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SF Bay Area Residents - Are You Really Saving Money vs Gas?

IamMark

Member
Dec 31, 2019
51
16
SF Bay Area
One of the main reasons for recently purchasing the LR AWD Model 3 was to save on gas, especially compared to our gas guzzling SUV. My wife and I don't have a terribly long commute and will probably only drive it about 8,000 - 10,000 miles per year. I live in the East Bay, where it gets pretty toasty in the summer. I also have a pool that requires the pump be run during the day on higher RPMs to run the water through the solar panels. I'm currently signed up with PG&E's E-1 Tiered Rate schedule, which is ridiculously expensive compared to pretty much everywhere in the country ($0.24 - $0.52 kWh). Due to the AC and pool, I get fairly close to getting bumped into Tier 3 during the summer.

If I now start charging the Model 3 at home, I'll definitely get pushed into Tier 3 pricing, which will substantially increase our electricity costs. I looked at the Home Charging EV2-A schedule, and while it would provide cheaper rates while charging the car ($0.17 kWh), it will dramatically increase the costs of electricity during the times I'll be running the AC and pool pump ($0.48 kWh). Given this, it seems like it will potentially cost more in electricity to have my Model 3 than I would spend on gas.

Perhaps I'm not thinking this through correctly, but I'm wondering if other SF Bay Area residents who have had their Model 3 for a while are actually saving money compared to what you would have paid for gas.
 
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Eclectic

Member
Nov 8, 2014
773
920
Bay Area & Montana
When we had our Model S's, we had the exact problem you described with being bumped into higher tiers (we lived in the East Bay, with a pool and heavy AC use in the summer). Switching to the EV rates helped a bit, but we found that we were paying more, all in, than we were with an ICE.
 
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Silicon Desert

Active Member
Oct 1, 2018
3,263
2,967
Sparks Nevada / GF 1
I hear you. I lived in San Ramon for many years and compared to the 9 cents per kWh I get here WITHOUT tiers, I was getting robbed in San Ramon by PG&E. I was often in tier 4 for a portion of my electric. I would not have saved any money on my electric bill with a Tesla, but some people down there are probably seeing some savings over gas, depending on their usage of course.

On another note, I also had solar hot water panels high up on a 2 story home so I know what you mean about needing a high pump rpm to get the water up to the panels. HOWEVER, I wonder if you know that you only need that high rpm until the panels are fully primed and then you can lower the rpm to probably half that rate (assuming you have a variable speed programmable pump). The water falling back down to the pool will cause a suction to require less energy from the pump. Example, I would have my pump programmed to prime the panels at full speed (3,000 rpm) for 5 minutes and then able to drop it back to 1800 RPM for the rest of the day. That cuts the pump energy usage to about 1/3 electric draw as compared to full speed.
 
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Big Dog

Active Member
Mar 7, 2016
1,535
1,527
Irvine, CA
if its toasty during the day, why do you need to run the pool water thru solar panels to heat it?

But yes, solar electric panels should be in your future.
 
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ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,201
13,852
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Perhaps I'm not thinking this through correctly, but I'm wondering if other SF Bay Area residents who have had their Model 3 for a while are actually saving money compared to what you would have paid for gas.
I live in San Mateo. I have only owned Teslas for over 5 years now, and I am definitely saving money compared to owning ICEs. However, my home electrical requirements are modest, and I have solar. I strongly recommend you look into getting a solar system and a Powerwall (which is a good idea anyway given that PG&E “Public Safety Power Shutdowns” are now a fact of life during the fire season). Call Tesla Energy.
 
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gsteele

Member
Sep 5, 2016
82
57
California
I live in San Jose, and unlike you have very low power demands during the day. 82% of my usage is off-peak and 10% is partial-peak. My entire electric bill is now less than I was spending on gas for the Prius I had before getting my Model S.
I think you definitely need to put in a solar electric system. Or put in a separate meter for the car and go on the EV2-B plan.
 

eevee-fan

Active Member
Dec 2, 2019
1,334
1,637
Nevada
I live in San Jose, and unlike you have very low power demands during the day. 82% of my usage is off-peak and 10% is partial-peak. My entire electric bill is now less than I was spending on gas for the Prius I had before getting my Model S.
I think you definitely need to put in a solar electric system. Or put in a separate meter for the car and go on the EV2-B plan.

And maybe take public transportation one day a week so you can charge your car from solar power during the day (start 6am, end 3pm)... or charge during the day on weekends... EV rate is midnight to 3pm! Charging at night, you are really utilizing natural gas...
 

gsteele

Member
Sep 5, 2016
82
57
California
And maybe take public transportation one day a week so you can charge your car from solar power during the day (start 6am, end 3pm)... or charge during the day on weekends... EV rate is midnight to 3pm! Charging at night, you are really utilizing natural gas...
Nighttime charging also makes use of hydro-electric, wind-based and nuclear power.
 

eevee-fan

Active Member
Dec 2, 2019
1,334
1,637
Nevada
Nighttime charging also makes use of hydro-electric, wind-based and nuclear power.

Yes, but not enough... see import numbers at night vs day. (look at 1/4/20 yesterday)

California ISO - Supply

It is best to use the energy when generated. On Pie Day (see 3/14/2019), California has had to turn off solar fields or pay Arizona to take the excess power during the daytime. Would be great if there were steady 2GW (2000 MW) demand during that time... 2GW / 7KW = 285,714 EVs charging on L2. :)

upload_2020-1-5_12-2-36.png


upload_2020-1-5_12-2-21.png
 
Last edited:

hezza8

Member
Feb 1, 2019
33
8
San Jose, CA
If you have TOU rates, you should save money. Run your pool during the day while you have solar, before 3pm. Then charge your car after mid night. You should be using the lowest rate all day, except for cooking.
 

IamMark

Member
Dec 31, 2019
51
16
SF Bay Area
I hear you. I lived in San Ramon for many years and compared to the 9 cents per kWh I get here WITHOUT tiers, I was getting robbed in San Ramon by PG&E. I was often in tier 4 for a portion of my electric. I would not have saved any money on my electric bill with a Tesla, but some people down there are probably seeing some savings over gas, depending on their usage of course.

On another note, I also had solar hot water panels high up on a 2 story home so I know what you mean about needing a high pump rpm to get the water up to the panels. HOWEVER, I wonder if you know that you only need that high rpm until the panels are fully primed and then you can lower the rpm to probably half that rate (assuming you have a variable speed programmable pump). The water falling back down to the pool will cause a suction to require less energy from the pump. Example, I would have my pump programmed to prime the panels at full speed (3,000 rpm) for 5 minutes and then able to drop it back to 1800 RPM for the rest of the day. That cuts the pump energy usage to about 1/3 electric draw as compared to full speed.
Thanks for the suggestions. My pool pump is variable speed, and I run it mostly at 2,200 RPM.
 

IamMark

Member
Dec 31, 2019
51
16
SF Bay Area
If you have TOU rates, you should save money. Run your pool during the day while you have solar, before 3pm. Then charge your car after mid night. You should be using the lowest rate all day, except for cooking.
I don't have solar. I'm curious if people without solar are still able to save money over gas.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,201
13,852
West Vancouver, British Columbia
I don't have solar. I'm curious if people without solar are still able to save money over gas.
It depends on what their kW/h price is when they are charging the car at home, which depends on their rate plan, how much electricity they use to power their house, and how much they drive, and which ICE you are comparing that to (its MPG)

My point is there are a lot of variables. I think that most people find that the cost of electricity to charge an EV at home is much less than the cost of gas for a typical ICE. But as you have seen, if you pay a lot per kW/h you may not save money. Or if you compare your EV charging cost at home to a super high MPG ICE like a Prius the cost saving is much less than when you compare it to a big truck or SUV with a much lower MPG.
 
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Eclectic

Member
Nov 8, 2014
773
920
Bay Area & Montana
I don't have solar. I'm curious if people without solar are still able to save money over gas.

We looked into solar, and since we lived in the same area as you, it probably is an apt comparison. Without any storage system, solar was going to run us over $30,000. Just looking on the Tesla site for a Powerall/solar roof price, it's about $60,000. Our electric bill was between $300 to $500 a month when we had the Tesla with EV rates, so even assuming that we would have been able to get a solar system that would have generated 100% of our needs, it would have been a losing bet.

We ended up getting a PHEV to replace the Tesla and our electric bill + gas costs per month were still lower than our electric bill when we had the Tesla. Now that we are in Montana most of the time (where gas is about $1.50 a gallon less than in CA), it's a pretty easy decision to make (to not go EV).
 

Pied

Member
Jul 14, 2018
238
165
Bay Area, CA
I save ~50% vs. driving our 2016 Mazda3 hatchback. Our home electricity use is very low. No AC; stove and heater are gas powered.

We average 500kw per 30 days. 350kw is for the car, the rest is house
 

eevee-fan

Active Member
Dec 2, 2019
1,334
1,637
Nevada
We looked into solar, and since we lived in the same area as you, it probably is an apt comparison. Without any storage system, solar was going to run us over $30,000. Just looking on the Tesla site for a Powerall/solar roof price, it's about $60,000. Our electric bill was between $300 to $500 a month when we had the Tesla with EV rates, so even assuming that we would have been able to get a solar system that would have generated 100% of our needs, it would have been a losing bet.

We ended up getting a PHEV to replace the Tesla and our electric bill + gas costs per month were still lower than our electric bill when we had the Tesla. Now that we are in Montana most of the time (where gas is about $1.50 a gallon less than in CA), it's a pretty easy decision to make (to not go EV).

Can you show us some old bills? This is unbelievable. If that were true, you should have bought a hybrid since PHEV has lower efficiency when in gas power vs hybrid and lower efficiency when in electric vs EV. Were your usage pattern on the Tesla different than the PHEV. It does sound like you were retiring, so is it from less usage when you switched to the PHEV? Cali is $4 gas and probably 16 cents EV rate, you should be saving a lot.

At a neighboring state, my 'fuel cost' dropped from $80 ($3 gas) driving a hybrid to $10 (5-6 cents a KWh EV rate) with a Bolt EV, that has a tad lower efficiency as a Tesla.
 

Eclectic

Member
Nov 8, 2014
773
920
Bay Area & Montana
Can you show us some old bills? This is unbelievable. Were your usage pattern on the Tesla different than the PHEV. It does sound like you were retiring, so is it from less usage when you switched to the PHEV? Cali is $4 gas and probably 16 cents EV rate, you should be saving a lot.

At a neighboring state, my 'fuel cost' dropped from $80 ($3 gas) driving a hybrid to $10 (5-6 cents a KWh EV rate) with a Bolt EV, that has a tad lower efficiency as a Tesla.

Seriously? You're asking me for old PG&E bills? No. and the EV rates were WAY higher than $.16 for the bulk of our use.

I didn't retire (far from it), so there was no change in usage at home.
 

ohmman

Plaid-ish Moderator
Feb 13, 2014
9,992
18,049
North Bay, CA
and the EV rates were WAY higher than $.16 for the bulk of our use.
The EV rates at the time (EV-A) were/are extremely favorable for solar, though. The peak was something like $0.496/kWh, which meant one was feeding the grid at that rate and consuming at $0.12 overnight. I know, because I am still on that plan. My ROI on my 9.5kW system was 5 years, despite being a net consumer of over 1MWh of electricity per annum.
 

Eclectic

Member
Nov 8, 2014
773
920
Bay Area & Montana
The EV rates at the time (EV-A) were/are extremely favorable for solar, though. The peak was something like $0.496/kWh, which meant one was feeding the grid at that rate and consuming at $0.12 overnight. I know, because I am still on that plan. My ROI on my 9.5kW system was 5 years, despite being a net consumer of over 1MWh of electricity per annum.

I haven't followed what has happened with PG&E net metering since we moved. Are they still buying from people with solar at the $.496 rate? That certainly would change the analysis. For us, though, we were using a lot of electricity during the peak periods for a good part of the year due to air conditioning and I really have no idea how you can sell to PG&E while running air conditioning (I never got that deep into the research because the numbers just weren't working).
 

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