Electric cars have soared in popularity in the last few years. Mississippi Power supports a trend that reduces carbon emissions and is helping to revolutionize personal transportation. Learn more about the practicality of electric cars with our frequently asked questions.
How involved in electric transportation is Mississippi Power?
Mississippi Power is finding ways to help customers who purchase electric vehicles. We're implementing lower rates for off-peak usage so that customers have the opportunity to save on their charging costs.
We are working with major vehicle manufacturers and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to bring economically and technologically viable on-road electric transportation technologies to the marketplace, enhance the speed of adoption, and understand the impacts of vehicle charging on our nation's electricity grid.
Mississippi Power is also helping to develop industry standards for this year's multi-vehicle rollout.
Mississippi Power is studying the impact of electric transportation on grid reliability, including vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies.
The company is also evaluating plug-in electric vehicles - both hybrid and total electric - and charging technologies for use in its own operations. We expect that we'll see increased customer satisfaction as a result of these benefits.
What are the benefits of electric transportation?
Electric vehicles and equipment are quiet, clean and efficient and offer users the opportunity to save money on fuel and maintenance costs, reduce their environmental impact, and contribute to the energy independence of the U.S. by using a domestically produced source of energy.
How can electric vehicle users reduce their environmental impact when so much of our electricity is produced with coal?
Gasoline or diesel engines deteriorate over time leading to higher emissions with the age of the vehicle, whereas, electric vehicles will potentially get cleaner over time as the generation of electricity gets cleaner.
Mississippi Power continues to lower its emissions by installing environmental controls on its existing coal units and adding new, cleaner sources of generation to its already diverse supply of generation.
How will consumers save money by driving an electric vehicle?
Electric vehicle owners can expect to see an increase in their electricity use. However, because gasoline and diesel prices outweigh that of electricity, they will still save money using electricity to power their vehicles.
Mississippi Power has also helped many of its commercial and industrial customers save thousands of dollars annually on fuel costs by using electric vehicles and equipment to move materials. With today's fast charging systems, the availability and productivity of electric material-handling vehicles and equipment has increased, also contributing to cost savings and operational efficiencies.
Why does Mississippi Power believe electric vehicles will be successful?
Auto manufacturers are much more supportive of the technology today because of heightened consumer interest, environmental mandates for automobiles, and federal funding and tax incentives to produce electric vehicles. There are already dozens of models of electric cars on the market, and we expect to see hundreds more in the coming years.
Today's consumers are looking for vehicles that are more efficient and cost effective to drive, plus state and federal incentives make purchasing an electric vehicle attractive to consumers.
Variety is a key factor. With all of the different makes and models of electric and hybrid vehicles on the market - ranging in size, price and options - the electric vehicle-buying experience is expected to be similar to the traditional car-buying experience.
Another great feature of today's electric vehicle is the ability to charge the vehicle on a standard 120-volt outlet, which every home has. Consumers will have the option of purchasing higher-powered chargers for quicker charges. There will also be chargers available at some commercial locations for 10- to 20-minute charges.
How does Mississippi Power address the consumer issue of "range anxiety?"
The driving range of electric vehicles has come a long way. With today's lithium-ion battery technology, there are all electric vehicles capable of traveling 100-plus miles between charges. There are plug-in hybrids that use a combination of electricity and gasoline and will travel up to 300 miles.
What are the different electric vehicle technologies available to consumers?
Electric vehicles come in many forms, but all have batteries and need to be plugged in to recharge. The typical types that consumers will have to consider are the battery electric vehicle, or BEV, which is a total electric vehicle, and the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or PHEV, and the extended-range electric vehicle, or EREV. The PHEV and the EREV use a combination of battery, for all electric range, and internal combustion engine for extended range.
There's also the LSV, low-speed vehicle, and the NEV, neighborhood electric vehicle. These total electric vehicles are street legal in 35-mph speed zones.
How much will it cost to equip a home to accommodate an electric vehicle?
It can cost as little as zero. Today's electric vehicles are capable of being charged from a standard 120-volt circuit, which every home has. So, a buyer can purchase a car, drive it home and charge it in a typical home outlet. However, Mississippi Power recommends using a dedicated 120-volt outlet to avoid overloading the circuit. For those who would like to charge their cars faster, there are higher-powered chargers available. However, because of the higher voltage, a permit may be required for the home installation of some of the faster chargers.
Are there any rebates or incentives for a purchasing an electric vehicle?
Mississippi Power does not currently offer any rebates or incentives for customers who purchase a plug-in electric vehicle.
Which auto manufacturers is Mississippi Power working with?
Mississippi Power continues to work with all of the major auto manufacturers to understand the use of electricity as a transportation fuel and its impact on the grid. Our responsibility is to our customers and making sure that we are prepared to meet their energy needs.
Why would Mississippi Power invest time and money into the research of electric transportation?
It is our responsibility to supply our customers with reliable electricity at the lowest prices possible. Staying abreast of the latest technological advancements is essential to our success, and Mississippi Power is at the forefront of the research and development of new technologies and clean energy solutions to meet our customers' future energy needs.
If electric transportation is so cost effective and clean, why doesn't Mississippi Power use all ET in its operations?
Mississippi Power is in the process of evaluating various types of electric vehicles and charging technologies for use in its own operations. The benefits of plug-in electric bucket trucks, which we began fleet testing in 2010, include reduced emissions and noise, and cost savings. There are also a lot of non-road applications we feel will be beneficial to our operations. So, we continue to gather data and identify areas of our company that would benefit from the use of plug-in electric vehicles.
When will consumers see the charging infrastructure needed to support electric vehicles?
In certain areas of the country, primarily the West Coast, the infrastructure is already beginning to appear. However, extensive infrastructure to support the vehicles may be deployed at the pace of vehicle sales. The industry believes the majority of vehicle charging will take place overnight at vehicle owners' homes. Overnight charging will be less costly and more efficient for everyone.
Will Mississippi Power be deploying charging infrastructure at business locations?
The company is in the process of developing its infrastructure plan.
Will having so many plug-in electric vehicles on the power grid affect reliability?
Mississippi Power has ample generation capacity and does not believe electric vehicles will impact electricity reliability. Unlike many other large electrical appliances that need to operate continuously, electric vehicles can be charged during the night time hours when demand is low and Mississippi Power has a lot of excess capacity.
Does Mississippi Power believe the high cost of replacing a battery in an electric vehicle will hinder sales?
Most electric vehicle owners will never replace the battery. Auto manufacturers are offering warranties of up to 100,000 miles, which is a sign of their confidence in the battery reliability. However, the price of these batteries continues to decline.
Since electric vehicles are so quiet, could they be dangerous to pedestrians, bikers, and the visually-impaired and hearing-impaired. This issue is being addressed by legislators and auto makers.
What happens to the old batteries?
The batteries are highly recyclable and there are a number of industries looking into second life businesses for them.