HELPING WITH EQUITABLE SHIFT TO ELECTRIC TRANSPORTATION
We are in a middle of a transportation energy transition, and electric utilities have a key role. Home is the most important charging location, but workplace charging is also very important especially for people who don't have an opportunity to charge at home.
One of the key question is: How can we enable a more equitable transition to EVs with workplace charging?
Utility company programs and incentive structures can be designed so that they support workplace charging installations and keep equity considerations as a key part of them. Empower is an outreach and education project that provides you support and resources that helps with workplace charging projects. Get in touch with our coalition partners.
How to proceed?
1. Educate your employees about EVs
The first step is to educate all your employees about EVs and provide more advanced training for your key employees who will be working with EV programs. If you can assist/incentivize your employees to shift to driving electric, you will increase their experience and expertise considerably. Providing them workplace charging is a very helpful tool in achieving this.
2. Develop specific charging rates and products for the EV market
This segment requires a lot of education, there are multiple stakeholders involved and charging infrastructure solutions can require considerable infrastructure investments. Utility companies are well equipped to assist with all these needs. This is all new to your customers, so you can provide very valuable service by taking an active role in this space and helping stakeholders to build grid and customer friendly programs.
3. Provide technical assistance
Your customers need all the support you can provide. One key action is to provide technical assistance by talking with employers, property management companies and electricians about their approach to EV charging, look the power availability at the properties and opportunities for service upgrades if needed. Workplace charging can also be combined with fleet charging, so talk with your customers about those opportunities as well.
4. Provide education
Since this is a new area for most people, there is strong need for education for all stakeholders. Planning committee members need of a real life understanding of this area. You can consider EV expert Lunch & Learn presentations, employee EV owners' panel discussions or other information sessions. Providing enough information will help to overcome the inertia that new concepts usually face.
5. Familiarize yourself with the resources available on our Tools page
Our Tools page provides tools, concepts and resources that are designed to help EV owners, employers and property owners calculate and plan for EV charging infrastructure. The manufacturer agnostic WPC Simple and Advanced Concepts provides practical and effective frameworks for workplace charging. The Power and Energy calculator tool provides information about EV owners' charging needs that are the base for all design decisions, and The Metering and Payment table covers the most common setups that are considered at workplaces. There is also a Workplace Charging Survey tool that helps employers engage with existing EV owners and gauge interest among other employees to estimate future expansion needs.
6. Educate your customers on the financial incentives and programs available.
The DOE provides the most comprehensive list of general incentives, so make sure your offers are listed here: https://afdc.energy.gov/laws/state
7. Talk with legislators, advocacy groups, governmental agencies, auto dealers, EV owners groups and other stakeholders to find out how you can help, support and lead.
8. Make sure you get in touch with our EMPOWER coalition members.
Many utility companies have seen a flat or even declining demand curve in recent years. This has put more pressure to increase the electricity prices for all customers. EV charging will bring more demand and revenue which provides relief to utility company finances and reduces the need for price increases.
More level grid load
Since the vast majority of EV charging can happen overnight during off-peak hours, the grid can deliver this power without major infrastructure improvements. This can level the grid load curve and utilize the resources more evenly. Since wind power plants tend to have higher production during the night time this can also help utilities integrate more renewable energy to their grid. For all of this to happen, utilities need to take a very active role in rate design and program development & implementation.
Build stronger relationships with your customers
Becoming an energy expert in the transportation area is a new role for electric utilities, but it is also valuable. Your customers can find this area new and potentially confusing, so they do appreciate all the assistance that you can provide. This is a great opportunity to build customer-centered programs that provide valuable assistance and solutions to your customers.
Set your company apart in the marketplace and attract new customers with a stronger service portfolio
In deregulated markets, the capability to provide good solutions for workplace charging can give your company a competitive advantage.
Receive positive publicity by championing sustainable transportation solutions
Electric transportation has a great potential to decrease our oil dependency and increase the use of domestic, renewable energy sources.
Gather information about EV charging locations, loads and usage patterns
The more engaged you get with charging infrastructure installations, the more information you will acquire about the locations, loads and usage patterns that they have. This information is quite valuable for future installation and distribution grid development.
Dynamic control capability
An active role and the right technology deployment will enable you to build more dynamic control programs. Since vehicles are parked most of the day, there is a wide charging opportunity window that could be used to sync the charging load better, for example with renewable energy production. Smart workplace charging setups enable you to take advantage of these valuable charging loads during the daytime as well. These kinds of solutions will help to build a smarter, more resilient grid and provide more affordable charging solutions for customers.