Electric Vehicles

Multi-faceted EV approaches getting closer look from states: report

Among the top electric vehicle policy trends in the first quarter of 2018 were states considering multi-faceted approaches to EVs and related infrastructure, the North Carolina Energy Technology Center (NCCETC) said in a recently released report.

The quarterly series provides insights on state regulatory and legislative discussions, actions on electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, and current trends. 

In its Q1 2018 edition of “The 50 States of Electric Vehicles” report, NCCETC notes that broad plans were put forward in both Maryland and Hawaii in Q1 2018, which include a variety of rate design strategies, incentive programs, education and outreach efforts, and infrastructure deployment plans.

“California regulators considered similarly broad plans from the state’s investor-owned utilities in Q1 2018, while legislators in multiple states, including Massachusetts and Vermont, introduced bills addressing electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in a variety of ways,” the report said.

Another top EV policy trend in the first quarter listed in the report is contention around utility ownership of EV charging infrastructure.

NCCETC said that utility ownership of EV charging infrastructure “is proving to be one of the most contentious issues” related to EVs.

It noted that in 2017, Missouri regulators determined that utilities may not own charging infrastructure in the state, a ruling that is currently being reviewed by the Missouri Court of Appeals. However, investor-owned Kansas City Power & Light asked the Public Service Commission to reconsider this decision in its latest general rate case and grant cost recovery for its charging network.

The report said that proposed legislation in other states would allow utility cost recovery for charging infrastructure, and the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada authorized utilities to own and operate charging infrastructure with regulations approved in May 2018.

Two other policy trends in the first quarter were consideration of the role of demand charges in commercial charging rates and piloting co-location of energy storage and EV charging stations.

The report said that as demand charges are frequently included in commercial and industrial customer rate structures, “these can often be a barrier to the development of public DC fast charging infrastructure. While this issue remains largely unaddressed across the country, states are beginning to examine the impact of demand charges on fast charger deployment and work with utilities to develop commercial charging rate structures that mitigate the impact of demand charges.”

It notes that the California Public Utilities Commission is addressing this issue as part of investor-owned Southern California Edison’s proposed standard review projects, and a bill under consideration in Massachusetts directs utilities to file pilot commercial rate tariffs for electric vehicle charging with alternatives to traditional demand charges.

The report said that an emerging area of interest among states and utilities is the pairing of energy storage systems with EV charging stations in order to manage vehicle charging demand.

In a Maryland EV working group’s proposed portfolio plan, utilities would pursue demonstration projects pairing battery storage with vehicle charging stations, it noted.

Meanwhile, as part of San Diego Gas & Electric’s priority review projects approved in January 2018, the utility plans to install a solar array and energy storage system at one location for shuttle charging.

42 states, District of Columbia took actions on EVs, charging infrastructure

The report said that 42 states and the District of Columbia took actions related to electric vehicles and charging infrastructure during Q1 2018, with the greatest number of actions relating to electric vehicle fees, fast charging deployment, and electric vehicle studies.

A total of 275 electric vehicle actions were taken during Q1 2018 – more than were taken in all of 2017 (227 actions). New York, New Jersey and Hawaii took the greatest number of actions during the quarter, followed by Massachusetts, Washington and Minnesota.

The report’s executive summary is available here.