Electric Vehicles

Data collection on charging patterns among top 2018 EV trends: report

Utilities collecting data on electric vehicle charging patterns and focusing on different methods to promote off-peak charging were among the top EV trends of 2018, according to a new report issued by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center.

The center’s “50 States of Electric Vehicles Report,” which was released on Feb. 14, also provides a list of the most active states last year in terms of the greatest number or most impactful actions taken related to EVs.

Top 2018 trends for EVs

With respect to the top EV trends of 2018, the report cites several areas that involve action by utilities including collecting data on EV charging patterns.

“As a part of many utilities’ electric vehicle programs, they are collecting data on customer charging patterns to inform future programs and rates, as well as to better understand the potential impact of electric vehicle charging on the electric grid,” the report’s executive summary notes.

Duke Energy Florida and public power entities Lincoln Electric System (LES) in Nebraska and the Tennessee Valley Authority all announced studies specifically collecting data on customer charging and offering incentives for participation.

LES in 2018 launched a campaign to recruit electric vehicle drivers in a study that the utility plans to use to better understand the impact electric vehicle charging will have on its system’s demand.

In September 2018, TVA said that it was partnering with with Nashville Electric Service and Middle Tennessee Electric Membership Corporation on a two-year program called Smart Charge Nashville.

At the time, TVA noted that the Smart Charge Nashville program will follow 200 local volunteer electric vehicle drivers in the greater Nashville area by using a data logger plugged right into the vehicle. “The data collected, which is also available to the participants of the program, will provide insight into the charging patterns of EV drivers and what might need to be done in the future to accommodate more and more EV drivers hitting the road.”

Promotion of off-peak charging

Another trend for 2018 listed in the report is that utilities are focusing on different ways in which to promote off-peak charging.

The center said that most of the utility-led electric vehicle programs under consideration in 2018 included some method to promote off-peak charging. Several utilities proposed deployment of or rebates for smart chargers, including investor-owned DTE Electric in Michigan and National Grid in Massachusetts. Other utilities proposed rebates for off-peak vehicle charging or rate structures that encourage off-peak charging, the center noted.

Utilities piloting vehicle-to-grid capabilities

Utilities piloting vehicle-to-grid capabilities is another EV trend for 2018 cited by the center. PSE&G New Jersey proposed a program to test vehicle-to-grid and vehicle-to-building technology with electric buses. Duke Energy’s proposed electric vehicle programs in South Carolina and a pilot proposed as part of San Diego Gas & Electric’s Transportation Electrification Program would also test vehicle-to-grid capabilities with electric buses, the report notes.

Texas-based public power utility Austin Energy is working with Pecan Street, a research organization, to test the use of electric vehicles as peak shaving tools and, eventually, as a grid resource. The tests, being conducted at Pecan Street’s laboratory in east Austin, involve the use of an electric vehicle capable of bi-directional energy flows, also known as vehicle-to-grid capability.

Utilities proposing demand charge reductions or alternatives for fast chargers

Meanwhile, several utilities proposed limited-time demand charge reductions or alternative charges for DC fast charging station operators in order to promote the development of these stations, since demand charges can often make fast charging stations cost-prohibitive, the report said.

Demand charge reductions were approved in Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, while utility proposals are under consideration in California, Massachusetts, and New York.

Other top EV trends in 2018 listed in the report are:

  • States clarifying commission jurisdiction over electric vehicle charging stations;
  • Governors establishing statewide zero-emission vehicle goals;
  • States addressing the future of transportation infrastructure funding;
  • Utilities and stakeholders finding agreement on electric vehicle programs;
  • State agencies publishing spending plans for Volkswagen settlement funds; and
  • States and utilities investing in electric buses and charging infrastructure.

The report said that a total of 424 electric vehicle actions were taken during 2018, representing an 87% increase over 2017.

The report listed the following states as taking the greatest number or most impactful EV actions in 2018: California, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada, Minnesota, Missouri and Pennsylvania.

The District of Columbia was also cited, with the report noting that investor-owned Pepco filed a revised transportation electrification proposal and the City Council created a new charging station pilot program.

Fourth quarter 2018

The center said that in the fourth quarter of 2018, 35 states plus DC took a total of 217 legislative and regulatory actions related to electric vehicles.

Of the 217actions catalogued, the most common were related to financial incentives (55), followed by deployment (37) and market development (34).

The executive summary is available here.