The Future of Transportation Electrification: Utility, Industry and Consumer Perspectives

Electric vehicles (EVs) today are a small part of the U.S. transportation fleet. Technological advancements, automotive industry investments and state policies are driving increased transportation electrification. Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects that by 2040, 55 percent of new sales of automobiles worldwide will be EVs.Increased transportation demand for electricity will require additional investments in the distribution system and will impact the bulk power system as load profiles change. At the same time, managed EV charging and discharging can make more efficient use of distribution system assets and increase grid flexibility. EVs also hold promise for lowering transportation costs and reducing air emissions.Infrastructure needs to electrify transportation across the United States far exceed current investment plans by EV charging companies, the public sector and others. Utilities are building “make-ready” infrastructure to ease development of public charging stations and offering rates tailored for EVs, and some utilities are directly investing in charging stations. The growth of EVs raises a number of questions for policymakers and others:

  • How much public charging infrastructure will be needed, where should it be built and when will it be used? 
  • What role should utilities play in developing the infrastructure, compared to EV charging companies?
  • How should charging infrastructure costs be allocated among utility customers?   
  • How should electricity rates be set to encourage efficient grid use and minimize negative grid impacts? 
  • How are states preparing for increasing electrification of the transportation sector?

This report in the Future Electric Utility Regulation series from Berkeley Lab, The Future of Transportation Electrification: Utility, Industry and Consumer Perspectives, tackles these questions and more. The report approaches the issues from three perspectives: utilities, the EV charging industry and consumers. 

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory hosted a webinar on September 13, 2018, titled "The Future of Transportation Electrification: Utility, Industry and Consumer Perspectives." To view a video of the recording click here