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:
Plug-In Electric Vehicle Deployment in the Northeast
by Charles Zhu and Nick Nigro
C2ES wrote a comprehensive literature review on PEVs in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States for the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). Funded through a U.S. Department of Energy grant, the literature review is a comprehensive look at the opportunities and challenges for PEVs in these states relying on the latest research and market data.
Click here to download the report from Georgetown Climate Center’s website.
Statement of Eileen Claussen
President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions
Aug. 28, 2012
This is a win all around - it saves consumers money, reduces dependence on foreign oil, and is the biggest step ever by the United States aimed at reducing carbon emissions.
While Congress remains utterly gridlocked on energy and climate issues, the Obama administration and the auto industry have proven that real progress is still possible. Working together, they've crafted a common-sense solution that taps technological innovation to benefit both the economy and the environment. Credit also goes to the state of California, for paving the way, and to the regulatory flexibility afforded by the Clean Air Act.
This is a victory for climate protection, but only one of the major steps needed to dramatically reduce our carbon emissions. Next we must tackle emissions from power plants and other stationary sources. The climate benefits may not be as easy to see as lower prices at the pump, but are no less real.
Recent extreme weather and the worst drought in half a century illustrate the costly toll of increased warming. Climate change is no longer a prediction - it is here and now. As the costs become more pronounced, we will hopefully see the strong public support and political leadership needed to mobilize an effective across-the-board response.
For more information, view our Federal Vehicle Standards page.
Contact: Laura Rehrmann, 703-516-0621, firstname.lastname@example.org
Since 2011, the PEV Dialogue Group has focused on three challenges – (1) making sure electric vehicle owners can conveniently plug in at home and on the road, (2) safeguarding the reliability of America’s electrical grid; and (3) informing car buyers. The Group’s report, An Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid, provides a roadmap for achieving these objectives.
The Action Plan, released on March 13, 2012, recommends coordinated action by the public and private sectors at the state and local levels 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 electric vehicles.
To meet our climate, energy, and transportation challenges, we must also implement strong fuel economy standards, advance other alternative fuels and technologies, and pursue other policies that help reduce vehicle miles traveled. Electric vehicles are only part of the solution, but potentially, a significant one.
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 electric vehicle 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. We have already executed specific activities (see below) prescribed in the Plan. The following focus areas embody both types of follow-on actions:
- Connect Leaders around the Country: Convene electric vehicle 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 Efforts: Provide strategic advice to state and local electric vehicle planning efforts. Focus on regulatory issues, optimizing public and private investments, and facilitating rollout.
- Driver Behavior Analysis: Conduct research on electric vehicle 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 electric vehicle value proposition and electric vehicle technology.
In this implementation phase, C2ES has been working with the PEV Dialogue Group to implement the Action Plan. C2ES has led and 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.
- October 14, 2014: C2ES publishes first in a series of quarterly updates on the electric vehicle market for the U.S. DOE Clean Cities Program
- April 10, 2014: C2ES, NRDC, UC Davis, and ICCT deliver a report to the 8 states that signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV)
- February 18, 2014: C2ES publishes report, A Guide to the Lessons Learned from the Clean Cities Community Electric Vehicle Readiness Projects
- February 12, 2014: C2ES publishes 4 interactive maps on implementing the PEV Action Plan
- July 10, 2013: C2ES publishes interactive map on California's Zero Emission Vehicle Program
- May 15, 2013: C2ES publishes interactive map on personal travel and PEVs
- January 10, 2013: C2ES publishes PEV Action Tool for state departments of transportation
- December 4, 2012: C2ES and IEDC host workshop on electric vehicles and economic development
- November 11-14, 2012: NARUC passes key resolution to support electric vehicle deployment
- October 29, 2012: PEV Dialogue Group issues public comments on U.S. DOE EV Everywhere program
- September 26, 2012: C2ES releases report on electric vehicle deployment in the Northeast for the Transportation and Climate Initiative
- July 10-11, 2012: C2ES helps the National Governor Associations put on a 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 electric vehicle 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
- March 22, 2012: 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
- March 12, 2012: Listen to a podcast on electric vehicle basics and an overview of the PEV Dialogue Group
Current and Past Projects
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 Vehicle Action Tool
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
June 25-26, 2012 in Raleigh, North Carolina
The City of Raleigh hosted the second workshop C2ES has conducted for a Peer Exchange for State Departments of Transportation on Electric Vehicles. The workshop brought together representatives from each of the eight states participating in the project along with national representatives from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the Federal Highway Administration, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
At the workshop, C2ES introduced a draft of the project’s main product, the PEV Readiness Self-Assessment Tool. An overview of the tool is available in the presentation linked to at the bottom of this page. The remainder of the workshop focused on charging infrastructure issues with sessions titled:
- The Evolution of Action on Electric Vehicles: Stimulus Funding, Jobs, and Changing Leadership
- Who Builds What Where? Roles for Transportation Departments in Charging Infrastructure Deployment
- Sustaining Electric Vehicles and Infrastructure after the Stimulus and through Leadership Change
- Harmonizing PEV Promotion with Transportation Finance Concerns
Download the full workshop agenda. Presentations from the workshop are listed below.
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.
Since publishing the Action Plan, the group has expanded to include other partners that are active in the electric vehicle market. The group continues their collaboration in through the PEV Dialogue Initiative, focusing on implementation of the Action Plan.
- A123 Systems
- Argonne National Laboratory
- Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
- 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*
- 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
- Union of Concerned Scientists
- University of Delaware
- Washington State Department of Transportation
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF)