ORIGINAL REPORTING: Utility collaboration with charging companies – and differences – rising
As utility collaboration with charging companies rises, emerging differences could impede EV growth; To accelerate EV charging infrastructure deployment, former competitors are working together, but new questions threaten to lead to dissension.
Herman K. Trabish, Aug. 31, 2020 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The Biden administration’s plans to drive growth in transportation electrification is likely to charger deployment a hot topic in the coming years.
Transportation electrification, once considered an uphill struggle against the convenience and affordability of gasoline-fueled vehicles, now appears ready to roll. Forecasted growth of today's approximately 1.5 million U.S. electric vehicles to 20 million in 2030 requires at least $75 billion in investment, according to recent Brattle Group data. To achieve this, once-competing stakeholders must expand their still-tenuous collaboration.
"We are on the cusp of a new adoption phase," Robert Barrosa, director of utility strategy and operations at public charger advocate Electrify America, said in an email. But "significant progress" in deployment has been "fragmented" and "piecemeal," making it "confusing for drivers and businesses that want to invest in transportation electrification."
"There is always more we can do to go faster and further with electrification," agreed Katie Sloan, director of e-mobility and building electrification at Southern California Edison (SCE). That is "especially important now because it can create jobs for the economic recovery and help reduce all customers' rates by more efficiently using the grid," she said.
It seems transportation electrification has moved past early conflicts, in which utilities and charger providers fought over ownership, stakeholders told Utility Dive. Deployment is accelerating as utilities focus on the electrical infrastructure for chargers, called make-readies, and leave deployment and ownership of the chargers to private providers. But questions like how to manage charging loads and how to assess costs and benefits of deployment remain unanswered and could, stakeholders agreed, impede EV growth.
Deployment has increased, but more is needed. Transforming U.S. transportation will do more than disrupt transportation, Brattle's study projected. The billions in investment is expected to increase power sector demand by 60-95 TWh per year and increase U.S. peak load by 10- GW to 20 GW. Public charger deployment increased 40% per year from 2014 to 2019, Brattle calculated. In 2019, workplaces and other public locations had 66,000 Level 2 (L2) chargers, which can give a vehicle 124 miles of charge in roughly five hours. There were 12,000 Direct Current fast chargers (DCFCs), which can charge a vehicle the same amount in about 30 minutes.
But to satisfactorily serve 20 million EVs, the U.S. needs to deploy 1.25 million public chargers, according to Brattle — 1.2 million L2s and 60,000 DCFCs by 2030...Growth is already supported by falling EV, battery and charger prices, growing market availability of cars and chargers, and greater consumer awareness, Brattle reported. And federal, state and local mandates, along with tax credits and rebates are expanding...Charger availability is accelerating in some jurisdictions through agreement among stakeholders that utilities should build the make-readies and private providers should install chargers, Brattle Principal and study co-author Sanem Sergici told Utility Dive…” click here for more