Executive Summary – (Download Full Report)
In the last three years the transportation sector has witnessed a revolutionary upheaval. Car sales plummeted, with the most dramatic declines occurring in light truck sales. Two of the three big U.S. car companies declared bankruptcy. The federal government and California imposed significant efficiency standards and for the first time required reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars. Car companies that had spurned electrification suddenly embraced it. Utilities began aggressively pursuing smart grids, with EVs as a key catalyst. EVs have gone mainstream, a featured commodity. A dozen car companies have said they will be introducing electrified car models in the 2010-2011 time frame. Several cities and regional coalitions have begun to elaborate public charging networks.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 68 bills from 25 different states were introduced in 2009 that involved electric vehicles (about a dozen have been enacted). There has been limited efforts in the RE-AMP states (Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin) to push EV policies. The most aggressive efforts have been in the state of Michigan which has what appears to be an effective strategy for attracting both EV and advanced battery research and manufacturing.
The RE-AMP network’s core goal is to enable dramatic reductions in GHG emissions. Therefore this report focuses on the impact of EVs on these emissions, beginning with a comparison of EVs with other key strategies like improving fuel efficiency and lowering the carbon intensity of fuels.
Potentially, a low carbon fuel standard (LCFS) could have the biggest impact on GHG reductions by 2020 because once in place it will apply to all vehicles while fuel efficiency (CAFE) standards will apply only to new vehicles. However, CAFE standards are already in place nationally while no RE-AMP state has yet to enact a LCFS.
The short term impacts on GHG emissions of expanding EVs will be very small because the vehicles will not enter into the market in large numbers until manufacturing ramps up and they will slowly replace the types of new cars being made by automakers. In the next decade the introduction of EVs in the RE-AMP states will reduce transportation sector GHG emissions by significantly less than 1 percent, compared to 10 to 20 times greater reductions from either CAFE or a future LCFS.
Like any GHG reduction strategy, EVs cannot be viewed as a stand alone solution. Fortunately, electrified vehicles will have a catalyzing and symbiotic relationship to many other GHG reduction strategies. For example, because federal policy gives EVs a very high fuel efficiency rating, they will play a role in car companies meeting the new CAFE standards. EVs are also poised to play a key role in transportation fuel supplier’s efforts in meeting low carbon fuel standards. Moreover, because of their energy storage capability, EVs also can play an increasingly important role in the expansion of renewable energy. And EVs already are playing an important role in the discussions about the future elaboration of a smart grid.
Thus any comprehensive and coherent GHG reduction plan, either at the state or regional level, should encourage a steady expansion of electrified vehicles and related industrial development. This report discusses dozens of policies proposed to achieve this goal, and selects eight of these as near term efforts key to a successful transportation electrification initiative. The recommendations include:
- Create a RE-AMP Electric Vehicle Readiness (RE-AMP-EVR) Adhoc Group
- Enact Legislation That Opens a Regulatory Proceeding Covering Electric Utility Related EV Issues
- Require a Performance Standard for New Construction to be EV and Renewable Energy Ready or Capable
- Allow Municipal Energy Financing to Cover Level 2 EV Charging Systems
- Fast Track and Simplify Permitting and Installation of EV Charging Systems
- Initiate Government Fleet Conversions to EVs
- Begin Smart Grid Deployments
- Allow Utilities Cost Recovery Authority for Any Distribution System Upgrades Needed to Facilitate Growing Numbers of EVs