Middle class Californians subsidize wealthy Tesla owners, 2019 edition

“I got an electric car. My electric bill went down” by Brad Templeton is worth reading. He summarized it on Facebook:

Surprise: I got an electric car and my power bill went DOWN. Why? When you get an electric car in California, it allows you to switch to a heavy “time of use” power plan with expensive power in the peak (2pm-9pm) and much cheaper power in the night. I charge my car at night and moved my pool pump to the night so the net was my bill went down — my electric car gets almost “free” electricity, it seems. YMMV.

One angle he doesn’t cover is that the guy who could afford to purchase a new Tesla is being further subsidized by people who can’t afford to purchase a new Tesla (or any other new car!).


3 thoughts on “Middle class Californians subsidize wealthy Tesla owners, 2019 edition

  1. Electric rates changed for everyone after 2018. We were all paying 20% more 3 months ago, so you can’t really blame a 5% change 3 months ago on changing plans.

    It’s a strange quirk of human behavior that the middle class always ends up subsidizing the upper class in any government. The electric vehicle tax deductions are going away, but mortgage tax deductions are here to stay. Homeowers get subsidies to install grey water systems, solar power. The government artificially lowers interest rates & subsidizes mortgages but there’s no jumbo rent plan.

    A Tesla is almost free in today’s dollars, but renters can’t own electric cars because apartments don’t have electric chargers.

  2. I don’t think switching to a “smart” meter is limited to electric vehicle owners. Peak and nighttime rate plans are available to any home owner willing to have the meter changed and switching plans.

  3. While the electric car tax credit does subsidize electric car purchase (both for those who can afford a Tesla and those who buy a Leaf) I fail to see why the power plan does. (It’s also not entirely clear why the plan is only available to electric car owners which might make it a minor subsidy.)
    Electric delivery in California is hugely expensive compared to most of the USA. On the electric car plan, I pay 48 cents per kwh during the peak, almost all of that for grid delivery fees, not for generation. In exchange for paying this market rate, I get to pay 13 cents/kwh (again, most of it for delivery) after 11pm, the lower market rate. How is paying market rates a subsidy?
    I will note that for an “always on” load, the TOU rate is perhaps 10% cheaper than the non-TOU rates or a touch below the less extreme TOU rate offered to non electric car owners. But most people only have a modest always-on load.

    So what makes you say there is a subsidy?

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