Next Steps for Advancing EV Growth with Utilities

How utilities are finding new ways to boost revenue with electrification

Consumers are embracing the electrification of vehicles. Plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) are some of the most in-demand vehicles today for many reasons. Consumers, fighting rising fuel costs and hoping to support the environment, are making the change to electric vehicles. One study done by International Energy Agency found that the global electric car fleet had grown 40% in 2020 over 2019, adding 2.1 million vehicles to roadways.

There is a great deal of growth to be obtained. Currently, these vehicles make up just 2.6% of the total vehicle sales, but they are on a sharp rise to the top with year-of-year growth.

Yet, there are other benefits to the switch to EVs. There is a significant growth opportunity present for utilities that are able to accommodate this growing demand. In many ways, the growth of these vehicles could bring sustainable load growth as they work to build toward EV infrastructure.

Why Now Is the Time for Growth

Consumers are adapting to the use of EVs, and there are numerous supportive systems in place, such as dropping EV costs, government incentives, and climate policies that encourage electric use over fossil fuels. Yet, this type of growth needs sustainability through improved EV infrastructure. The need for improved EV charging stations along with vehicle-grid integration are critical.

For this to happen, factors such as future load-balancing concerns and rigorous emissions-reduction requirements are likely to play a role in what is to come.

Overcoming Challenges

Utilities need a boost in revenue. They also need to improve customer engagement and work to build sustainable load growth. It's possible for all of these things to align when core challenges are overcome.

Making charging at home possible

By estimates, 80% of EV charging happens at home. The problem here is that utilities need to modernize to allow for these needs to be met. If there is wide scale adoption of electric vehicles, it could mean a significant increase in the amount of energy that consumer homes are pulling from the grid. Without proper EV infrastructure planning, this could mean a significant event leaving homes in the dark during peak charging periods.

One way to overcome this is for municipal utilities to work to educate consumers on the right time of the day to charge, perhaps offering financial benefits for charging in off peak periods.

Building supportive infrastructure

Ensuring that all communities have access to supporting infrastructure is a second challenge. There are ways to reduce costs, such as providing new technology and incentive plans that can help to keep costs lower. The used EV market could also be an important place for investment to encourage more growth in ownership.

As communities create more opportunities for people t purchase these vehicles, there is also the need to increase access to EV charging stations, ensuring they are closed to key travel areas. While at-home charging is common, those who live in a multi-unit home may not have an option of easy access to EV chargers, especially in lower income areas. In these cases, state and local governments need to work together to help support EV owners with access to EV chargers at places of work, local businesses, or parking lots.

Education of consumers

The third roadblock to the expansive use of electric vehicles comes in advancing the education of consumers on electrification. Governments themselves need to educate on the benefits of creating policies to promote electrification.

Education strategies will need to be flexible enough to meet the very specific needs of that community. Opening the door to conversations around the use of EVs and working as a community to support the use of these vehicles is beneficial. All residents from all backgrounds need to be given insight into how the use of EV vehicles can better their lives and the community they live in as a result.

Examining the Next Steps

When it comes to the plan to build back better, there is no doubt that EVs are a part of the equation. The question is, though, how can communities and organizations take the next step to promote the use of EVs on a wide basis, allowing for the real benefits of electrification to become evident?

One focus is often on government actions at the federal, state, and local levels. There is no doubt they play a role in this process, but they are not the only stakeholders that need to work towards improvement.

A core player is that of the utilities themselves. Utilities have the ability to communicate directly with consumers, especially through well-designed customer engagement programs. They need to create new approaches to build better results. That may include seeking more funding to enhance current electric grid systems to sustain the new levels of demand likely. It may also mean playing a role in the education process.

Creating a readiness roadmap within each community may be one of the most important steps for utilities to take. This could help with the creation of a charging network throughout the community but also throughout the region. The Federal Highway Administration is working to meet these goals by creating a charging network that is along all national highways.

Utilities can lead the way in organizing for change in this area. They can work closely with local leaders – often taking the first step in addressing the current needs-while working to consider future goals. Together, they can work with governments to help address concerns, such as creating incentives to encourage low-income households to invest in EV vehicles. They could work to educate communities on the benefits of clean energy like this and reduce emissions by educating about how these changes impact the health and lives of people around them.

EVs are taking the world by storm. In the U.S., it is up to utilities at the municipal level to lead the path toward change. Not only is this beneficial and necessary as EV use grows, but it creates revenue generation opportunities for utilities that are already struggling to meet budgetary goals. An investment and a bit of foresight into this industry could help utilities come up the winners along with consumers and the planet itself.

Looking For Guidance On Your Electrification Strategy

We get it, the amount of information on EV grants and incentives can be overwhelming. At Charge Up USA our experts can help you plan and execute your utility’s electrification strategy. Don’t make the mistake of hiring an in-experienced, un-qualified, or sometimes unlicensed service professional. If you’re looking to invest in EV charging stations, Charge Up USA is ready to help guide you through every aspect of the job from start to finish. Most importantly, there’s no cost to you for the service.

Want to find out if you qualify for grant dollars?

Find out what incentives and grant opportunities you qualify for. Charge Up USA will help to identify and streamline the grant application process. No need to worry if you filled out your application correctly, or if you submitted it to the right agency. Let our experts handle the heavy lifting so you can focus on serving your customers. Don’t wait, begin your journey to electrification today!

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