Electric Vehicles

Public policy, private investment needed to keep EV market growing in 2015

Sales of electric vehicles (EVs) were up 25 percent last year, and automakers are looking to boost sales further in 2015 with new and updated models. Clearly, EVs have moved beyond their infancy. But continued growth in the EV market will require smart public and private strategies to expand charging infrastructure so motorists don’t have to worry about running out of juice.

Advancing the deployment of low-carbon vehicle technology, like EVs, is essential if we’re going to achieve meaningful emissions reductions from the transportation sector, which is responsible for 28 percent of U.S. greenhouse gases. Globally, the problem is more acute as the number of light-duty vehicles on the road is expected to double to more than 2 billion by 2050.

Automakers will begin introducing their second generation EVs beginning this month with the 2016 Chevy Volt. While sales will likely jump because of the incremental improvements from the first generation Volt, more time is likely needed for batteries to improve and charging infrastructure to be deployed.

Our work for the Washington State Legislature shows that new business models to foster private investment in charging infrastructure will be vital, but public sector policies and incentives will still be needed in the near term to keep the market growing.

The Role of Clean Energy Banks in Increasing Private Investment in Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

The Role of Clean Energy Banks in Increasing Private Investment in Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

December 2014

by Matt Frades, Janet Peace, and Sarah Dougherty

Download the full paper (PDF)

This paper explores how Clean Energy Banks, or other similar organizations aimed at leveraging public funds to attract private investment in clean energy deployment, could help reduce the barriers to EV charging infrastructure by (1) supporting the development of viable business models for charging services in the near term and (2) helping scale up private capital investments into EV infrastructure in the longer term.

 

Janet Peace
Matt Frades
Sarah Dougherty
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PEV Market Updates

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Each quarter, C2ES presents updates on the state of the PEV market, technology and policy highlights, and spotlights on the activities of select grant recipients. These activities promote electric vehicle readiness in each of these communities by fostering public-private partnerships to deploy electric vehicles and to increase public access to charging stations.
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PEV Market Updates

C2ES is participating in a series of webinars on the plug-in electric vehicle market and the progress of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Cities Electric Vehicle Community Readiness grant recipients. A new webinar, hosted by DOE with input from Argonne National Laboratory, will be presented each quarter with market updates, technology and policy highlights, and spotlights on the activities of select grant recipients. These activities promote electric vehicle readiness in each of these communities by fostering public-private partnerships to deploy electric vehicles and to increase public access to charging stations.

The list below will be updated for each new webinar. Check back here regularly for new presentations.

More about Clean Cities Electric Vehicle Community Readiness Grants:

PEV Dialogue Initiative Publications and Tools

C2ES and its partners have published papers and created tools to help stakeholders enable a national PEV market. 

EV-Grid Integration Workshop

Representatives from state agencies, the electricity and charging industries, and non-profit organizations gathered for an in-person workshop held in Boston on February 20, 2014. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the key issues around integrating PEVs with the electrical grid. The workshop was organized by the NESCAUM, with help from C2ES, ICCT, NRDC, and UC Davis. These five groups jointly produced a summary report that summarizes the recommendations and proceedings from the workshop.

 

Clean Cities Community Electric Vehicle Readiness 

The C2ES 2014 report, "A Guide to the Lessons Learned from the Clean Cities Community Electric Vehicle Readiness Projects," summarizes the lessons learned from 16 government, educational and nonprofit groups that received $8.5 million in U.S. Department of Energy grants to advance the deployment of electric vehicles. 

 

PEV Action Tool

C2ES created the PEV Action Tool in 2013 to help state transportation departments understand their role in facilitating electric vehicle deployment. Learn more about the project here, including two in-person workshops C2ES conducted.

 

PEV Action Plan

Read the PEV Dialogue Group's 2012 Action Plan on integrating electric vehicles with the U.S. electrical grid.

C2ES wrote a comprehensive literature review on electric vehicles 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 electric vehicles in these states relying on the latest research and market data.

Read our 2011 literature review on electric vehicles with a focus on issues and solutions related to vehicle deployment and integration with the U.S. electrical grid.

Read our 2011 white paper on the state of play in the electric vehicle market.

 

Firsthand lessons on public charging for EVs

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My ride for the weekend: BMW’s first mass-produced all-electric vehicle.

Washington, D.C., is well-situated for day trips with mountains, forests, beach and bay all a short drive away. On a recent weekend, I was lucky enough to tool around in style. BMW lent me their new electric car – the i3 – and asked that I race it around the DC metro region. (Or perhaps that’s just how I heard them.)

The car handles beautifully the way you’d expect a BMW to, and proves there’s no performance tradeoff by going with an electric vehicle (EV). For most drivers, EVs like the i3 can accommodate daily driving needs. The average American only travels 30 miles per day. In particular, EVs are well suited for commuting because a driver can charge at home or the workplace. But day-tripping with an EV can take more planning and I learned firsthand that a robust public charging network is essential if EVs are to make more headway in the marketplace.

At C2ES, we often cite the importance of public charging stations to extend the range of EVs and give drivers confidence that an EV is a practical replacement for their conventional car. To allow EV drivers to travel as they would with a gasoline car, quick charging stations are needed along major roadways. Multiple, slower charging stations (referred to as Level 2) should be at key destinations to provide redundancy in case stations are in use or down for maintenance. Those are some of the conclusions of our new paper assessing the public charging infrastructure in Washington state and the same can be said of Washington, D.C.

Assessing the Electric Vehicle Charging Network in Washington State

Assessing the Electric Vehicle Charging Network in Washington State

September 2014

by Nick Nigro, Jason Ye, and Matt Frades

Download the full paper (PDF)

The Washington State Legislature is interested in exploring government’s role in fostering new business models that will expand the private sector commercialization of electric vehicle (EV) charging services. This paper provides an assessment of the existing EV publicly available charging network in Washington.

 

Jason Ye
Matt Frades
Nick Nigro
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Don't toss out the good electricity with the bad

One way to reduce power plant carbon emissions is to reduce the demand for electricity. Encouraging customer energy efficiency is one of the building blocks underpinning the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan. But the plan does not distinguish among uses of electricity. That means, without further options, the Clean Power Plan could inadvertently discourage states from deploying electric vehicles (EVs), electric mass transit, and other technologies that use electricity instead of a dirtier fuel.

In all but very coal-heavy regions, using electricity as a transportation fuel, especially in mass transit applications, results in the emission of far less carbon dioxide than burning gasoline. In industry, carbon emissions can be cut by using electric conveyance systems instead of diesel- or propane-fueled forklifts and electric arc furnaces instead of coal boilers.

Under the proposed power plant rules, new uses of electricity would be discouraged regardless of whether a state pursues a rate-based target (pounds of emissions per unit of electricity produced) or a mass-based target (tons of emissions per year).

EPA has a few options to make sure regulations for power plants would not discourage uses of electricity that result in less carbon emissions overall.

AFV Finance Initiative Publications and Tools

C2ES and its partners published papers and created tools for the AFV Finance Initiative. The initiative consisted of two projects:

Unlocking Private Sector Financing for Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Fueling Infrastructure

C2ES, in partnership with National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program, began a two-year project in early 2013 to develop innovative finance strategies aimed at accelerating the deployment of AFVs and fueling infrastructure.

 

This guide addresses questions that private investors and state and local agencies may have about key considerations and strategies for deploying NGVs in public and private fleets.

This guide answers questions that private investors and state and local agencies, such as state energy offices, may have in deciding whether and to what extent they should invest in publicly available charging infrastructure.

When combined with other policies and incentives, publicly-supported financing programs, such as those offered through Clean Energy Banks (CEBs), could significantly accelerate deployment of EV charging infrastructure and facilitate EV market development. Read our report that details the range of financial tools available to CEBs and examines these tools’ potential to reduce barriers to EV infrastructure investment. The report also explores how lessons learned from existing CEBs and other relevant organizations could be applied to the EV charging market.

Innovative service contracts that incorporate features of the Energy Service Company (ESCO) business model could help reduce the barriers to vehicle fleet investment in natural gas vehicles (NGVs) and fueling infrastructure. Read our report that explains how ESCOs reduce barriers faced by energy efficiency and cost savings projects, demonstrates how some of the features of ESCOs are being employed in cutting-edge NGV fleet projects, and explores how these features could be incorporated into innovative business models.

Read our white paper that examines how private financing can address the barriers to demand facing electric, natural gas, and hydrogen fuel cell AFVs and their related fueling infrastructure. Starting with a review of the state of the market, it covers significant barriers to market demand and barriers for private investors and concludes with a review of innovative finance options used in other sectors that could be applied to the AFV market.

 

Business Models for Financially Sustainable EV Charging Networks

The Washington State Legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee selected C2ES to develop new business models to foster private sector commercialization of public EV charging services.

In May 2014, the Washington State Legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee commissioned a study to develop new business models that will foster private sector commercialization of publicly available EV charging services and expand the role of private sector investment in EV charging throughout the state.

The results of this new study demonstrate that, with continued public support and EV market growth in the near term, it is reasonable to expect the private sector to be able to be the predominant source of funding for publicly available commercial charging stations within approximately five years.

The EV Charging Financial Analysis Tool was developed by C2ES and the Cadmus Group to evaluate the financial viability of EV charging infrastructure investments involving multiple private and public sector partners.

Download the EV Charging Financial Analysis Tool to assess the financial viability of EV charging projects.

The Washington State Legislature was interested in exploring government’s role in fostering new business models that will expand the private sector commercialization of EV charging services. This paper provides an assessment of the existing EV publicly available charging network in Washington. 

Joint Industry/NGO letter of support for proposed electric vehicle rebate program in New York state budget

 

About the AFV Finance Initiative

The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Finance (AFV) Initiative brought together key public and private stakeholders to use innovative finance mechanisms to help accelerate the deployment of AFVs and fueling infrastructure. C2ES is working with states around the country to develop new strategies for improving the business case for AFVs by leveraging small pubic investments or with new business arrangements.

Decreasing the transportation sector’s reliance on petroleum offers important economic, security, and environmental benefits for the United States. The nation’s dependence on foreign oil comes at a high price. In 2012, the U.S. transportation sector consumed 73 percent of the country’s petroleum supplies. Dependence on oil in transportation exposes the United States to price shocks largely beyond its control, since oil is a globally priced commodity. Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory estimate that the total economic loss associated with oil dependence in the United States was $2.1 trillion from 2005 to 2010. These economic losses are due to oil price shocks and oil market influence by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). From an environmental perspective, motor vehicles are also responsible for half of smog-forming air pollutants, about 75 percent of carbon monoxide emissions, and more than 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

Most AFVs do not rely on petroleum, are more energy efficient than their conventional counterparts, and have lower or no tailpipe emissions. However, several barriers stand in the way of AFV and infrastructure deployment: market volatility, technological uncertainty, information failures, and regulatory hurdles and uncertainty. These barriers affect each fuel type differently. Recent large investments by the federal government in AFVs and other clean technologies will be winding down in the coming years. New private financing mechanisms are needed to fund these vehicles and associated infrastructure to enable wide-scale adoption.

C2ES worked with states to identify new ways to mobilize this private capital. The Initiative consisted of two projects defined below.

Unlocking Private Sector Financing for Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Fueling Infrastructure

C2ES, in partnership with National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Clean Cities Program, began a two-year project in early 2013 to develop new financial tools aimed at accelerating the deployment of AFVs and fueling infrastructure. C2ES assembled an advisory group of experts on AFVs, infrastructure, and finance from the public and private sectors to help guide its work. The project aimed to:

  • Identify barriers that hinder private sector investment;
  • Develop and evaluate innovative financing concepts for vehicle purchase and fueling infrastructure in order to make AFVs more accessible to consumers and fleet operators; and
  • Stimulate private-sector investment in AFVs and the associated infrastructure deployment, building upon and complementing previous public sector investments.

C2ES researched financial barriers, prepared case studies, and developed strategies that states can consider trying at the project’s conclusion:

The project specifically emphasized two fuels that offer significant opportunities for growth—electricity and natural gas. Biofuels were not considered because many government and private sector stakeholders are already facilitating the deployment of biofuel-powered vehicles. Vehicles powered by hydrogen were included, but they were not a major focus because hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are not yet widely available.

Click here to view publications for this project.

Business Models for Financially Sustainable EV Charging Networks

In May 2014, the Washington State Legislature’s Joint Transportation Committee selected C2ES to develop new business models to foster private sector commercialization of public EV charging services. First, C2ES assessed the state of EV charging in Washington and created useful products for the state to perform similar assessments as the market evolves. Second, drawing from its experience with the AFV Finance Initiative and similar activities, C2ES identified and evaluated business models for EV charging in the state. Finally, C2ES recommended ways the public sector can support those business models to maximize private sector investment in EV charging.

Click here to view publications for this project.

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