Reason for action
Innovative technologies have the potential to increase the PEV value proposition, but are only in their infancy. The DOT could help companies and research labs commercialize new products. Spotlight: V2G, or vehicle-to-grid technologies, could be piloted on DOT fleet vehicles or DOT-financed charging stations. V2G allow electric vehicles to provide electrical grid services such as frequency regulation, which could improve a PEV’s TCO. Leaders in V2G development include the University of Delaware and Lawrence Berkeley National Labs. Spotlight: Wireless charging could be implemented at curbside parking spaces or along stretches of highway. Leaders in the field include Siemens, Qualcomm, and Evatran. Wireless charging includes stationary wireless charging, which charges stationary vehicles, and mobile wireless charging, which can charge a vehicle as it moves.
Implementing the action
- Establish relationships with automaker research divisions, universities, national labs, and companies conducting innovative research on V2G and other PEV-related technology.
- Revisit Action 1.4 Articulate public value, objectives, and a PEV plan of action. There may not be a precedent for DOT to pilot new technologies. As such, articulating what public value comes from piloting new electrification technologies is crucial. Spotlight: California’s DOT regularly works with automakers to test prototype vehicles and new vehicles because California has the largest vehicle market in the country. The DOT works on new technologies because California’s transportation system must be equipped to handle them before new technologies can enter the national market.
- Revisit Action 2.8 Incorporate PEVs into DOT planning process. Commercialization of these technologies may be within the timespan of long-range transportation plans, even if they may not be deployed on a mass scale in the near term. Spotlight: Connecticut DOT’s Long Range Transportation Plan gave a vision of Connecticut’s transportation system up to 2035.
- Obtain an in-depth understanding of the electric utility and public utility commission’s perspective on transportation electrification. By piloting new PEV technologies, transportation departments may have to understand more about the electrical grid. Transportation electrification is also becoming relevant across modes, making a closer working relationship with utilities even more important. Spotlight: States have actively worked to electrify truck rest stops so tractor-trailers can use electricity instead of running their engines overnight.
- Build partnerships with utilities and public utility commissions. Transportation departments can stay ahead of the electrification curve by partnering with electric utilities to explore the challenges and opportunities associated with transportation electrification. The DOT can start relationships with utilities and public utility commissions by creating clear communication channels (see Action 2.1).