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Xcel offering special pricing plan for charging electric vehicles

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Charge me
A license plate of an electric car reads "charge me." Xcel Energy is offering a fixed pricing plan to charge electric vehicles, hoping to inspire more people in Minnesota to buy them.
Stepanie Hemphill | MPR News 2009

Xcel Energy is offering a fixed pricing plan to charge electric vehicles, hoping to inspire more people in Minnesota to buy them.

The charging plan costs $33 to $44 a month, depending on whether a customer rents or buys charging equipment for their home. A charger costs $886.

The plan only covers overnight and weekend charges. Juicing up a vehicle outside those times will cost extra.

The offer is part of a two-year pilot program enrolling 100 participants.

“Our target is the customers that are just showing up at an auto dealer and they're asking: 'How much will it cost? How will I do this?’” said Kevin Schwain, director of Xcel's electric vehicle program.

Customers can sign up for the program through 11 Twin Cities auto dealers selling electric vehicles. As of last April, there were 10,109 electric vehicles in Minnesota. About 7,000 were registered in communities served by Xcel.

Tesla cars account for about a third of the electric vehicles in Minnesota. More than half of the electric vehicles in the state are in Hennepin or Ramsey counties.

As of 2017, Minnesota was in the middle of the pack in terms of electric vehicle registrations per 1,000 people, with a rate of 1.11, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. California was tops with a rate of 8.64; Mississippi was last at 0.20.

Xcel says electric vehicles charged on the utility’s system have about one-third the emissions of a gasoline-powered vehicle, with an operational cost equivalent to less than $1 per gallon of gas. The company will release details about additional electric vehicle pilot programs later this year.