Electric Vehicles

PEV Electricity Pricing by Time-Of-Use (TOU)

A large amount of surplus electricity-generating capacity is generally available during off-peak hours. To moderate costly fluctuations in power consumption and production throughout the day, utilities could provide a price incentive to encourage electric vehicle owners to charge during off-peak periods. Doing so would lower the cost of integrating the vehicles with the grid and could even lower prices if the average cost of delivering electricity is lowered for all ratepayers. 

One way to encourage off-peak charging is through time-differentiated, or time-of-use (TOU), electricity rates that offer cheaper electricity overnight when demand is low. Many electric utilities offer TOU rates to manage existing grid assets more efficiently.

The PEV Dialogue Group recommends electric utilities offer attractive electricity rates for electric vehicles and encourage off-peak charging in order to accelerate electric vehicle adoption and lower vehicle-grid integration costs.

This map displays states with electric utilities that have adopted TOU rates specifically targeted at electric vehicles. Much of the data comes from the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuel Data Center.

For information about TOU and other electricity rates for most electric utilities, visit the OpenEI website, a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and many others.

Related Reports

  • See the PEV Action Plan for background on the benefits of TOU rates for electric vehicles and the electrical grid.

Related Maps

Last updated: February 11, 2014

PEV-Specific Measures for Transportation Infrastructure Funding

The gap between available transportation funding and what’s needed has been growing nationwide. (See C2ES’s brief on federal transportation reauthorization program for more information.)

States must balance measures to reduce transportation’s effects on the environment, through for example, programs such as electric vehicle incentives, with the need to provide transportation infrastructure funding. Most of this funding comes from user fees including motor fuels taxes. Most of this funding comes from user fees including motor fuels taxes.

Available evidence suggests electric vehicles will have a very small effect on transportation funding in the near term. As a result, the PEV Dialogue Group recommends that states enact revenue collection plans before electric vehicle adoption noticeably affects revenues, when technically feasible, and without stunting the growth of the electric vehicle market.

This map documents activity by states to recover transportation infrastructure revenue from electric vehicles. Much of the data comes from the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuel Data Center.

Related Reports

  • See the PEV Action Tool for more information about activities by state transportation departments to promote electric vehicles and fund transportation infrastructure.


Last updated: February 11, 2014

Fostering Electric Vehicles

Cities and states are building the expertise needed to encourage mass market adoption of electric vehicles. A new C2ES report summarizes the lessons learned from 16 groups that received Energy Department grants to advance the deployment of plug-in electric vehicles in their communities. The report is also a roadmap for accessing the research, toolkits, and other resources in the 16 readiness plans.
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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

Save fuel and look good doing it

A quick glance around this week’s Washington Auto Show might make you wonder if you’ve stepped into the past, with large trucks, SUVs, and sports cars getting all the attention. But look under the hood and you can see the auto industry’s more climate-friendly future.

The cars and trucks of 2014 are lighter, more aerodynamic, and powered by increasingly efficient engines. A key impetus for these improvements is tougher federal fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards. The auto show provides evidence that the industry is working to meet these ambitious standards, and that we can significantly reduce emissions without compromising consumer choice.

One way to improve fuel economy is to make the vehicle lighter. That’s exactly what Ford Motor Company did to the best-selling vehicle in the United States: the F-150. All 2015 Ford F-150s will have an aluminum body and truck bed – shedding 700 pounds while still being able to tow and haul more than the previous generation. That could boost its gas mileage from 20 mpg on the highway for the 2014 model to 30 mpg.

Automakers have increasingly substituted strong, lightweight aluminum for steel in hoods, wheels and other components. The F-150 and Tesla’s aluminum-body Model S show they’re going beyond that.

Another way to increase gas mileage is to improve an engine’s ability to convert fuel (potential energy) to work (kinetic energy). General Motors is making the Corvette Sting Ray for the first time 1976, and the new version is beautiful and efficient. The 2015 Sting Ray is the quickest, most powerful, and most efficient Corvette ever made. The 7-speed V-8 Sting Ray gets up to 29 mpg on the highway. That’s about twice the fuel economy of the ’67 Sting Ray my dad drove when I was a kid.

Federal Surface Transportation Reauthorization

A Primer on Federal Surface Transportation Reauthorization and the Highway Trust Fund

January 2014

by Nick Nigro and Cindy Burbank

Download the full paper (PDF)

For the first 50 years of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF), user fees were sufficient to fund the federal portion of building and maintaining the nation’s transportation system. Limiting fees to actual users of services is seen as a more equitable approach than paying for transportation out of the general fund. For the past decade, however, user fee income to the HTF has not kept pace with federal authorization levels, and Congress has not taken action to increase the level of user fees or decrease federal authorizations to bring the fund’s obligations and revenues into balance.


Cynthia J. Burbank
Nick Nigro

'60 Minutes' story on clean tech omits climate change

A recent "60 Minutes" story highlighted the demise of a few high-profile clean-tech companies that received federal funding. The story neglected to report why clean technology is vital to the future of our economy and environment in the first place, and therefore why it makes sense for the government to promote the development of wind and solar energy, electric vehicles, and other clean tech. Simply put, the goal is to transform our economy from one based on fossil fuels that emit heat-trapping gases to one based on clean energy that won't contribute to global climate change.

Private finance can break down barriers in AFV market

Private finance is playing a critical role in accelerating the deployment of clean energy technologies that will reduce the impacts of our energy use on the global climate. Can some of these innovative financing tools – or new tools – also help spur alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) and fueling infrastructure?

That’s a question we have set out to answer in a new initiative with the National Association of State Energy Officials. As a first step, we’ve explored some of the key barriers in the AFV market that private investment could help address.

States will need coordination, creativity to meet electric vehicle goal

Eight states have given a big boost to zero emission vehicles by agreeing to support putting 3.3 million on the road by 2025. California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont together account for about a quarter of the auto market, so their commitment is significant. 

To reach their goal, these states will need to learn what policies and actions are most effective at driving sales of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs), starting with electric cars.

Two early lessons are evident from our ongoing work in this area: Stakeholder coordination is critical, and creative policy solutions are needed. The memorandum of understanding the governors signed last week will foster an environment for both.

California passes a series of clean transportation laws

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 

In the closing days of September, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a series of bills advancing the state’s clean vehicle initiatives. One law, AB 8, extends funding for many of the state’s vehicle-efficiency programs and mandates increased deployment of hydrogen fueling stations. Additionally, the Governor signed two bills—AB 1092 and SB 454—that each provide for greater, more efficient access to electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. Governor Brown also signed SB 359 and SB 459, which increase funding to rebate programs for low-emission vehicle purchases and upgrades, as well as rebates for early vehicle retirements. Finally, the governor signed AB 266 and SB 286, extending the state’s program to issue special High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) stickers to owners of plug-in hybrids and zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs).

Extension of Clean Vehicle Programs

AB 8 clears the way for 10-year extensions of several clean vehicle rebates enacted by AB 118 in 2007, including the Air Quality Improvement Program and the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The law enables these extensions to clean vehicle programs by authorizing increases to vehicle registration fees and surcharges into 2024. The law further authorizes the California Energy Commission to supersede the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in managing the deployment of 100 new hydrogen-fueling stations over the next 10 years using $20 million annually. The law also provides a new source of funding for the Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program by establishing a new $0.75 surcharge on tire purchases, which is projected to raise $34 million over the next 10years.

Under SB 359, CARB will receive an additional $48 million in 2014 to continue funding monetary incentives administered through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project and the Enhanced Fleet Modernization Program (EFMP). The new law focuses on voluntary trade-ins of high-polluting vehicles by supplying $1,000 rebates to EFMP participants, and $1,500 rebates to EFMP participants with a household income at or below 225 percent of the federal poverty level. SB 459 requires CARB to update EFMP guidelines by June 30, 2015. In doing so, CARB is authorized to increase the value of early vehicle retirement and replacement rebates for low-income participants beyond existing limits of $1,500 and $2,500, respectively.

Development of Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

California’s EV charging infrastructure got a boost from AB 1092 and SB 454. Under AB 1092, the California Building Standards Commission assumes responsibility for mandating the installation of EV charging infrastructure in parking spaces of multifamily and nonresidential buildings in the next California Building Standards Code, slated for adoption in 2014. SB 454 broadens access to EV charging stations by requiring open access to stations without purchasing a subscription or obtaining a membership to an association. Further, SB 454 requires EV charging station operators to accept payment from credit cards or mobile-based payment applications. Both laws fulfill Governor Brown’s Executive Order on March 23, 2013 to facilitate the deployment of 1.5 million ZEVs on the road by 2025.

HOV Sticker Programs

SB 286 extends the state’s HOV sticker program for plug-in hybrid vehicles and ZEVs through 2019. Under SB 286, the HOV sticker program will issue an additional 40,000 “green stickers” to those applicants operating partial-ZEVs, and issue an unlimited amount of “white stickers” to applicants operating vehicles that meet California super ultra-low emission vehicle standard, as well as the national inherently low-emission vehicle (ILEV) evaporative emission standard. 

For more information:
C2ES: Electric Vehicle Policy Brief
C2ES: Electric Vehicle Policy Map
C2ES: PEV Dialogue
Salon: AB 8 Story
Wired: AB 1092 Story
Bloomberg: SB 454 Story

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