Electric Vehicles

Who Can Own/Operate a Charging Station

This map summarizes state activities to address issues related to owning and operating electric vehicle charging stations.

One of the key regulatory challenges to electric vehicle-grid integration is defining which entities can own and operate vehicle charging stations. States regulate retail electricity sales to all utility customers, so two key questions arise:

  • Under what conditions should charging station providers (also called electric vehicle service providers) be regulated as electric utilities?
  • Under what conditions can electric utilities own and operate a charging station?

Without regulatory changes, many states would be forced to regulate electric vehicle service providers as utilities because they sell electricity directly to consumers. These extensive regulations  would make many new business models unfeasible and discourage growth in charging infrastructure deployment. The PEV Dialogue Group recommends that a charging station provider that is only selling electricity as a transportation service should not be regulated as a utility.

Another major issue is under what conditions electric utilities can own and operate public charging stations, and whether there should be a different set of rules in low-demand markets. If electric utilities use ratepayer funds to deploy charging stations, they would have an unfair competitive advantage against other electric vehicle service providers. On the other hand, utilities could help provide charging infrastructure to underserved areas. The PEV Dialogue Group recommends that states allow utilities to own and operate public charging stations through unregulated affiliates. The Group also recommends that states allow utilities to own and operate charging stations for internal use, for demonstration purposes, and in areas that the private market would not support otherwise.

Related Reports

  • See the PEV Action Plan for more information on regulations related to owning and operating charging stations.

Related Maps

Last updated: October 6, 2014

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

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.

Transportation Sector

This map contains state laws and regulations that affect electric vehicles. The policies include the following:

  • Vehicle Acquisition: Mandates for state or other types of fleets to acquire electric vehicles. This primarily affects state fleets.
  • Preferred Access: State requirements to provide access to High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes or designated parking for electric vehicles.
  • Financial Incentives: Tax credits, rebates, grants, inspection exemption, and vehicle-to-grid energy credits.
  • Infrastructure Requirement: State requirements to provide electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

Note that the policies highlighted here target electric vehicles. C2ES has a number of additional maps on policies and activities to promote electric vehicles as part of its PEV Dialogue Initiative available here.

Source: U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center. The website contains a database for federal and state incentives and laws.

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