One of the target audiences for the PEV Dialogue Group’s Action Plan is undoubtedly the national network of Clean Cities Coalitions, a key group of alternative fuel supporters affiliated with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program. Clean Cities Coalitions engage in on-the-ground activity to facilitate the deployment of alternative fuel vehicles and fueling infrastructure. The Action Plan helps bring these coalitions up to speed on the steps necessary to smooth the introduction of PEVs in their area.
The first of two webinars took place on April 17, 2012 in partnership with U.S. DOE’s Clean Cities and the Rocky Mountain Institute, both members of the PEV Dialogue Group. The second webinar took place on June 20, 2012. Both slide sets are provided below.
PEV Stakeholders Connection Initiative with Argonne National Laboratory and U.S. DOE’s Clean Cities Program
The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Clean Cities Program has been reducing U.S. petroleum consumption for nearly 20 years, and is on track to reduce consumption 2.5 billion gallons per year by 2020. To facilitate the introduction of plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) to the mass market in 2011, Clean Cities has spearheaded a number of efforts through its network of coalitions. In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act enabled Clean Cities to issue grants to fund a number of PEV charging stations. In addition, Clean Cities has been a key member of C2ES’s PEV Dialogue Group since the group’s formation in early 2011. Also in 2011, Clean Cities funded 16 grants for PEV readiness planning in communities in 24 states and the District of Columbia. According to the DOE website:
These one-year projects will help communities address their specific needs, which include updating permitting processes, revising codes, training municipal personnel, promoting public awareness, or developing incentives; and each will create a plan that will be publicly available so that other communities can learn best practices.
Argonne National Laboratory and Clean Cities solicited the help of C2ES to complete a series of projects that complement the existing deployment initiative of PEVs by the Clean Cities Program. These projects aim to leverage C2ES’ efforts related to PEVs, including An Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid.
- Webinar for Clean Cities Coalitions on the PEV Dialogue Group Action Plan
- Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS26) Meeting for Clean Cities
- National Governors Association Workshop on PEVs
More information will be added to this page as work is completed.
March 28-29, 2012 in Berkeley, California
At University of California Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, C2ES conducted the first workshop for a Peer Exchange for State Departments of Transportation on Electric Vehicles in March 2012. The workshop brought together representatives from each state involved in the project along with well-known speakers and participants in the Bay Area. The workshop focused on public policies related to plug-in electric vehicles and opportunities related to fleet procurement. Sessions ranged from the plug-in electric vehicle market and vehicle technology to transportation finance policy.
Download the full workshop agenda. Presentations from the workshop are listed below.
- PEV Dialogue Group's Action Plan, Nick Nigro, C2ES
- Plug-in Electric Vehicle Market Overview, Charles Zhu, C2ES
- Plug-in Electric Vehicle Technology Overview, Nick Nigro, C2ES
- Public Sector Fleet Procurement, Rafael Reyes, Bay Area Climate Collaborative
- Encouraging PEV Adoption through Public Policy and Incentives, Charles Zhu, C2ES
- Opportunities and Barriers in the PEV Market: The Role of Coordinated Action, Roland Hwang, NRDC
- Transportation Tax Policies for Electric Vehicles, Martin Wachs, RAND Corporation
C2ES partnered with eight state transportation departments and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to understand the role of state DOTs in supporting plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) deployment. The states involved in the project are Arizona, California, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. Other states can join the project, known by state DOTs as a “pooled fund study,” at their discretion. Spearheaded by the Washington State Department of Transportation, a PEV Dialogue Group member, the project was a unique effort to exchange information and identify best practices for state DOTs nationwide.
Using the PEV Dialogue Group’s Action Plan as a foundation, C2ES ran peer-exchange workshops with representatives from participating states to develop a PEV ActionTool for state DOTs. The tool helps these important players in the PEV market understand their roles and responsibilities given the unique objectives of different states. For instance, some states may wish to be proactive supporters of PEV deployment, while others may wish to focus on adapting department operations to account for the needs of PEV drivers.
C2ES relied on information exchanged by state transportation officials and the advice of PEV Dialogue Group members and other experts to create the project’s final product. The PEV Action Tool identifies best practices for transportation departments, and helps these departments evaluate their effectiveness at achieving any PEV-related goal for the state.
- Workshop on Policies and Fleets held at University of California Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy
- Working on Charging Infrastructure held at Raleigh Convention Center in Raleigh, North Carolina
- Plug-in Electric Vehcile Action Tool
Released in March 2012, An Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid, created by the PEV Dialogue Group, lays out the steps necessary to integrate PEVs with the electrical grid nationwide. The Action Plan is the first phase of a larger initiative by C2ES aimed at enabling PEV adoption nationwide.
The Action Plan takes a broad look at the challenges related to PEV-grid integration such as a consistent regulatory framework and consumer education. It suggests roles for businesses, electric utilities, government, and NGOs in PEV deployment, and it identifies needed actions for a compatible regulatory framework, public and private investment, PEV rollout, and consumer education. The next phase of this initiative constitutes the implementation of the Action Plan. In many cases, we have already executed specific activities (see below) prescribed in the Plan. In other cases, we are filling in gaps in addressing challenges related to PEV deployment that went beyond the scope of the initial effort. The following focus areas embody both types of follow-on actions:
- Connect PEV Leaders around the Country: Convene PEV leaders to foster state-level action, specific to the needs of transportation agencies and PUCs, through peer exchanges and educational workshops. Be the connective tissue for disparate efforts nationwide to encourage the sharing and development of best practices, and to ensure that actions taken at state and local levels are compatible with each other.
- Advise Individual PEV Efforts: Provide strategic advice to state and local PEV planning efforts. Focus on regulatory issues, optimizing public and private investments, and facilitating rollout.
- Driver Behavior Analysis: Conduct research on PEV driver behavior as it relates to vehicle charging infrastructure needs, grid reliability, transportation system financing, and maximizing electric miles traveled.
- Consumer Education Strategy: Create and promote a web platform to educate consumers on the PEV value proposition and PEV technology.
In this implementation phase, C2ES has been working with the PEV Dialogue Group to implement the Action Plan. C2ES has led an will lead efforts to advocate for implementation of the Action Plan with businesses, stakeholders, and officials at the local, state, and federal levels. The emphasis has been on solutions to key challenges including harmonizing a regulatory framework nationwide, overcoming the consumer information gap, and optimizing public and private investments.
- January 10, 2013: C2ES publishes PEV Action Tool for state departments of transportation
- December 4, 2012: C2ES and IEDC host workshop on PEVs and economic development
- November 11-14, 2012: NARUC passes key resolution to support PEV deployment
- October 29, 2012: PEV Dialogue Group issues public comments on U.S. DOE's EV Everywhere program
- September 26, 2012: C2ES releases report on PEV deployment in the Northeast for the Transportation and Climate Initiative
- July 10-11, 2012: C2ES helps the National Governor Associations put on an PEV workshop in Washington, DC
- June 25-26, 2012: C2ES runs workshop with state transportation departments on charging infrastructure in Raleigh, North Carolina
- June 20, 2012: C2ES hosts second of two webinars on the PEV Action Plan for U.S. DOE Clean Cities Coalitions
- May 7, 2012: C2ES runs workshop for U.S. DOE's Clean Cities Program on challenges and best practices related to PEV deployment at the Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles, California
- April 17, 2012: C2ES and the Rocky Mountain Institute host the first of two webinars on the PEV Action Plan for U.S. DOE Clean Cities Coalitions
- March 28-29, 2012: C2ES runs workshop with state transportation departments on public policy and vehicle fleets in Berkeley, California
Current and Past Projects
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.
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.|
An Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid
Americans purchased almost 18,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) in 2011, a strong first year for these transformative vehicles. Recently, private industry and government have invested valuable resources in developing, promoting, and deploying PEVs. These vehicles offer an uncommon opportunity to address energy security, air quality, climate change, and economic growth. However, market growth is uncertain due to policy, economic, and technical challenges, and other advanced vehicle technology may prove more popular with consumers over time. There are steps that can be taken now, however, to meet some of these challenges and ease adoption of PEVs nationwide. In An Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid, the PEV Dialogue Group lays out some of these critical steps needed to enable a robust national PEV market.
With PEVs’ important opportunities and challenges in mind, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) convened the PEV Dialogue Group—a unique, diverse set of stakeholders composed of leaders from the public and private sectors along with non-governmental organizations. The Group developed an Action Plan to fill gaps in the existing work on PEVs using a consensus process that aimed to optimize public and private investments and avoided favoring certain PEV technology.
|C2ES convened the PEV Dialogue Group in early 2011 to create an Action Plan that identifies many of the steps that would be necessary to integrate PEVs with the electrical grid nationwide.|
The Group believes PEVs could be an important part of the vehicle market in the United States and worldwide if they are given a fair chance to compete with conventional vehicles. The Group identified a series of market-based actions for all stakeholders that foster innovation, minimize public cost, educate consumers, and maintain electrical grid reliability.
The Group began by identifying key challenges and objectives that existing PEV efforts have not addressed adequately, such as integrating PEVs with the electrical grid. The Group did not focus on reducing vehicle upfront cost directly, since federal and state tax credits are already in place. The Group then held a series of face-to-face meetings to hash out the details of the Action Plan over the course of one year. The plan represents a unique and valuable contribution to the national conversation on PEVs by identifying practical steps that policymakers, regulators, local and state officials, private market participants, and others should consider as PEVs become more broadly available in the coming years.
The plan recommends specific actions in four categories summarized below:
- Create a Consistent Regulatory Framework Nationwide: Regulations by state public utility commissions that are compatible across the country can help foster innovation and increase the PEV value proposition while also maintaining the reliability of the electrical grid.
- Optimize Public and Private Investments in Charging Infrastructure: There are opportunities to accelerate private investment, encouraging innovative business models while also acknowledging that PEVs warrant some public investment in charging infrastructure.
- Facilitate PEV Rollout: Connecting stakeholders to provide a satisfactory PEV and electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) purchase and home EVSE installation is a necessary step to seal the deal once a consumer commits to purchasing a PEV.
- Educate Consumers: Explaining the PEV value proposition and bridging the consumer information gap about PEV technology can be accomplished through a combination of cutting-edge online resources and traditional touch-and-feel experiences.
The Action Plan represents Phase I of a larger initiative to pave the way for PEV adoption nationwide by helping level the playing field. Phase II aims to work with stakeholders “on the ground” to go about implementing the Action Plan with leaders across the country.
The table below provides an overview of the Action Plan, which is fleshed out in great detail in the body of the report. Next to each action component are a number of individual actions or the principles for the individual actions. Many activities for these actions can occur concurrently. Businesses, electric utilities, government, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will all play a role in each action component.
Create a Consistent Regulatory Framework Nationwide
Optimize Public & Private Investments of Charging Infrastructure Regarding Location, Amount, & Type
Facilitate PEV Rollout
Create a Consistent Regulatory Framework Nationwide
- Residential & Commercial EVSE Installation: Stakeholders should jointly create a competitive and innovative market for residential and commercial PEV charging services. Decisions by Public Utility Commissions (PUCs), local government, and PEV service providers regarding household EVSE installation should streamline the installation process. Regulations should reflect the local characteristics of markets, potential PEV users, PEV service providers, and electric utilities.
- Residential & Commercial Electricity Rate Structure: Stakeholders should work together to determine electricity rate structures that maintain the reliability of the electrical grid and reward households for charging PEVs at off-peak hours. Rate structures should offer households choices, including options that better reflect the cost of electricity generation.
- Transportation Infrastructure Finance: Stakeholders should work together to determine how PEV owners can pay their fair share of transportation infrastructure maintenance. Permanent or temporary methods should be implemented in a way that does not affect PEV market growth before PEVs have a noticeable impact on tax revenue for a state.
- Vehicle Charging Standards: Voluntary standards bodies should work together, with the assistance of stakeholders, to develop vehicle charging standards and best practices related to the vehicle charging connector, PEV interconnection and communication with the electrical grid, and EVSE installation.
- Protecting Consumer Privacy: Stakeholders should ensure that individual identity is impossible to glean from data collected from EVSE and vehicles released to NGOs, government, and other researchers while also maintaining the usefulness of these data for researchers.
Optimize Public and Private Investments in Charging Infrastructure
- Assess PEV Feasibility: Stakeholders should cooperatively develop a method to assess the suitability of deploying PEVs in a geographic area and share this information with area governments.
- Estimate Charging Equipment and Infrastructure Needs: Stakeholders should collaborate to estimate charging equipment and infrastructure needs in a geographic area based on the expected PEVs in an area, travel patterns, and area geography.
- Estimate the Extent of Public Investment in EVSE: Stakeholders should work together to estimate the amount of public investment in an area that is appropriate to overcome existing market deficiencies.
Facilitate PEV Rollout
Expedite EVSE Home Installation: Stakeholders should design an expedited EVSE home installation process. A locality can speed up permitting and inspection processes to reduce overall installation time. Localities can also promote training, best practices as identified by early-action cities, and guidelines for electrical contractors. PUCs and electric utilities should provide assistance when creating this process to ensure regulatory compliance. Steps should also be taken to encourage utility notification about EVSE installation.
- Remove Market Barriers for EVSE Service Providers: Stakeholders should cooperatively remove local and state market barriers for PEV service providers. Legal and regulatory hurdles that prevent a PEV service provider from competing in an area could exist. PEV service providers should identify local and state barriers that prevent them from introducing their product in a market. They should work together with automakers, PUCs, and local and state government to clear those barriers and facilitate new market introduction. Local and state government should encourage the training of inspectors and electrical contractors on all aspects of EVSE installation. Face-to-face meetings between PEV service provider representatives and government officials can begin this process.
- Create Tools to Help Consumers Understand PEV Value Proposition: The value proposition PEVs provide includes tangible operational cost savings such as lower fuel and maintenance costs throughout the vehicle’s lifetime. In the short term, however, consumers may find non-financial benefits more valuable, like the driving experience or the statement driving a PEV conveys. Since consumers attain most of their information about vehicles online, stakeholders should cooperate on unbiased web tools that accurately communicate the PEV value proposition.
- Close the PEV Technology Information Gap: The focus of an effort to close the technology information gap should be to increase PEV publicity, develop web tools on PEV technology, and improve stakeholder outreach. Stakeholders should develop engaging and sophisticated web tools to educate consumers about the difference between PEVs, other alternative vehicles, and conventional vehicles. While consumers obtain most of their information about vehicles online, there is no replacing test drives and other valuable hands-on experiences.
Consumers will ultimately decide whether PEVs will succeed or not in the vehicle marketplace. The inaugural year indicates there is strong consumer interest, but the number of early adopters and the ability of PEVs to reach the mainstream consumer are still uncertain. The benefits PEVs provide warrant action by relevant stakeholders to level the playing field in order to provide a fair chance for these vehicles to compete with conventional vehicles. Implementing the steps laid out in the PEV Dialogue Group’s Action Plan will enable a more viable transition to a nationwide PEV market.
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions convened the PEV Dialogue Group. The original group assembled the Action Plan collaboratively. Each group member participated by providing valuable input that was instrumental in shaping the Action Plan. The Plan’s recommendations reflect the input from the group as a whole, not necessarily those of individual organizations.
The group has expanded to include other partners that are active in the PEV market. The group continues their collaboration in Phase II of the PEV Deployment Initiative, focusing on Action Plan implementation.
- A123 Systems
- Argonne National Laboratory
- Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
- Better Place
- Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
- City of Raleigh
- U.S. Department of Energy
- Edison Electric Institute (EEI)
- Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA)
- Electrification Coalition
- Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI)
- General Electric
- General Motors
- Georgetown Climate Center
- Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission*
- Johnson Controls Inc.
- Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
- Michigan Public Service Commission*
- National Wildlife Federation
- North Carolina Department of Transportation
- Northeast Utilities System
- Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
- NRG Energy
- PJM Interconnection
- Rockefeller Brothers Fund
- Rocky Mountain Institute
- Southern California Edison
- U.S. Department of Transportation
- University of Delaware
- Washington State Department of Transportation
A lot has changed in the two years since I made my first visit to the Washington Auto Show. Back then, gas prices averaged $2.68 per gallon and the Nissan LEAF looked like a “car of the future” compared to the other vehicles on the showroom floor. Now, prices at the pump are 25 percent higher, averaging $3.50 per gallon in 2011, and fuel costs are eating up the largest share of the average American’s income in over 30 years. Meanwhile, the auto industry is adapting their product line to their new environment and cooperating more closely with regulators. The 2012 auto show includes many more alternative vehicles like the all-electric Ford Focus (see picture below) and the Prius V, a 42 mile per gallon hybrid station wagon.