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Powering Forward In The Age Of Electrification

Powering forward in the age of electrification

By Heidi Sickler, Director, Energy and Environmental Policy, Silicon Valley Leadership Group

On May 24, nearly 300 public and private sector representatives participated in the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s 6th annual Energy and Sustainability Summit at Oracle.  This year’s theme, “Powering Forward in an Age of Disruption,” reflected the Leadership Group’s work plan priorities, including supporting the deployment of Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) and elective vehicle charging infrastructure.  Two of the Summit’s sessions focused on the electrification of shared mobility, and the infrastructure needed to support 1.5 million ZEVs in California.

The Path Towards a Shared, Autonomous, Electric Future sessionmoderated by Alejandro Zamorano of Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), began with BNEF’s Electric Vehicle Global Sales Outlook showing sales of electric vehicles (EVs) increasing from 1.1 million worldwide in 2017, to 11 million in 2025, and then rising to 30 million in 2030.  Zoox’s Chief Financial Officer Jon Foster highlighted Zoox’s electric, autonomous, shared mobility service, which will rely on large batteries that charge at night.  Lyft’s Sustainability Director Sam Arons underscored the need for charging infrastructure that addressed drivers’ “dispatch anxiety,” while California Public Utilities Commissioner (CPUC) Carla Peterman announced the CPUC’s June 7-8 Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Rate Design Forum which will focus on ways to incentivize ZEV charging when it is good for the grid.  Megha Lakhchaura, Director of Policy and Utility Programs for EV Box, emphasized the need for a roaming network in the United States to support EV charging networks. EV Box currently has 55,000 EV charging installations worldwide with 25,000 in Rotterdam.

The Path Towards a Shared, Autonomous, Electric Future session at the May 24, Energy and Sustainability Summit. Left to right: Jon Foster, Chief Financial Officer, Zoox; Commissioner Carla Peterman, California Public Utilities Commission; Megha Lakhchaura, Director, Policy and Utility Program, EVBox; Sam Arons, Director of Sustainability, Lyft; Alejandro Zamorano, Intelligent Mobility Specialist, Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Panelists of the Taming the Dragon: Zero Emission Vehicles and Impacts to the Grid session, moderated by Heidi Sickler of the Leadership Group, dove deeply into one of the topics that looms large in any discussion of transportation electrification: What are the expected impacts of EVs on the grid?  The answer to this question is key as business and public leaders try to make long-term EV infrastructure decisions.  David Almeida, Manager of Clean Transportation Strategy at Pacific Gas and Electric, Amanda Myers, Public Policy Manager at ChargePoint, Noel Crisostomo, Air Pollution Specialist of Electrification, Fuels and Transportation at the California Energy Commission, and Maureen Blanc, Director of Charge Across Town participated in a lively panel discussion on what has been dubbed the “Dragon Curve.”  Noel Crisostomo explained that, by 2025, expected load impacts of EV growth include a bump in workplace charging demand during weekday mornings, a steep ramp-up in the evening due to residential charging, and spikes from direct current fast chargers, which use short, strong bursts of energy (shown below).

Noel also described the Energy Commission’s EV Infrastructure Projections (EVI-Pro) tool, which identifies gaps in infrastructure investments, and is the analysis supporting the Governor’s 2025 ZEV targets.  Based on the EVI-Pro model, California will need between 229,000-279,000 EV chargers in public locations and multi-unit dwellings by 2025, as follows:

Maureen Blanc, Director of Charge Across Town, noted that raising consumer awareness of existing EV infrastructure remains a major hurdle to EV adoption, citing Charge Across Town’s 2014-2017 data showing uneven progress in home charging options, different types and levels of charging, and charging station availability both regionally and across the state. While 66 percent of respondents said they were very familiar with EVs’ low operating costs, 46 percent cited both diminishing “range anxiety” (down from 60% in 2014) and “more charging stations” (up from 32% in 2014) as factors that would persuade them to buy an EV.  A 2017 informal survey of Leadership Group member companies revealed that EV charging infrastructure is having a positive impact on employee retention.  Identifying barriers to implementation can help SVLG member companies retain employees and identify barriers to implementation in other areas of society.

For more information regarding the Leadership Group’s support of the accelerated deployment of ZEVs and EV charging infrastructure, please contact Heidi Sickler, Director, Energy and Environmental Policy, [email protected]

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