Los Angeles, due to its profound lack of public transportation, is a car culture. You absolutely need a car to get from here to there, and LA drivers are of the “been here, done that” school of driving, traffic patience and vehicle maintenance. However, it turns out LA drivers are also different in how they drive their electric cars.
As reported in the LA Times, LA EV drivers behave in a very different manner than other EV drivers around the country. According to an Ecotality-sponsored report, LA EV drivers tend travel further in their cars, but they also charge their vehicles more often at public locations and are far more likely to charge at night to obtain less expensive electricity rates.
Ecotality (NASDAQ:ECTY) is the company that's overseeing a $230 million EV charging infrastructure project that is funded in part by the DOE. In addition to overhauling the charging infrastructure, it analyzes EV driving data from dozens of cities around the country.
Since 2010, Ecotality has installed 4,600 of 8,300 planned residential chargers and 1,600 of 5,000 public chargers. About 10% of the EV Project’s residential participants are located in LA and many are contributing their driving data to the company, including 422 Nissan Leaf owners.
Based on first quarter data, LA Leaf drivers charge away from home 24% of the time versus 19% nationally. LA drivers drive 28.1 miles between charges versus 27.4 nationally. According to Ecotality spokesman Steve Schey, this indicates a “greater confidence in their cars’ range and in finding charging locations away from their homes.”
In addition, LA drivers tend to charge their vehicles at odd hours due in part by an LA Department of Water and Power EV program that offers a discounted rate of 2.5 cents per kWh if they charge on weekends and between 8pm and 10am weekdays. Ecotality plans to continue to collect data nationally through the end of next year.