In line with the global trend, the United States is at a critical juncture when it comes to addressing carbon reduction goals and moving towards a decarbonized and equitable society. The transportation sector continues to be the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions and one of the most effective ways to curb global climate change is to re-shape mobility through electrification.
The question for consumers remains: why bother making the switch to electric vehicles (EVs)?
Electrifying the way the United States moves people, goods, and services is a critical path in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing local air pollution, and further encouraging economic and environmental benefits. Additionally, it is proven that lifecycle emissions of EVs are already less than half of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles and are set to reduce drastically as the United States’ electricity supply relies more and more on clean and renewable resources being delivered on a 24/7 hourly basis. In order to meet the Paris Climate Goals which the United States has re-affirmed its commitment, the US must achieve net zero emissions by 2050. This is where electric vehicles can play a critical role.
Fortunately, the tide is turning in the United States. The technological advancements in electric vehicles and massive investments in EV infrastructure are making headlines. There have been significant positive shifts in federal and state policy, vehicle adoption and public and private fleet electrification. This has been supported by robust marketing and communications efforts and significant private and public capital flowing into the industry. This has meant that almost all major vehicle manufacturers have committed to phasing out the sale of ICE vehicles in the next 10 to 15 years.
In its 2021 Energy Transition Outlook (ETO), DNV forecasts that 50% of all new vehicles sales will be EVs by 2030 in the United States1. Customers have signaled to the market that EVs are the vehicle to purchase right now such that in California, 12.5% of new light-duty vehicle registrations were plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) in 2021. Next highest were the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Washington, and Oregon, which each had PEV registrations accounting for more than 7% of new registrations2. There are currently more than 134,000 public charging ports in the United States (both Level II and Direct Current Fast Chargers (DCFC))3 and recently, Electrify America saw a 400% increase in charging sessions from 2020 to 2021 which would be the equivalent of avoiding burning 5.7 million gallons of gas.
Coupled with tremendous focus on public infrastructure through Biden Administration’s Investment and Infrastructure Jobs Acts (IIJA) which has allocated $5 billion for DCFC along alternative fuel corridors, $2.5 billion for competitive grants for communities and corridors, $5 billion for school bus electrification, $500 million for support EV battery recycling and second life applications and electric utilities investing around $3 billion in EV infrastructure programs as well as state governments, the next five years will see a dramatic change in the landscape of EVs and the ability to charge them.
Even more compelling is that the Department of Energy published reports showing that volumetric energy density of batteries has increased more than 400% from 2008 to 2020. This has enabled an EV to travel the same distance with a smaller battery pack thus saving space, weight, and manufacturing costs4.
Yet with all this exciting movement in the marketplace to drive EVs into the homes and businesses in the United States, there are still challenges brought on by supply chain disruptions from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ukraine crisis and the United States’ aging electrical infrastructure.
In evaluating how to capitalize and ensure the EV revolution achieves the economic, environmental, and equity goals that the United States strives for, DNV has outlined a series of key actions and components to guide the collective energy transition with EVs:
- Building partnerships with advocates, business leaders, and trades to ensure the right education and workforce development is created to meet the demand
- Identifying and partnering with local diverse businesses to help expand the reach and economic benefits of the EV revolution
- Enhancing and supporting the pre-owned EV market for equitable access to less costly EVs
- Helping to educate consumers about the benefits of EVs, as well as supporting consumer behavior to charge their vehicles at lowest cost and least polluting time of day
- Collaborating with local, state, and federal agencies to ensure codes, regulations, and standards are uniform but also streamlining these tools to remove barriers to EV adoption
- Analyzing EV adoption forecasting and understanding how to optimize the location of EV infrastructure nationwide to ensure adequate charging is available and easy to use for all EVs
- Unlocking the communication protocols i.e. interoperability among ChargePoint operators to improve the customer experience at public level II and DCFC locations
- Leveraging vehicle telematics and EV infrastructure data to optimize charging opportunities
- Engaging with utilities on strong program development and ensuring Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) is built out strategically to avoid stranded assets
- Developing and implementing utility rate structures that incentivize consumers to charge during desirable times of day and participate in load flexibility actions
- Working with grid operators to plan for the rapid increase of EV load and ensure reliable and clean energy is dispatched
- Piloting, designing, and implementing vehicle to grid (V2G) type efforts to leverage the capacity of batteries for more than just mobility
- Engaging and supporting fleet operators, both public and private, on the benefits of transportation electrification
- Unlocking new business models for on-bill financing, Charging as a service (CaaS), and other subscription based models or financing mechanism to reduce the upfront EV infrastructure and fleet electrification
- Working with institutional investors and private equity to capitalize on the EV revolution as an advantageous investment which will help develop EV and EVSE companies to expand their business
- Ensuring there are state of the art battery testing facilities to maintain safety and performance of the batteries and infrastructure
- Understanding the lifecycle impact of EVs and creating a secondary market to EV batteries to be leveraged for society’s benefits.
With all the excitement, evolving technology, market awareness, and incoming funding, it is critical to ensure the EV revolution is planned for strategically and equitably. The next five to ten years will offer incredible opportunities for the public and private sectors to collaborate, learn, grow, and evolve the EV sector into one that drives transformational change across the United States.
DNV continues to build upon its 10 plus years of experience by providing technical and strategic guidance to shape the EV revolution through its core expertise of program design and implementation, EV program evaluation and market studies, grid integration analysis, fleet electrification advisory, technical and commercial due diligence, and battery testing.
We encourage all stakeholders involved in the EV revolution to join DNV’s four part “Meaningful Electrification” webinar series starting on 19 May and register here.
- What is the Energy Transition Outlook? | DNV
- FOTW #1236, May 2, 2022: In 2021, 12.5% of New Light-Duty Vehicle Registrations in California were Plug-in Electric Vehicles | Department of Energy
- Alternative Fuels Data Center: Electric Vehicle Charging Station Locations (energy.gov)
- FOTW #1234, April 18, 2022: Volumetric Energy Density of Lithium-ion Batteries Increased by More than Eight Times Between 2008 and 2020 | Department of Energy