Preparing for an Electric Vehicle Future: How Utilities Can Succeed
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Preparing for an Electric Vehicle Future: How Utilities Can Succeed

  • Outlines EV charging infrastructure challenges and opportunities for utilities to minimize them
  • Survey results highlighting recommendations for distribution planning, load forecasting, and load management strategies
  • Describes emerging utility and EV charging infrastructure business models

EVs can offer sizable benefits to utilities, but only if they start preparing now

Check out the highlights page for a high-level look at key takeaways

With a forecast of 9.6 million electric vehicle (EV) charging ports required by 2030, utilities need to take a proactive approach to preparing for these new loads. By doing so, utilities will maximize benefits and minimize risk leading to improved customer engagement, growing revenue, reduced system impacts, and more.

Combining results from an industry survey with personal insights of utility industry experts, the paper delivers recommendations and best practices for improving how utilities should support, plan and deploy EV charging infrastructure. With similar time horizons for realizing large EV deployments and utility infrastructure deployments, the message is clear: all utilities should be preparing today for significant EV penetration. This report was written by members of the Distribution Planning Subcommittee from SEPA’s Electric Vehicle Working Group.

Key Findings:

  • EV adoption presents an opportunity for utilities to increase customer engagement and be seen as a champion of positive change.
  • Utilities must streamline processes and organization structures and create new business models to support EV rollouts.
  • Utilities need to plan ahead to minimize grid impacts from an increasing number of megawatt-scale public, corridor, fleet, and private charging sites, and invest in infrastructure planning to prepare for EV charging infrastructure grid upgrades.
  • Right-sizing EV charging infrastructure is crucial to avoiding unnecessary project delays, cost, and grid impacts.
  • Expected EV infrastructure upgrade costs will drive new economic models, requiring discussions with stakeholders to begin early.
  • Utilities should identify opportunities to incorporate load management, including managed charging and rate design and encourage the creation and broad adoption of open protocols.

What’s in the report:

  • Background information on trends including vehicle adoption, future utility impacts from EV load, and non-traditional utility solutions
  • Understanding customer and stakeholder needs, roles and challenges for EV infrastructure deployment
  • Opportunities to minimize EV infrastructure challenges focusing on installation timelines, cost ranges and components, and determining who pays for upgrades
  • Recommended considerations for utility distribution planning tools, customer input required for utility load forecasting, available customer planning tools, and load management strategies
  • The next generation of transportation electrification options, new utility business models, and opportunities for fleet electrification
  • A complete list of charging infrastructure formats (levels), a list of supporting technology and grid infrastructure components, basics about utility distribution planning and infrastructure upgrades, and the latest in EV charging infrastructure safety protocols

Member Only Content

SEPA members can access additional bonus material through the EStore, which includes a figure library with high-resolution versions of the figures and tables and the corresponding data.

Preparing for an Electric Vehicle Future: How Utilities Can Succeed

Research report