- Customers of Vermont’s Green Mountain Power can now test drive electric vehicles through a new partnership with Motor, a company working with utilities to accelerate the adoption of EVs and make the transition easier for their customers.
- The Try-an-EV program allows customers to select a vehicle, schedule delivery, have a Level 2 charger installed in their home and be enrolled in GMP’s EV rate plans, all through a single signup and monthly fee.
- There are currently about 4,000 EVs on GMP’s system, but the utility expects that number to grow rapidly — and for broader EV adoption to lower systemwide costs. “When our customers electrify, it actually drives down costs for every customer,” Tiana Smith, who leads electrification for GMP, said in an interview.
Utilities across the U.S. are rolling out new managed charging programs, incentives and rate plans to help customers drive electric, but GMP’s partnership with Motor attempts to simplify the entire process of transitioning to an EV.
“I think what's really exciting about the partnership with Motor is that people get to try this out ... with a really low commitment,” Smith said. “It's just that month-to-month subscription. They get to see how it fits into their life.”
Monthly plans start at $649 depending on the vehicle selected. Motor offers a range of EVs, including those made by Ford, Volkswagen, Nissan and Tesla.
Motor’s partnership with GMP is slated to run for an initial 18 months and is not included in the utility’s rates, officials said.
“From our perspective, this is quite cutting edge,” said Motor Chief Operating Officer Kris Bahlke. Vermont is the third utility territory where the company is offering its services. AES Indiana and AES Ohio have also partnered with the company.
Customers who sign up will receive a free Level 2 charger from GMP, with installation coordinated by Motor. Monthly packages also include insurance and maintenance and other fees, though not the electricity to power the vehicle.
“For all of our customers that drive electric vehicles, we give them a Level 2 charger and that gets them on one of our EV rates which is about $1 per gallon equivalent,” said Smith. But all customers on the utility’s system benefit when more EVs are added, she noted.
Because GMP does not profit from kilowatt-hour sales, as more EVs are charged on the utility’s system the higher throughput will “drive down the unit-price for all of our customers,” Smith said.
In Indiana, customers can purchase the vehicle through Motor; Bahlke said that service is also planned for Vermont, though not immediately.
“We're really about the enrollment and the training and trying to get the customers prepared to purchase an EV, or to hold their hand through an existing purchase, and less so about competing with a car dealer,” Bahlke said.
Motor was “incubated” out of AES, and in February the company said it had closed a $7 million Series A investment round co-led by AES and Mitsubishi.