MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Xcel Energy is rolling out a new pilot program in Minnesota aiming to increase interest in electric vehicles.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved the pilot program Thursday.

The utility's program includes a "smart charger'' that doesn't require customers to install a second electrical meter, which can be a costly venture. It'll be limited to 100 customers.

The company adopted a 40 percent discount rate for its electric vehicles in 2015, but other expenses continued to deter customers.

Only 150 customers are enrolled in the discount program, which requires customers to purchase a second meter. Most customers elected to pay the more expensive standard rate instead of installing a second meter.

Xcel estimates that there are about 5,700 electric vehicles in its service area.