Electric vehicles likely to be introduced in U.S. quickly, reports EPRI


Mark Duvall,
Director of Electric
Research, EPRI
Palo Alto, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — July 20, 2011 – The introduction of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) into automotive product lines in the U.S. will likely happen relatively quickly as most major manufacturers have announced production plans for one or more vehicle models, according to a new report from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

The first mass produced consumer vehicles began delivery in December 2010 – the Chevrolet Volt extended range electric vehicle and the Nissan Leaf battery electric vehicle.

For medium and heavy duty commercial vehicles, there are a number of development and limited production programs building light, medium, and heavy-duty commercial fleet vehicles for on-road use, while non-road electric transportation has a large inventory of available products that are generally cost competitive.

The report, “Transportation Electrification: A Technology Overview,” is aimed to provide a detailed status on the commercial rollout of PEVs, describing key vehicle and infrastructure technologies, and outlining plans and actions that utilities can adopt in facilitating the more widespread use of these vehicles.

According to the report, PEV sales are projected at between 600,000 and 2.4 million by 2015, rising to 15 to 65 million by 2030.

The EPRI believes that potential stresses on the electric grid from PEVs can be fully mitigated through asset management, system design practices, and at some point, managed charging of PEVs to shift significant load away from system peak. A proactive utility approach of understanding where PEVs are appearing in their system, addressing near-term localized impacts, and developing both customer programs and technologies for managing long term charging loads is most likely to effectively and efficiently enable even very large-scale PEV adoption, says the report.

According to the report there are number of potential roles for an electric utility that can support the commercial introduction of electric vehicles and increase customer adoption. These include:

  • Customer outreach and education
  • Development of critical infrastructure and services to support the safe and secure operation of electric vehicles
  • Facilitating the implementation of residential, commercial, and public charging infrastructure
  • Understanding and mitigating potential system impacts
  • Adopting PEVs within the utility fleet and installing supporting infrastructure
  • Conducting research, development, and demonstration on real-world operation.

“The plans can address the adoption of plug-in vehicles and charging by their customers, adding charging infrastructure, and minimizing the impacts of widespread vehicle charging on electric distribution systems,” commented Mark Duvall, director of Electric Transportation research at EPRI.