electric vehicles

Firsthand lessons on public charging for EVs

Description: C:\Users\Nick\SkyDrive\Pictures\2014\2014-09_Labor_Day_Weekend\20140828_092039_Android.jpg

My ride for the weekend: BMW’s first mass-produced all-electric vehicle.

Washington, D.C., is well-situated for day trips with mountains, forests, beach and bay all a short drive away. On a recent weekend, I was lucky enough to tool around in style. BMW lent me their new electric car – the i3 – and asked that I race it around the DC metro region. (Or perhaps that’s just how I heard them.)

The car handles beautifully the way you’d expect a BMW to, and proves there’s no performance tradeoff by going with an electric vehicle (EV). For most drivers, EVs like the i3 can accommodate daily driving needs. The average American only travels 30 miles per day. In particular, EVs are well suited for commuting because a driver can charge at home or the workplace. But day-tripping with an EV can take more planning and I learned firsthand that a robust public charging network is essential if EVs are to make more headway in the marketplace.

At C2ES, we often cite the importance of public charging stations to extend the range of EVs and give drivers confidence that an EV is a practical replacement for their conventional car. To allow EV drivers to travel as they would with a gasoline car, quick charging stations are needed along major roadways. Multiple, slower charging stations (referred to as Level 2) should be at key destinations to provide redundancy in case stations are in use or down for maintenance. Those are some of the conclusions of our new paper assessing the public charging infrastructure in Washington state and the same can be said of Washington, D.C.

Getting to Prince William Forest Park from Southwest DC. A is where I live, B is the park, and C is where I charged on the way home.

Description: C:\Users\Nick\SkyDrive\Pictures\2014\2014-09_Labor_Day_Weekend\20140831_155139_Android.jpg

Charging at the Kohl’s in Woodbridge was really easy.

My trips were limited by two factors. First, I had no access to home charging since I park on the street, so I couldn’t start my trip with a full charge. Second, the i3 can travel 80-100 miles on a single charge, so I would need to charge during my trip. Since no provider has installed quick chargers that support the i3, I had to rely on Level 2 charging stations, which provide about 20 miles of range per hour of charging.

I relied on ChargePoint’s smartphone app for a map of all area charging stations, even those not on ChargePoint’s network. I easily found a hiking spot with charging nearby and headed to Prince William Forest Park. (Request to Catoctin Mountain Park: Please install a charging station.) The 75-mile trip was a straight shot down Interstate 95. The park did not have a charging station, although the ranger told me he’d love to see one there and said he’d try to push for it.

Since I needed to charge for about an hour to get home, I used ChargePoint’s app to find a spot along the way at the Kohl’s in Woodbridge, Virginia. Many retail locations are installing charging stations to attract EV drivers and spur new business. Although the charging experience was great – I did some shopping and grabbed a bite to eat -- I have to admit I was nervous as I arrived at Kohl’s with only about 10 miles of range left. If the station had been occupied or unavailable, I might have been stuck.

On my second trip of the weekend, I headed to Annapolis to check out the U.S. Naval Academy (worth going if you haven’t been). Once again, ChargePoint’s app helped me find a charging station at a public garage, right near the Maryland State House. About an hour into the charge, I received an email from the charging station telling me there was a ground fault! The charging stopped and I headed back to the car to see what was going on. There was no other station in the garage for me to use, but luckily, one hour of juice was all I needed.

My experience with the i3 offers some real-life lessons about what’s needed for EVs in the near term. The cars are great, and they can accommodate the daily driving needs of most people. A lack of public charging infrastructure, however, limits how far EV drivers can travel. The availability of charging at key destinations and along major roadways is essential to a successful EV market.

Applying the Energy Service Company Model to Advance Deployment of Fleet Natural Gas Vehicles and Fueling Infrastructure

Applying the Energy Service Company Model to Advance Deployment of Fleet Natural Gas Vehicles and Fueling Infrastructure

June 2014

by Matt Frades

Download the full paper (PDF)

This paper explores the opportunity for using ESCO-style service contracts to advance investment in natural gas vehicles by fleets. Starting with a brief overview of the ESCO market, this paper explains how ESCOs reduce barriers faced by energy efficiency and cost savings projects, presents case studies that demonstrate how some of the features of ESCOs are being employed in cutting-edge NGV fleet projects, and explores how these features could be incorporated into innovative business models that reduce the barriers to NGV fleet project investment. 

 

Matt Frades
0

Alternative Fuel Vehicle & Fueling Infrastructure Deployment Barriers & the Potential Role of Private Sector Financial Solutions

Alternative Fuel Vehicle & Fueling Infrastructure Deployment Barriers & the Potential Role of Private Sector Financial Solutions

April 2014

by Sarah Dougherty and Nick Nigro

Download the full paper (PDF)

This paper examines how private financing can address the barriers to demand facing electric, natural gas, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and their related fueling infrastructure. Starting with a review of the state of the market, it covers significant barriers to market demand and barriers for private investors and concludes with a review of innovative finance options used in other sectors that could be applied to the alternative fuel vehicle market.

 

Nick Nigro
0

Guide to the Lessons Learned from the Clean Cities Community Electric Vehicle Readiness Projects


Guide to the Lessons Learned from the Clean Cities Community Electric Vehicle Readiness Projects

February 2014

by Matt Frades

Download the full paper (PDF)

This report for the U.S. Department of Energy summarizes the lessons learned from 16 government, educational and nonprofit groups that received grants to advance the deployment of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). Participants in projects across 24 states and the District of Columbia assessed the barriers to and opportunities for PEV deployment in their regions and prepared and executed readiness plans. The report is designed to be an accessible primer to the key issues in PEV deployment and a roadmap to the detailed research, toolkits, and sample language for local policies contained in the readiness plans.

 

 

Matt Frades
0

Electric vehicle consumers - beyond early adopters

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) in the United States nearly doubled last year—and with consumer acceptance broadening, sticker prices dropping, new models on the way, and policy support growing, the outlook is even better for 2014.  

In 2013, EVs increased their market share by 70 percent from 2012 levels, while all-vehicle sales grew 8 percent to reach a six-year high. Still, EV sales continue to lag forecasts made when these cars hit the market in late 2010, accounting for less than 1 percent of new light-duty vehicle sales. The strong growth in vehicle sales is mostly due to rising sales of gas-guzzling pickup trucks.

Optimism for EV market expansion is warranted, however, not only due to steady sales growth but also due to three key developments in 2013.

Colorado passes tax incentives to support electric vehicle adoption

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 
0

On May 15, 2013, two new pieces of legislation to lower financial barriers to using plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) were passed into law in Colorado by Governor John Hickenlooper. Financial incentives play an important role in keeping PEVs competitive in the automobile market.

House Bill 1247, called the Innovative Motor Vehicle Income Tax Credit, secures state tax credits up to $6000 for electric vehicle purchasers or lessees until 2021, which would have otherwise expired in 2015. The bill specifically covers any EV that can be recharged from external sources, including plug-in hybrids. The bill also covers vehicles that are converted into PEVs, which are eligible for a tax incentive of $7500. This law will take effect in January 2014.

House Bill 1110, called the Special Fuel Tax & Electric Vehicle Fee, establishes a flat, annual fee of $50 for the registration of each plug-in electric vehicle. Sixty percent of the fee replaces the revenue not collected from gasoline taxes and goes toward road and highway maintenance, while the other forty percent funds electric vehicle infrastructure such as charging stations. Colorado’s PEV fee as established by HB 1100 is low compared to those considered by other states, which are around $100 or calculated based on mileage and do not fund PEV infrastructure. This law will take effect in January 2014.

According to Denver Clean Cities, as of July 2012, there were almost 1,300 registered PEVs and around 70 charging public charging stations in the state. However, this number is likely to grow because Colorado is relatively generous with policies supporting electric vehicles.

According to one source, Colorado is the leading state in the region when it comes to PEV policy. A state government report card from Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP) awarded Colorado with a grade of “A-” for its twelve policies that support electric vehicle adoption, including the two laws mentioned above. Colorado does not fare quite as well as California, however, which would earn an “A+” under SWEEP’s methodology because of its major commitment to install fast-charging stations along highway corridors and for 15% of cars sold in the state by 2025 to be plug-in electric vehicles.

 

For more information:

C2ES: Common Concerns about EV Policy
C2ES: PEV State of Play and PEV Literature Review
C2ES: Powering More Travel with Electricity Map
C2ES: PEV Dialogue
plugincars: Colorado Extends $6,000 Plug-in Vehicle Credit Through 2021

State Transportation Officials Meet in Raleigh to Pave Way for Plug-in Electric Vehicles

Press Release
June 25, 2012

Contact: Rebecca Matulka, 703-516-0621, matulkar@c2es.org
 

State Transportation Officials Meet in Raleigh to Pave Way for Plug-in Electric Vehicles
 

Transportation officials from eight states are meeting today and tomorrow in Raleigh to develop state-level strategies for accelerating the deployment of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs).

The two-day workshop is being co-organized by the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) as part of a broader effort with industry, environmentalists, and policymakers to advance PEVs nationwide. The workshop is being hosted by the city of Raleigh at the Raleigh Convention Center. Speakers include North Carolina Transportation Secretary Gene Conti and Raleigh Mayor Pro Tem Russ Stephenson.

Officials from Arizona, California, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin and from the U.S. Department of Transportation will examine how state transportations departments can help ensure the smooth introduction of the new infrastructure needed for charging electric vehicles. Other participants include representatives of Raleigh and other cities taking the lead on introducing PEVs.

“PEVs are a transformative technology—they offer us a way reduce both our reliance on imported oil and our carbon footprint,” said Judi Greenwald, C2ES’s vice president for technology and innovation. “But to realize this potential, a broad range of stakeholders and policymakers will need to work together. We’re very pleased to be working with these states and others to help make sure that happens.”

"Our goal for this project is to not only help DOTs define their role with respect to electric vehicles, but to create a community of practice so that we can learn from each other and share resources as this rapidly evolving technology comes into the market," said Jeff Doyle, director of public/private partnerships at the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The Raleigh workshop will lead to a new “self-assessment” tool to help state transportation planners understand PEV needs in their states and develop cost-effective strategies to meet them. It follows a similar workshop in March at the University of California, Berkeley.

The workshop is part of a broader C2ES initiative implementing the recommendations of its PEV Dialogue Group, which includes automakers, electric utilities, policy makers, environmental groups and others. In March, the group released An Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid, which outlines steps to safeguard grid reliability while ensuring that PEV owners can plug in at home and on the road.  Washington State and Raleigh both participate in the PEV Dialogue Group.

C2ES is also working with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program to help communities across the country assess PEV-related needs such as revising codes and updating permitting processes to smooth the installation of residential and commercial charging stations.

Some PEVs such as the Nissan Leaf run exclusively on rechargeable batteries; others such as the GM Volt couple batteries with gasoline engines that extend their range to that of a conventional vehicle. More than 30,000 PEVs have been sold in the United States since January 2011. Nearly 10 companies now have PEVs on the road, and over the next year or two, all of the major automakers plan to offer them.

More information on this project and the PEV Dialogue Group Initiative is available at www.c2es.org/initiatives/pev.

###

About C2ES
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent non-profit, non-partisan organization promoting strong policy and action to address the twin challenges of energy and climate change. Launched in November 2011, C2ES is the successor to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, long recognized in the United States and abroad as an influential and pragmatic voice on climate issues. C2ES is led by Eileen Claussen, who previously led the Pew Center and is the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.

Join Us 3/20 at 1 pm ET for a Live Chat: Plugging Electric Vehicles into the U.S. Grid

While Americans bought nearly 18,000 PEVs last year, 2012 is the first full year when plug-in electric vehicles will be available nationwide. The long-term success of PEVs could bring some very real benefits to energy security, air quality, climate change, and economic growth.

Eileen Claussen's remarks at Electric Vehicles: Plugging into the U.S. Grid Event

Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us. I’m Eileen Claussen, President of C2ES, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. Some of you may have known us until recently as the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

Judging from recent headlines, and from what you hear on the campaign trail, the biggest energy challenge facing America today is the rising price of a gallon of gas. And indeed, for many Americans, this is a genuine concern. But the reality – as I suspect you all know – is that there is virtually nothing that anyone at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue can do in the near term to bring prices down. Oil moves in a global market, and as long as oil remains a mainstay of our economy, we will be subject to its gyrations. 

So the only real answer is to end our dependence on oil -- which of course is easier said than done. Even with our best possible efforts, weaning ourselves from oil will take not years, but decades -- which is all the more reason to get started on it right now.

We’re here today to talk about one part of the solution: plug-in electric vehicles. With PEVs, we now have a mass-produced alternative to the internal combustion engine. Depending on the model, PEVs either use no oil at all, or use it very sparingly. And, as they insulate their owners from rising gas prices, PEVs can deliver a whole range of other benefits as well. 

By reducing our reliance on imported oil, they enhance our energy security. When they’re running on their batteries – which is all or most of the time -- they produce no tailpipe emissions, and that reduce local air pollution. If we can make real headway in decarbonizing our electricity supplies, PEVs can play a very significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And they present a genuine opportunity to put American industries and workers out front on a truly transformative technology.

So there are lots of reasons to like PEVs. And thanks in part to some help from Washington – including tax incentives enacted under the Bush administration, and investments under President Obama’s stimulus package – these cars are now in the showrooms and on the road. In their first year on the market, PEVs sold 50 percent better than hybrids did when they were first introduced. Nearly 10 companies already have models on the road, and over the next year or two, all of the major automakers will be offering them. 

As GM can tell you, the PEV pathway is not without its bumps. But the same was certainly true for the internal combustion engine – and for so many other game-changing technologies that we now take for granted. For PEVs to take off – for them to truly deliver on their promise – we need to ramp up the effort. From the federal government, we need more support on the R&D side, in particular. But the real nuts-and-bolts challenges faced by PEVs are well outside Washington – and for the most part, so are the solutions. So that is where we at C2ES have chosen to focus our efforts.

It’s fairly obvious, I suppose, that if plug-in electric vehicles are to succeed, they need someplace to plug in. And creating that infrastructure – connecting plug-ins to the grid – involves a lot of different parties. It’s not just the consumers and carmakers. You need the electric utilities, which means you also need the state public utility commissions. You need the companies that make batteries and charging stations. You need people thinking about this from an environmental perspective. And you need them all working together.

That’s where we thought we could help. One year ago we convened the PEV Dialogue Group to bring together all of these interests. We said, let’s come up with a plan we can all agree on. And today, we are thrilled to be sharing with you the product of those efforts – An Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid. A little later in the program, Judi Greenwald will give you a more detailed overview of the plan. In a nutshell, the plan provides a roadmap for coordinated action by the public and private sectors at the state and local level to ensure that PEV owners have a place to plug in – that they can conveniently charge their cars at home and on the road, without in any way compromising the reliability of the grid. It recommends ways to harmonize regulatory approaches across the country; balance public and private investments in charging infrastructure; and help consumers understand the benefits and choices offered by PEVs. 

As I said earlier, we see this as just one part of the solution. On the transportation front, we need to keep pushing ahead with stronger fuel economy standards, and we need to be advancing other alternative fuels and technologies. At C2ES, for instance, we’re also looking at the options presented by natural gas. 

But at a time of economic struggle, fiscal crisis and political gridlock, I believe this effort is an encouraging example of how we can and must make progress. Much as I would like to see comprehensive solutions to our climate and energy challenges, those don’t appear to be on the immediate horizon. But if we come at these issues one by one, look for opportunities where interests converge, and are open to compromise, we can arrive at practical solutions benefiting our economy and our environment. 

This same approach delivered another success two weeks ago, when we announced recommendations from a coalition of industry, state, labor and environmental leaders to boost domestic oil production while reducing CO2 emissions. Another win-win. The opportunities are there, if only we seize them.

I want to thank all the members of PEV Dialogue Group for the hard work and dedication that brought us to this moment. 

 

Time for Some Action on PEVs

It’s been over a year since we assembled the Plug-in Electric Vehicle (PEV) Dialogue to work on the major market barriers to PEVs nationwide. Yesterday, we released the first product of this diverse and important group – An Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electric Grid.

We’ve talked in the past about how policies like fuel economy standards and technologies like PEVs, fuel cells, and advanced internal combustion engines are the key to reducing oil consumption and the impact our travel has on our environment. PEVs could play an important role in that effort, but only if they’re given a fair shot.

C2ES's Nick Nigro interviews PEV Dialogue members, Watson Collins of Northeast Utilities and Zoe Lipman of National Wildlife Federation, about the PEV Action Plan. Listen to the podcast now.

Syndicate content