You can already get a pretty hefty federal rebate on an electric vehicle, and it looks like at least some folks in Los Angeles can now also save a good chunk of change on an EV charging station. LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa just announced a new pilot program this week that will provide rebates of "up to $2,000" on home EV charging stations -- to the first 1,000 applicants, that is. That will apparently be expanded soon enough, however, with the city promising to begin accepting additional applications on May 1st, and eventually cover up to 5,000 EV chargers. Those receiving the rebate will also be required to participate in the LADWP's Residential Time-of-Use Rate that offers discounts for charging during off-peak hours, and the city will monitoring charging patterns in an effort to determine how to best allocate resources. Head on past the break for the full press release.
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Mayor Villaraigosa Announces Electric Vehicle Pilot Program

LOS ANGELES - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LADWP General Manager Ron Nichols, and environmental leaders announced today an LADWP pilot program that will provide rebates of up to $2,000 to the first 1,000 LADWP customers for home chargers and installation costs for their electric vehicles.

"Los Angeles is leading the nation in cleaner, greener transportation solutions," Mayor Villaraigosa said. "By offering significant rebates for home electric chargers, we hope to make electric cars more cost-effective than gasoline powered vehicles for Angelenos."

Yesterday, the Board of Water and Power Commissioners approved the Electric Vehicle Home Charger Rebate Program – Charge Up LA – to ease the financial burden for residents who want to install a rapid (Level 2) charger at their home for qualifying electric vehicles. Beginning May 1, 2011, the LADWP's goal is to stprovide rebates for 3,000 to 5,000 EV home chargers.

The LADWP will track the EV charging patterns to ascertain where to allocate resources for potential energy growth. By monitoring charging patterns, the LADWP can guard against straining the grid.

As gas prices continue to rise, EVs could become a better economic value for LADWP customers. Compared to regular gas-powered vehicles, the "fuel" cost of an EV is about equal to $1 per gallon.

The range of the rebate will depend on the type of charger and the related equipment installed by the customer. To qualify for the rebate, customers must participate in LADWP's Residential Time-of-Use Rate, which provides a significant discount for electrical use during "off-peak" hours-weeknights and anytime on weekends.

During these "off peak" hours, EV owners will not only save money – they will take advantage of renewable energy from wind power. By charging at night – the peak hours of wind power and production – owners will maximize renewable wind power and will also ease the strain on the electric grid.

"We expect most of our customers to charge their electric vehicles at night and the result is a double win for the environment," General Manager Ron Nichols said. "We generate electricity with renewable wind power, and we store that renewable energy in car batteries that then powers Angeleno's cars during the day."

The rebate program is part of an overall strategy by the City to ensure that Los Angeles is EV ready. At the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, the Mayor announced a program to help residential customers within the City of Los Angeles go from permit to plug-in for home electric vehicle chargers under 7 days, provided the customer's electrical system can support the charging requirements.

Components of LADWP's EV strategy include:

EV Infrastructure: LADWP will upgrade the 86 existing City of Los Angeles owned public chargers. LADWP plans to invest in additional new public chargers after existing ones are upgraded. LADWP will also encourage private owners of older style chargers to upgrade to the new standards.

Data Sharing: LADWP is coordinating with major EV charger vendors to share data regarding EV purchases and driving patterns that will help determine locations for new chargers. LADWP is also developing a standard agreement with charger vendors to meet conditions of the U.S. Department of Energy's "The EV Project," aimed at bringing more federal grant funds to the city.

Public Information: LADWP has established a website, www.ladwp.com/EV, for comprehensive one-stop information on the rebate program, installation and permits, rate discount and meter options.

Regional Collaboration: LADWP is collaborating with regional agencies, industry, various jurisdictions and other electric utilities to foster a seamless driving experience throughout the region.

Power Grid Upgrades: EV driving patterns and charging data will be used to help forecast and prepare the electric grid for energy growth related to EVs. The information will also support LADWP's Smart Grid Demonstration Project.

EV Discount: LADWP offers a 2.5 cent per kilowatt-hour (kWh) discount to residential customers who charge their EVs during off-peak hours when demand for energy is lowest (nights and weekends). The discount is available to customers on LADWP's Residential Time-of-Use Rate, who already benefit from reduced rates during off-peak hours.

Customer Service: A team of LADWP Customer Service Representatives has been trained to answer questions and assist customers with the charger installation process. For direct assistance, customers may call 1-866-484-0433 or email PluginLA@ladwp.com.

To download an application or for the EV Home Charger Rebate and other information, visit www.ladwp.com/EV.

This is the Mayor's latest initiative to transition Los Angeles away from relying on dirty diesel to be the cleanest, greenest City in the country. In March, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted to ratify a new pilot program to add 30 electric buses to the fleet. After a careful evaluation of whether electric buses do in fact save money and are more efficient, the city will implement the program on a larger scale – setting a national precedent.