Electric Vehicles

Powering More Travel with Electricity

Source: http://www.afdc.energy.gov/locator/stations/ (as of June 2014), http://nhts.ornl.gov/tables09/ae/work/Job27748.html


The transportation sector is the source of more than a quarter of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. One way to reduce these emissions is to increase the number of electric cars (as long as the cars use relatively low-carbon electricity). But policymakers, car makers and sellers, and consumers all need a better idea of where an electric car, and the infrastructure needed to accommodate it, can best meet consumers’ needs.

In the map above, C2ES put together two sets of data to show places where driving patterns would indicate that most trips could be powered entirely on the battery power of an all-electric, plug-in hybrid or extended range electric car.

One of the map’s layers shows the concentration of charging stations throughout the country in green (the darker the green, the more charging stations). The U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center provides a nationwide database of publicly available electric vehicle charging stations. The number of charging stations is one indicator of a geographic area’s electric car “readiness.”  

The map’s other layer shows the distance traveled for 85 percent or more total trips taken by all drivers in a metropolitan area. You can click on any of the regions to see the share of trips that are less than 10, 20, and 30 miles. Note that this information is not based on drivers’ average trip length, but on an estimate of total trips by all drivers.  The Federal Highway Administration’s National Household Travel Survey provides information on the length of trips for all travelers by metropolitan statistical area, which is a geographic region with a high degree of social and economic integration. (Not all metropolitan statistical areas were covered in the survey.)

The mileage chosen (10, 20, and 30 miles) corresponds well to the plug-in hybrid or extended range electric cars on the market today. The Chevy Volt has an electric range of more than 30 miles, the Ford C-MAX Energi has an electric range of about 20 miles, and the Toyota Prius Plug-in has about a 10-mile electric range. Each of these vehicles also has a gasoline engine for longer trips. Importantly, every all-electric car available today offers more than 30 miles of range.

There are a number of takeaways from this map. First, every all-electric car on the market today can accommodate more than 85 percent of all trips in all of these regions, as can the extended range electric Chevy Volt. This information might help ease consumers’ “range anxiety” about driving an all-electric vehicle (the fear of running out of juice). It also means Volt drivers can electrify most of their trips while still enjoying the benefits of having a gasoline engine available whenever they need it. Second, most charging stations are concentrated in densely populated areas with a notable exception around New Orleans, which also happens to be the only metropolitan statistical area surveyed where 85 percent or more trips are less than 10 miles.

The data from the National Household Travel Survey indicates Americans in our most populated areas could electrify trips without moving to fully electric vehicles. If the share of electric trips can approach 100 percent, it becomes much easier for drivers to find an alternative solution for other trips, making a transition to all electric vehicles more likely. One of the keys is how drivers handle their other trips. Will they rely on gasoline in their extended range or plug-in hybrid cars, mass transit, a private bus, or another conventional car? It’s also very important to consider the miles traveled powered by different fuel types in order to measure greenhouse gas emissions and oil use in the aggregate. Electric trips, however, are a great way to look at the transition to alternative fuel vehicles without replacing conventional technology outright.

Interactive Maps

C2ES’s interactive map series for electric vehicles provides information on the status of implementing the PEV Dialogue Group’s Action Plan and the state of the electric vehicle market.

Implementing the Action Plan Maps

Other Electric Vehicle Market Maps

American Planning Association Conference in Chicago

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 
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Nick Nigro speaks about electric vehicles.

Nick Nigro speaks about electric vehicles.

C2ES Interactive Tool Helps State Transportation Officers Support Electric Vehicles

Press Release

January 17, 2013

Contact: Laura Rehrmann, rehrmannl@c2es.org, 703-516-0621

C2ES interactive tool helps state transportation officers support electric vehicles

WASHINGTON, D.C. – With thousands of new electric vehicles hitting the road each month, state transportation departments need to know how to integrate these transformative vehicles into the systems they manage.

That’s why the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions has developed an interactive Plug-in Electric Vehicle Action Tool, which guides state transportation officials through a variety of possible actions to foster an electric vehicle market in their state.

The tool, which C2ES developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Transportation and eight state transportation departments, was unveiled this week at the Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting attended by more than 11,000 transportation professionals.

Using the tool’s Actions Map, state transportation officials can chart a path, from determining their goals for plug-in electric vehicle deployment to implementing new programs and policies. The tool helps officials answer such questions as:  What should be the state’s role in deploying charging stations? What’s the best way to explain the public benefits of electric vehicles? How can we build consensus with stakeholders for action?

The tool is also a resource for learning about plug-in electric vehicles and best practices from other state agencies. Many of the suggested actions and resources are also applicable to other state agencies and local governments.

Electric vehicles offer a transformative opportunity to address energy security, air quality, climate change, and economic growth. Sales for electric vehicles rose 200 percent from 2011 to 2012. But sustained growth is needed to fully realize their benefits.

“State transportation departments are playing an important role in defining public policy that can support electric vehicle deployment,’’ said Judi Greenwald, Vice President of Technology and Innovation at C2ES. “The PEV Action Tool provides them with all the necessary information on what actions they can take – whether their state is just getting started or leading the way.”

Initially spearheaded by Washington State Department of Transportation, the project also included the state DOTs from Arizona, California, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

"We're very pleased the toolkit is now available to colleagues in transportation departments around the nation,’’ said Jeff Doyle, Director of Public/Private Partnerships for Washington State Department of Transportation. “We focused on making this tool relevant and useful to all states, not just those already involved in supporting electric vehicles."

For more information on the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Action Tool: http://www.c2es.org/pev-action-tool

About C2ES
The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan 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.

Plug-in Electric Vehicle Action Tool

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The PEV Action Tool helps state departments of transportation determine their goals for plug-in electric vehicle deployment and to chart out a path for reaching those goals. The Action Tool is also a resource for learning about plug-in electric vehicles and best practices from other state agencies. Although state departments of transportation are the primary audience, many of the suggested actions and resources in the tool are applicable to other public entities such as local governments and other state agencies.
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Plug-in Electric Vehicle Action Tool

Plug-in Electric Vehicle Action Tool

January 2013

by Charles Zhu and Nick Nigro

Download the full report (PDF)

Explore the interactive version of the PEV Action Tool

The Plug-in Electric Vehicle Action Tool is the synthesis of 2 workshops as well as research conducted by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). The PEV Action Tool helps state departments of transportation determine their goals for plug-in electric vehicle deployment and to chart out a path for reaching those goals. The PEV Action Tool is also a resource for learning about plug-in electric vehicles and best practices from other state agencies. Although state departments of transportation are the primary audience, many of the suggested actions and resources in the tool are applicable to other public entities such as local governments and other state agencies. 

 

 

Charles Zhu
Nick Nigro
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NARUC Passes Key Resolution to Support PEV Deployment

November 11-14, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland

As exemplified in the PEV Action Plan, creating a consistent regulatory framework is necessary to enable a national plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) market. The framework includes electricity regulatory policy related to charging infrastructure providers, electric utilities, and consumers. The framework in the PEV Action Plan also includes recommendations regarding transportation infrastructure policy and industry standards.

The key bodies to engage on electricity regulation are the state Public Utility Commissions and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). NARUC can help set direction for states that are looking at regulatory reform, especially as it relates to alternative fuel vehicles. Ahead of its November 2012 meeting, C2ES along with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Governors Association participated in a webinar with public utility commissioners and related stakeholders on the importance of a regulatory framework for the alternative fuel market, including PEVs and natural gas vehicles.

At its meeting in Baltimore, NARUC took an important step toward creating this critical regulatory framework with passage of resolution that is compatible with the PEV Action Plan. The resolution aims to expand the alternative fuel vehicle market through regulatory reform and other related actions. Highlights from the resolution include:

  • NARUC urged state and federal regulators to collaborate with other policymakers to remove barriers to alternative fuel vehicle deployment and ensure consistent, fuel-neutral policies to help realize the full economic, environmental, and societal benefits of these vehicles.
  • NARUC supports policies that maintain the integrity of the utility system and design of innovative rate programs or incentives to maximize customer savings.
  • NARUC believes third-party providers of fueling and charging services that purchase power or fuel from a regulated public utility or other competitive energy supplier to provide to the public should not be considered public utilities and therefore not regulated as such.
  • NARUC supports a competitive AFV marketplace, where utility companies, businesses, governments, and third-party service providers are able to participate in the owning, leasing, operating, or maintenance of charging or fueling equipment.

The entire resolution can be found online here

C2ES and IEDC host workshop on PEVs and economic development

December 4, 2012 in Arlington, Virginia

PEVs help mitigate the effects of U.S. reliance on imported oil, and can help position the United States to compete in the global clean energy industry. With those facts in mind, the International Economic Development Council (IEDC), a Washington-based group that represents economic developers worldwide, asked C2ES to help put on a workshop that would bring PEV industry leaders and economic developers to the table in order to identify ways the two groups can collaborate on PEV deployment.

The workshop included nearly 40 participants and covered a broad array of topics on the PEV market as it relates to economic development. At the end of day, it was clear PEVs could play a notable role in spurring economic development for a variety of reasons (e.g., creating auto-related jobs,  and powering vehicles with domestic electricity to keep more money in the U.S. economy). It was also clear that more work between the PEV industry and the economic development community is necessary for cities, states, and regions to realize these benefits.

The workshop agenda can be viewed here

PEV Dialogue Group Responds to DOE Request for Public Comment

On August 28, 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) issued a request for public comment on the framing document for its EV Everywhere Grand Challenge. On October 29, 2012, the PEV Dialogue Group submitted comments, which are available for download at the bottom of this page. The Group believes EV Everywhere is highly ambitious, but appropriate initiative for DOE to undertake. Stakeholders look to leaders like DOE to set national priorities, especially those related to technology development and deployment. Through its network, including Clean Cities Coalitions and National Laboratories, the DOE has the expertise and resources necessary to take on our environmental and security challenges, especially those that require a long-term commitment.

The PEV Dialogue Group would like to help the U.S. Department of Energy to design and implement the EV Everywhere program in any way we can. The Group offers its expertise both collectively and individually to the EV Everywhere program if further questions arise.

Patience and policy needed on drive toward sustainability

I recently responded to a question on the National Journal blog, "What 's holding back electric cars?"

You can read more on the original blog post and other responses at the National Journal.

Here is my response:

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