On July 22, I was back at Department of Energy headquarters here in DC to meet with Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, David Friedman. I have spent a lot of time at DOE over the past few years — enough that the guard checking me in at the security desk joked he should issue me a permanent badge, based on my record of past visits. (Not sure I would want one — they have a very unflattering official" picture of me in their files!)
When I visit DOE, the subject is often somber and sobering — cyber threats, physical threats, weather-related events — all the things that keep those of us in the industry up at night. But this visit was much more uplifting. I went to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with DOE on behalf of APPA to help promote electric vehicles. The MOU builds on DOE's "EV Everywhere Grand Challenge" to develop EVs by 2022 that are as affordable as a 2012 gasoline-powered vehicle. Under the MOU, DOE and APPA will work together to advance EV adoption and charging infrastructure deployment, in an effort called "EV Everywhere "– Public Power Charged." DOE especially wants to focus on communities with fewer than 200,000 electric customers, and APPA has many member utilities that fit that bill.
It was great to spend some time talking EVs with AAS Friedman — he is an enthusiastic proponent of vehicle electrification. In comparing notes, we realized that we both own the same (make and model) plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. Before you know it, we were comparing summer and winter EV mode performance, use of seat warmers in winter versus use of the regular heating system (it does reduce performance!) and other wonky details. And we discussed the holy grail of vehicle electrification — how to reduce charging time to the point that you can eliminate range anxiety. The Washington Post reported in a July 22 article, White House calls for more electric-car charger spots, that DOE "plans to research how to build charging technologies that can power an EV for a 200-mile range in 10 minutes — far faster than what's currently available." I told AAS Friedman that I await the day I will not have to spend 2 hours at the Molly Pitcher rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike charging my car!
As DOE has recognized, APPA has many members that are already actively promoting EVs and developing charging infrastructure. So APPA welcomes the opportunity to work with DOE to do more in this area. Among other things, EVs could be an important new load and potential demand-side resource for public power utilities. Maybe someday we will indeed see "EV Everywhere."