Electric Power Sector Interface

To make any large deployments of infrastructure feasible in their interaction with the grid, the functioning of the hardware must be intelligently coordinated with grid operations.

Successful deployment of plug-in electric vehicles will require thoughtful management of the interface between the nation’s electric power grid—electricity generation, transmission, and distribution—and the vehicles themselves.  Smart charging will make PEVs an asset for the nation’s power grid instead of turning them into a potential liability.

Transportation represents a wholly untapped market for utilities.  Electrification of transportation will represent a historical economic opportunity for power providers, but it could also require them to address important issues in some instances.  For example, some utilities will want to upgrade distribution-level transformers to ensure reliable service to homes and other charging locations.  For this to occur, utilities must be able to plan for PEV purchases in their service territory, which will likely require cooperation and partnership with automakers and dealers.  Investments in smart meters and associated software will be required to support a range of smart grid applications, including PEVs. Further, both utilities and electricity market retailers should consider new rate plans to reliably serve PEVs while providing drivers with economically compelling fuel prices. 

In order to guarantee the seamless integration of the power and transportation sectors, the Coalition recommends the following:

  • Adjust utility rate structures to facilitate PEV deployment, primarily through the use of off-peak charging

Featured Quote

“We need to not only develop the cars but also have the infrastructure to keep pace with the technology.”

Rep. Judy Biggert
June 30, 2010