreased energy demand. It will onboard up to 500 participants, who will be provided $50 quarterly credits — a total of up to $400 per customer. On Duke’s side, the program will be used to examine customer response to price incentives for vehicle charging.

A similar incentive and market segment insight program focuses on the commercial side through the Commercial Charger Rebate. This program will provide up to $500 per charging station for up to 1,200 charging stations installed by fleet operators, businesses, apartments, and government offices. Each must install a minimum of four Level 2 EV charging stations but can install up to 20, either owning, leasing, or otherwise operating one or more plug-in EVs for use per incentive.

A third incentive, the Electric School Bus pilot program, will focus on aiding education — the company will work with schools to provide up to $197,000 per bus –— and charging infrastructure for six electric school buses. Half will be given to schools with more than 30% of their students on free or reduced-price lunch programs, with the rest given on a first-come, first-served basis. The goal here will be for Duke to examine the ability of bus batteries to dispatch energy to the electric grid, essentially giving as much as storing.

Lastly, the Fleet Advisory pilot program represents a more comprehensive and complex effort, focused on logistics for fleet managers. It will offer a comprehensive EV suitability analysis from Duke Energy itself for 45 customers interested in switching operating fleets to electric.

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