Customers ignore smart meter feedback in EV study

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A two-year study of smart-metered households with plug-in hybrid vehicles found that users rarely took advantage of online feedback to control their vehicle charging, but managed their electricity use in other ways. Combining both household and vehicle data in a smart-grid context, RASEI (CU-Boulder's Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute) claims its study is the first and only one of its kind.

An EV charging station.

Households had access to two websites -- one providing nearly instantaneous information on the charging vehicle and one providing delayed feedback of overall household energy use. Approximately 90 percent of households looked at the websites a few times or less while the remaining 10 percent never even consulted the web sites.

Sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales USA in partnership with Xcel Energy, the study found that users were more motivated by electricity pricing to change their behavior than access to online feedback. The convenience of vehicle charging and not having to go to the gas station was also a driver for customers.

"The RASEI study demonstrates the importance of testing new technologies with real customers in everyday circumstances," said Bill Reinert, Toyota Advanced Technology Vehicle national manager. "The results are often unexpected but help us understand the needs of potential customers and how to successfully introduce advanced technologies to the market."

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