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Duke Energy Prepping for Electric Vehicles

In late 2010, manufacturers like General Motors and Nissan began deploying their new plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) in the U.S. Duke Energy is preparing for widespread adoption through a variety of programs and partnerships. Our job is twofold: to maintain a safe and reliable power grid as demand grows for electricity as a transportation fuel, and to ensure a positive experience for our customers.

The benefits of electric vehicles are clear:

Our customers will save money.
Given today’s oil prices, “filling up” an electric vehicle is a cheaper alternative to fueling gasoline-powered vehicles.

The environment will benefit.
Widespread adoption of electric vehicles will significantly cut vehicle emissions.

Electricity is a domestic resource.
Electric vehicles reduce our dependence on foreign oil and lead to more local jobs.

A plug-in electric vehicle’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions depends on the source of the electricity used to charge its battery. When power is produced by nuclear or renewable energy sources, electric cars reduce emissions dramatically. However, even in regions where most electricity is produced by coal, PEVs still reduce greenhouse gases by 25 to 30 percent over conventional vehicles.

Source: www.GoElectricDrive.com

Pilot Programs

Eligible residential customers will receive electric vehicle charging stations as part of pilot programs in Indiana and the Carolinas. Duke Energy will install charging stations, as well as service the technology for the duration of the programs. When the pilot ends, participants will have the option of purchasing the charging stations at significant savings.

We recently installed electric vehicle charging stations at our Charlotte and Plainfield corporate offices, and plan installations at additional company locations in 2011. Partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, these installations will support pilot programs to evaluate the impact of PEVs on our power grid. For example, our own plug-in electric vehicle deployment project recently enlisted 10 Duke Energy employees to test the new Chevy Volt in North Carolina.

We will use the insights and information we gain from these pilots to design products and services that appeal to PEV owners, and to develop model regulatory frameworks for future PEV deployments.

ITOCHU Partnership

Duke Energy and Tokyo-based ITOCHU Corp. signed an agreement in November 2010 to collaborate on advanced energy technologies, starting with the evaluation and testing of second-life applications for electric vehicle (EV) batteries.

According to some auto industry estimates, EV batteries that can no longer charge to approximately 80 percent of their original capacity may be candidates for replacement. Duke Energy and ITOCHU believe these partially used batteries could live on in other applications, like supplementing home energy supply, storing renewable power or providing a fast-charging power source for EVs. By increasing the total lifetime value of batteries, second-life applications could also help reduce initial battery cost.

This pilot project will help Duke Energy and ITOCHU develop potential business models for future commercialization.