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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have had a Renault ZOE for more than a year (and blogged about it at MyRenaultZoe.com) and become a dyed-in-the-wool EV evangelist (or 'EV bore' to my family) but I'd like to do more. Since about Christmas I've been thinking about how I could get more involved in 'spreading the faith'. In particular I've been working on a business idea for a UK company specialising in leasing electric cars to the public (PHEVs and BEVs). The USP would be that electricity would be included in the monthly cost, just like you get so many minutes in your mobile phone contract. With matching the right car to the customer, this means that commuting becomes free - I think this will be a big selling point.

I have found a company that can put together a suitable website, and will go ahead with the idea in some form. However, I would be interested in any feedback and comments from existing EV owners, particularly those who have leased and whether having electricity included in the monthly cost would have been attractive. I also think there's simply a gap for a UK website that gives comparative information on the various plugins that are currently on the market or are coming soon.

Longer term the business will diversify to offer solar panels, home battery storage, etc. to its drivers. For example, a solar panel installation could be done for about £150 per month added to the car lease cost.

Edit: I should make clear that although I'm a huge fan of the ZOE, numbers wise I suspect most customers will be interested in the Leaf, i3 and Outlander.
 

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What's your mechanism for selling the electricity?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Long term (i.e. once I have a significant number of customers) the aim is to do it via a tie-up with a supplier like Ecotricity. In the short term the cost of the electricity they use to charge the car will be transferred into their bank account either monthly or quarterly.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I've just read your signature - perhaps I should have said 'Ecotricity (but other suppliers are available)'!
 
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That would require a legislation change - domestic energy charges must currently appear, wholly, on a single bill on which nothing else is allowed to appear.

EDIT: "Currently". No accounting for possible future changes, but Ofgem have shown extreme reluctance to opening up the bill of late, and for coherent reasons ("Simpler, Clearer, Fairer")
 

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I've just read your signature - perhaps I should have said 'Ecotricity (but other suppliers are available)'!
No worries - I don't do partisan Supply company stuff here :cool:
 

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Can't see Ecotricity going for that kind of deal. They have been pretty clear to date that they want to do their thing alone... of course that could change :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Paul - I have got the same impression.

That would require a legislation change - domestic energy charges must currently appear, wholly, on a single bill on which nothing else is allowed to appear.
Can you clarify this? I imagine it doesn't rule out the two approaches we're considering:

1. For now we refund from the lease charge to the customer an amount of money equivalent to what it's cost them to charge their car (they are still getting a single electricity bill from their current supplier).

2. Later we have a tie up with an energy supplier (EDF, say) and they tell us how much of the customer's bill was down to the EV charging and we pay that part of the bill direct to the supplier (the customer is still getting a single electricity bill from their current supplier but it either just covers their non-EV use or it's itemised and shows the remainder after the EV bit has been paid by us).
 

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Later we have a tie up with an energy supplier (EDF, say) and they tell us how much of the customer's bill was down to the EV charging
That is not possible without separate metering of EV charging and that isn't done at the moment so the electricity company has no idea what use the electricity is put to.
 

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You could calculate the refund based on mileage I suppose and assume a standard miles per kWh rate for the model concerned. That would not be selling electricity but it would have almost the same effect as an actual refund on the electricity bill... without it being an actual refund... if you see what I mean... thereby removing the requirement to comply with the electricity supply regulations perhaps?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That is not possible without separate metering of EV charging and that isn't done at the moment so the electricity company has no idea what use the electricity is put to.
My understanding is that any UK chargepoints installed under the government scheme have to include metering and that information on kWh used is available online.

(Having said that, I'm still in discussion with Chargemaster about getting access to that information for my charger so I can't confirm it personally).
 

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My understanding is that any UK chargepoints installed under the government scheme have to include metering and that information on kWh used is available online.
I assume you mean public charging? Metering is not a requirement for home installations which is where the majority of EV charging will be done and so the majority of EV charging is not metered separately from normal home metering. That also goes for private installations such as ZCW locations IIRC as they do not fall under the government grant scheme.
 

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I assume you mean public charging? Metering is not a requirement for home installations which is where the majority of EV charging will be done and so the majority of EV charging is not metered separately from normal home metering. That also goes for private installations such as ZCW locations IIRC as they do not fall under the government grant scheme.
Home chargers installed on any of the schemes covered by government grants include communications to pass on usage information. However that's not of a quality to be considered metering, and the user doesn't necessarily have access to the data, or indeed trust the data if they do have access.
 

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Could you fit a second meter in the house just connected to the EVSE, which the new leasing company pays all the charges on?
 

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I can't see the attraction of aggregating all the payments unless is charged on a cost per mile of usage. The electricity cost for an EV is such a miniscule proportion of the total cost of ownership that it isn't worth worrying about.

If you're set on rebating electricity cost, simplest way would be on a fixed rate per mile, relying on the telemetrics data from the car.
 

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The data from CM/Polar seems to come out as gobbledegook.

Even if it wasn't, how do you factor for people plugging the evse into a 3 pin?

If you went off vehicle miles, what about on road charging?

Seems like there are a lot of hurdles but I would have thought that the actual cost of electricity is a minor factor, unlike fuel.

Could you be trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist (for the vast majority at least)?
 
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I am not convinced. The proposal would be exactly equivalent to an ICE car lease that included the cost of petrol / diesel and in a mature market that has never been offered by lease companies or demanded by users. The lease would either require low mileage users to subsidise high mileage ones (if you're proposing a flat rate to all) or the lease costs would be mileage dependant in which case the user is simply paying for what he uses anyway.
 

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I am not convinced and I suspect that it would not be attractive to sufficient people. As has been said already... electricity costs are very small compared to existing petrol/diesel costs and it will become almost insignificant in most people's minds.

Before you get stuck into things like web site and the like might I suggest a serious amount of market research to confirm a business case and iability. A full business plan might highlight the weaknesses and save you a lot of effort, not to mention money.
 

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What he said ⇑ ;)

I'd advise a free trip to a business adviser in your region before spending any money. If the 'converted' community have reservations, you'll be met with confusion, indifference and resistance by the populous.
 
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