One of the biggest obstacles to wider adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is range anxiety and “charging deserts,” or disadvantaged areas where public charging stations are not readily available.
Currently, there are 113,500 public charging outlets and 46,290 stations in the U.S., most of them concentrated in California and mostly Level 2 Chargers. There is no consistent payment process and some chargers, like those manufactured by Tesla, are not compatible with all models of vehicles.
Globally, electric vehicle sales reached 6.6 million in 2021, representing nearly 9 percent of car sales and more than tripling 2019’s sales, which reached roughly 2.5 percent. There are an estimated 16 million electric vehicles in use, consuming 30 terawatt hours of electricity annually.
Battery electric vehicles and passenger cars made up three-fourths and two-thirds of the market, respectively, and the Asian-Pacific market, followed by Europe and North America, have the largest demand for EVs, with the three regions making up approximately 90 percent of global sales.
In the U.S., electric vehicle sales doubled in 2021 to reach more than half a million sold, or 4.5 percent of all cars sold in the country. An estimated 1 in 20 Americans will purchase an electric vehicle in 2022, for a total of 1 million vehicles, and the National Electric Highway Coalition (NEHC) predicts that there will be 22 million electric vehicles in the U.S. by 2030.
U.S. sales are boosted by tax credits and the rollout of a wider range of models, which is expected to double this year to thirty. Many new models will be designed from the start as electric vehicles, instead of adaptions of existing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. At the same time, fuel costs for ICE vehicles have soared and rules restricting vehicle emissions, such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2021 emission rules, have made electric vehicles more attractive then ever.
Additionally, several automakers have announced goals to reach huge electric vehicle sales targets. For example, Volkswagen committed to having half of their sales consist of EVs; Ford, General Motors and Stellantis jointly set a goal of 40 to 50 percent of sales; and Toyota is working to achieve 3.5 million electric vehicle sales, all by 2030.
In the public sector, $7.5 billion from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has been earmarked to install a network of electric vehicle chargers, with $5 billion focused on the interstate highway system. The Biden administration also has pledged to replace the entire government fleet, approximately 650,000 vehicles, with EVS. Individual states also are encouraging adoption, with 47 states investing in EV adoption with tax credits, rebates and research.
Through the IIJA, the federal government will invest the remaining $2.5 billion for EV charging in disadvantaged areas such as rural communities or neighborhoods with lack of access, the “charging deserts,” that primarily include low- to moderate-income communities and people of color. The administration has pledged to ensure that at least 40 percent of overall investments in clean energy benefit disadvantaged communities through an initiative called Justice40.
This comes after an analysis that showed that very few states are ensuring an equitable spread of EV infrastructure money, according to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. These charging deserts show a clear delineation between LMI neighborhoods and wealthy ones – for example, the Bronx has only 17 EV charging stations and East Harlem seven, while the Upper East Side has 70 charging stations.
Only six states have laws that require that equity be considered in building out EV infrastructure. The Electric Vehicles for Underserved Communities Act, which would recreate an Electric Vehicle Charging Equity Program to create charging networks in underserved communities, remains in committee nearly a year after its introduction. Regardless of federal and state guidance, equity has been a top-of-mind concern in the utility space for some time.
Utilities will lead not only in meeting the increased demand for power to charge EVs but will also in building out a charging network to address range anxiety and charging deserts. The NEHC announced their commitment in December to fill in the gaps in the EV charging infrastructure on the interstate highway system.
With utilities in a leadership role in EV charger network-building, it’s not surprised that many new EV owners are turning to their utilities for guidance in navigating having a home charger installed. Utilities can improve customer satisfaction by providing a frictionless charger installation journey through a turnkey solution that allows customers to purchase a charger, schedule an installation and have the dispatched electrician provide information on incentives and time-of-use rates.
HomeServe is among the first to provide a Level 2 EV charger installation and repair plan that provides a pre-vetted, nationwide network of licensed and insured electricians and fills the gaps in manufacturer’s warranties by covering normal wear-and-tera and protecting out-of-warranty devices.
HomeServe participated in the October unveiling of the newly renovated “Courthouse Square in Texarkana USA,” which included the ribbon-cutting for two new Electric Vehicle charging stations installed on the square.
Through a partnership between the City of Texarkana, Texas; Southwest Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO); and HomeServe, the EV charging stations were installed in the square in an effort to draw more tourists to the City’s downtown area and increase availability of local EV charging infrastructure – they are the only public EV charging stations open to multiple EV models available in either Texarkana, Texas, or Texarkana, Arkansas, which share the Courthouse-Post Office Building built in 1931 and split down the middle at the state line.
Among those attending the event were Jeff Thigpen, Alternative Energy Resource Manager, and Jennifer Harland, External Affairs Manager, both with SWEPCO; Texarkana, Texas, Mayor Allen Brown and City Manager David Orr; Texarkana, Arkansas, Mayor Bob Bruggeman and City Manager Jay Ellington; and Myles Meehan, Senior Vice President of Public Relations, HomeServe.
The installation of the EV charging stations also provides another resource for drivers traveling along Interstate 30 and is part of a larger charge to reduce range anxiety, or the worry that drivers won’t be able to recharge their car before running out of power.
One of the groups leading the effort to reduce range anxiety by building additional EV charging infrastructure is the Electric Highway Coalition, a group of 14 energy companies working to enable long-distance EV travel, and SWEPCO’s parent company, AEP, counts among the 14. One of the group’s goals is establish easily accessible EV charging stations less than 100 miles apart, connecting major highway systems across the Atlantic Coast, Midwest, Gulf and Plains.
The House passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill approved by the Senate in early November, putting $7.5 billion on the table to establish a network of EV charging stations, primarily through state grants prioritizing EV charging stations built in rural areas and low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.
This charging network will become more important as more EVs take to American roads. California has announced that all new automobiles sold in the state by 2035 must be zero-emission vehicles, and General Motors has announced that it intends to discontinue production of gasoline vehicles by the same year.
However, 2035 – and a national charging network – are still in the future. Currently, 80 percent of EV charging is done at home, and homeowners prefer the faster Level 2 Charger capability. However, the process of installing a Level 2 Charger can be confusing for first-time EV owners, and 29 percent of those polled in a HomeServe survey said they would reach out to their local utility for assistance in navigating the installation of a Level 2 Charger.
HomeServe is among the first in the industry to offer a turnkey Level 2 EV charger installation and repair plan that not only provides a pre-vetted, nationwide network of licensed and insured electricians, but fills gaps in manufacturer’s warranties, covering normal wear and tear and offering protection for out-of-warranty devices. AEP’s Indiana-Michigan Power subsidiary is the first HomeServe partner to launch the EV Charger package as part of its new IM Plugged program for its customers in Indiana.
To find out more about how your utility can offer this seamless turnkey solution, contact us.
Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) recently announced its IM Plugged In program which will accelerate Indiana residents’ adoption of electric vehicles by providing an incentive for installing charging equipment and discounting electrical rates for those who charge their EVs overnight.
“Driving EVs has never been more affordable for I&M’s Indiana customers who take advantage of our incentives and lower overnight rates for charging their EVs,” said William Tokash, I&M’s Energy Services Customer Solutions leader. “Now, as more and more Hoosiers are purchasing EVs, our new HomeServe partnership will help our Indiana customers with installing chargers and protecting their home wiring configurations.”
HomeServe has partnered with I&M and will be supporting the IM Plugged In program by providing customers with a turnkey solutions for installing a Level 2 home charger, including any necessary electric panel upgrades and providing an optional interior electrical and charging equipment protection plan.
“It makes charging easier at home,” Tokash told WANE-TV. “For them, it takes the hassle out of them working with contractors to do that and they can save money while charging their vehicle and be ready to drive, [essentially] with a full tank of gas every morning.”
There are already more than 2 million EVs on the roads, and Americans are expected to have nearly 19 million EVs within the next decade, according to the Edison Electrical Institute. In Indiana, EV purchases increased by 25 percent between 2019 and 2020. While only 7 percent of Americans currently own an EV, another 39 percent said they were very or somewhat likely to purchase one the next time they purchased a vehicle, according to a Pew Research Center study.
Transportation accounts for the largest share – 29 percent – of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, according to the EPA, so EVs are an important tool in reducing overall emissions.
“Indiana Michigan Power’s EV programs are helping to remove barriers for Hoosiers interested in purchasing electric vehicles and installing charging equipment in their homes and businesses. The expansion of Indiana’s electric vehicle fleet will improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the health of all Hoosiers,” said Kerri Garvin, Executive Director of Greater Indiana Clean Cities, Inc.
I&M will provide a $500 incentive toward the installation of wiring for a residential EV meter to reduce the cost of taking advantage of the discounted rates. It is available for Indiana residents who already have an existing charger and who are installing a new charger.
However, without programs such as I&M’s IM Plugged In, many residents are unsure where to turn for guidance on installing a new EV charger and other equipment, such as housing for an EV meter. It can be a disjointed and confusing experience, one in which energy utilities can become a trusted advisor.
The overnight charging rate is 33 percent below standard rates and available to those who charge their vehicles from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. This overnight charging will allow EV owners to travel up to an estimated 4,700 miles without filling the gas tank.
“Indiana Michigan Power’s program is acknowledging the fact that people want to implement this technology and use these vehicles and it’s helping them get there,” Garvin told WANE-TV. “There’s a high demand for it. More people are buying these vehicles and people see it as an incentive to bring people to those areas.”
These incentives are in addition to federal tax credits – a 30 percent Federal Investment Tax credit (up to $3,000) for the installation of a new charger until Dec. 31, and a federal income tax credit of up to $7,500 for a battery or hybrid EV.
For more information about the IM Plugged In program, visit the website; and for more information about how HomeServe can help make installing an EV charger hassle free for your customers, contact us.
Although electric vehicles (EVs) are primarily marketed toward individual drivers, targeting information at commercial fleet managers can be very impactful in the proliferation of consumer EV ownership.
With the U.S. pledging to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels in the Paris Agreement, the transportation sector is a key focus, as it accounts for the highest level of greenhouse gas emissions, with gasoline-powered light-duty passenger vehicles responsible for the greatest portion. Since fleet vehicles often have high utilization rates, they have an outsized influence on emissions, despite being only 3 percent of the vehicles on the road. The U.S. will be unable to meet decarbonization goals until light-duty vehicles are overwhelmingly converted to electric options.
The federal government intends to lead by example by electrifying the federal fleet. President Joe Biden has made a pledge to electrify the federal government’s 650,000 vehicles, but the plan isn’t new – cities around the country are already in the process of or looking at electrifying their fleets. In addition, many U.S. mayors are encouraging school districts to consider electrifying the nearly 500,000 school buses across the country, and there are even very intriguing pilots of vehicle to grid technology that can lead to greater system reliability.
While there is a considerable amount of information supporting the individual buyer, less has been focused on fleet managers. Yet, large scale conversion of fleets from gasoline to electric vehicle fleets can drive scale of EV adoption in a way individual ownership can’t.
Energy utilities have a critical role to play in the electric vehicle fleet conversion process, acting as key advisors to commercial customers interested in a move to electric vehicle fleets. Commercial fleet managers frequently juggle procurement, maintenance and usage schedules, leaving little time for learning about and navigating the electric vehicle fleet space, let alone the charging infrastructure required to support such a fleet conversion.
Yet, the cost and carbon savings associated with converting some of the most-used fleet vehicles can be incredibly impactful. An EV’s lithium-ion battery pack is one of the major factors in an EV’s higher price point, alongside the high demand relative to the supply of vehicles. As the number of models almost doubles and the cost of batteries falls $100 per kilowatt hour, EVs will reach price parity with Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles by 2025. A Consumer Reports study found EV owners saved an average of $4,600 in repair and maintenance costs over a vehicle’s lifetime. Add to this the fact that an eGallon, the electric equivalent cost to a gallon of gasoline, is roughly half as much.
Utilities have the opportunity to educate their commercial customers about the cost savings of electrical vehicle fleets or go a step further and support them with electric vehicle fleet suitability assessments that can analyze driving habits, vehicle downtime and other factors and produce a report of the financial and carbon savings a fleet can expect to see by converting from one to all of its vehicles. Utilities also can help fleet managers determine, including the number of charging stations needed at business and take-home locations to support conversion, and the expected frequency and duration of vehicle charging.
Supporting customers with data and analysis is an immensely powerful step. More than a few utilities leveraged Geotab’s FleetCarma technology to help customers assess the feasibility of electric vehicle fleet conversion and make the switch. Further, a new Geotab report shows early adoption can ease the way for a broader fleet conversion and result in considerable impact to the bottom line.
The data will also help facility managers to determine whether they need to work with their local utility to upgrade their electrical service to handle the additional load. Many utilities have already initiated fruitful partnerships with their commercial customers for load management to determine the best times for charging to benefit both the fleet and utility.
Recognizing many fleet vehicle are taken home, fleet managers need to consider how to outfit employee homes with EV chargers, maintain that equipment and reimburse employees for the electricity used when charging vehicles at home.
To encourage the timely expansion of electric vehicle fleets, utilities should be working closely with fleet managers to educate them on the cost and environmental benefits of EVs and illustrate how they can fit into their business models.
HomeServe can help with concerns about installing EVSE at home, making it easier for fleet managers to monitor how much electricity fleet vehicles are drawing at employees’ homes and providing a warranty to cover the cost of any unexpected malfunctions, helping manage their maintenance costs. For more information, contact us.
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