Xcel Energy has held a top spot as a national leader in clean energy for more than 15 years. The company prides itself on protecting the environment, embracing clean technology, and standing with its communities. With transportation being the most significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, the company has set a goal to provide 100% carbon-free energy by 2050 and help customers and communities navigate the transition to electrifying transportation to support their clean energy goals.
The three key objectives that help shape Xcel Energy’s EV initiatives consist of providing advice and information to customers, reducing infrastructure costs, and helping customers save money through managed charging. The company’s Residential Advisory Services help customers at whatever stage they may be in their EV journey. Through hands-on events, customers can get educated about EVs. For example, in 2020, at the Twin Cities Auto Show, Xcel Energy led thousands of customers through its “EV Garage,” a simulated home garage to familiarize customers with different types of home chargers and how to get set up to charge an electric car at home. At the Auto Show, Xcel Energy showcased various EV models and conducted over 2,000 EV test drives. Stakeholders such as electricians, auto dealers, Recharge Minnesota, Shift To Electric, and the MN Clean Cities Coalition collaborate with Xcel Energy to help pull together educational opportunities for Minnesotans to learn about EV benefits and resources to assist them.
Xcel Energy’s EV Accelerate At Home program launched in Minnesota in December 2020. The program provides customers with the hassle-free installation of a Level 2 charging station that Xcel Energy installs and maintains for a monthly fee (there is also an option to pay for the charger and installation up front). An approved program electrician installs the Level 2 charging station and programs it to charge during off-peak hours, with a lower rate. Over 700 customers participated in this program in the first year. Additionally, Xcel Energy has a EV Subscription Pilot program that offers a flat monthly fee where customers pay a flat monthly fee for unlimited charging overnight.
In the spring of 2020, Xcel Energy launched its EV Dealer Network to help assist customers and dealers to make the EV purchasing process easier to navigate. To help direct customers to trusted dealers in the area, Xcel Energy features local dealerships on its website. When customers visit one of the partnering dealership locations, they can test drive an EV, learn about charging, and even sign up for the Xcel Energy charging program that suits their needs during the purchase process. Currently, Xcel Energy has over 20 dealers established in their EV Dealer Network in Minnesota.
Xcel Energy’s Commercial Advisory Services include assisting large businesses, fleets, and property managers. The EV Concierge program assigns an EV Expert’ from Xcel Energy to guide customers on their EV journey, helping customers identify programs that best suit their needs. Xcel Energy’s Fleet Electrification Advisory Program provides a suitability assessment, data analysis, and advisory services for free as a first step to fleet electrification. Additionally, Xcel Energy’s EV Supply Infrastructure program provides design and construction of EV supply infrastructure. Currently, 120 construction projects are underway.
Barriers and challenges for program rollout in 2021 include being in a relatively new market, lack of EV models due to the chip shortage, gaps in public charging, and upfront costs for customers. Yet, with new models launching in 2022 and more infrastructure being built nationwide, these potential barriers should diminish. Looking forward, Xcel Energy is focusing on equity and making the benefits of transportation electrification a reality for all customers.