WPS is working to understand the opportunities and challenges plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) may have on our electrical system. Together with the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) we tested the Chevy Volt, an extended-range electric vehicle. We also tested charging technologies. Tests ran from 2011 through 2014.

WPS will use the information learned to ensure that the needed infrastructure is in place for convenient and reliable recharging of electric vehicles. In 2014, we added three VIA extended range electric vehicles to our fleet for testing.

What is the Volt?

The Volt is a type of plug-in hybrid. General Motors calls it an extended range electric vehicle (EREV). The Volt is an all-electric drive car. It has the long-range capabilities and convenience of a traditional vehicle.

  • Battery Power: 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack (35 to 40 miles).
  • Gasoline Power: 1.4-liter engine powers a battery-charging generator (330 miles).
  • Plug-in: Standard 120V outlet or 240V charging station.
  • Charging Time: About 8 to 10 hours on 120V, 4 hours on 240V, depending on climate.
  • Running Costs: About $0.096 per mile (gas and electric).
  • Acceleration: 60 mph in less than 9 seconds.

The Volt initially drives on electricity. The electricity is stored in the 16 kWh battery. It drives without gasoline and free of tailpipe emissions. Then, when you need it, a quiet onboard gas generator runs to provide electric power to the battery for a total range of up to 375 miles.

EPRI partnership

Through the EPRI-GM Demonstration Project, WPS received one of 64 Chevy Volt cars to test. WPS drove the Volt in the same driving conditions you face. We evaluated:

  • Overall practicality and convenience.
  • Customer charging patterns.
  • How to integrate PEVs into the electric delivery infrastructure.

Through this partnership, WPS and EPRI examined charging technologies that support our Three-Tier Time-of-Use rate. This "smart" charging approach will work with any electric vehicle.

Cost to operate

The average consumer will get about 40 miles per charge on the battery of the Chevy Volt. Using our standard residential electric rates customers would incur the following cost to charge their vehicle:

  • Level I Charge: 1.4 kW * 10 hours * $0.10 = $1.44
    $1.44/40 miles = $0.036 per mile
  • Level II Charge: 3.3 kW * 3.5 * $0.10 = $1.19
    $1.19/40 miles = $0.029 per mile

The average consumer then will get about 330 miles on gasoline. The following breaks down the charges customers would incur to fuel their vehicle:

9.3 gallons premium gas * $3.00 per gallon = $27.90 or $0.08 per mile

Learn more

Get the latest information and learn about the technology behind the Chevy Volt on the General Motors website.

WEC Energy Group