Duke Energy subscription service to offer fixed fee for electric vehicle charging

Signups are going on right now as of Sept. 1 for electric vehicle drivers who would like to cap their charging costs at $24.99 a month.
Updated: Sep. 4, 2023 at 6:00 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Signups are going on right now as of Sept. 1 for electric vehicle drivers who would like to cap their charging costs at $24.99 a month.

Duke Energy is prepping to test a vehicle charging subscription service in North Carolina. For $24.99 a month, the yearlong pilot program will offer 800 kilowatt-hours monthly to charge EVs at home.

“With this pilot, we’re testing the fixed fee every month. We think customers will enjoy and appreciate,” said Logan Kureczka with Duke Energy’s media relations. “The average EV driver uses less than 15 kWh on a given day, meaning the pilot will offer peace of mind for participants with nearly twice the amount per month needed by the average driver”

EVs are gaining popularity in North Carolina. Registrations are up more than 48 percent from just a year ago, with more than 56,000 EVs registered in the state. Pam Almond retired to Brunswick County and drives a sporty Ford Mustang Mach E.

“Oh, I love gadgets and new things,” said Almond. “It’s just so much fun. It’s been a journey, but a good journey so far.”

As technology improves, so does range. “Range Anxiety” was a term coined for early adopters, but it’s no longer the issue it once was. The average EV is getting close to 300 miles on a charge.

“A lot of customers have done their homework. The internet makes that easier” says Chad Muncy, with BMW of Wilmington.

Duke Energy’s pilot program is in partnership with BMW, Ford and General Motors.

“Customers are finding out range isn’t the biggest thing, because typically, you’re only going to charge your electric vehicles once or twice a week, unless you’re taking long significant trips in the vehicle and most of that charging is being done at home.”

Duke said the following in its release statement:

“Customers will be able to input their desired state of charge and preferred departure time using an application provided by their automaker that then creates a charging schedule that optimizes their preferred EV charging times. Duke Energy is working with General Motors, Ford Motor Company and BMW of North America as a part of the Open Vehicle Grid Integration Platform (OVGIP), which enables the management of EV charging from multiple automakers in a grid-friendly and EV driver-centric manner.”

“We know demand on the grid is going up. We know that all of these EV’s are going to add that demand to the grid,” said Kureczka. “We know that but we don’t want to have to add costly transformers that customers would have to pay for. So by helping us balance the grid, managing that grid is going to be an important part of EVs in the future. You’ll see that not just with Duke Energy but with utilities across the country.”

Signups are limited to 100 customers, and the program will launch in November. For more details, click here.

Pam Almond could find out this week if she qualifies based on her zip code in southeastern North Carolina.

It’s a program that’s grabbing her attention with cautious optimism.

“It’s just like a lot of other things we have with subscriptions with TV streaming and things like that,” said Almond. “How long is it going to stay at that price, or is it going to keep going up?”

There are variety of other incentives for people considering an EV as their next vehicle purchase. Duke Energy has a page committed to sharing that information, including news of an upcoming rental program for those home chargers. You’ll find that information here.