White House announced a set of actions from the Federal government, private sector, and states, as well as a new framework for collaboration for vehicle manufacturers, electric utilities, electric vehicle charging companies, and states, all geared towards accelerating the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and putting more electric vehicles on the road.
The collaboration, forged by the White House in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Transportation (DOT), the US Air Force and US Army, and the Environmental Protection Agency, is centered on a set of Guiding Principles to Promote Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure. 46 organizations have signed on to the principles so far.
Under the initiatives announced Thursday in a White House fact sheet, the Department of Energy is putting aside up to $4.5 billion for loans and loan guarantees to companies for innovative charging facility projects.
The Obama administration intends that a national network of electric vehicle fast-charging stations be completed by 2020 — thereby making “coast to coast, nationwide zero emissions travel” a much simpler affair for owners.
During past eight years the number of plug-in electric vehicle models has increased from one to more than 20, battery costs have decreased 70%, and the number of electric vehicle charging stations has increased from less than 500 in 2008 to more than 16,000 today—a 40-fold increase.
The Energy and Transportation departments are teaming up to develop a guide for the federal government’s electric vehicle and charging infrastructure efforts like financing and funding.
DOE and DOT have agreed to partner on the development of a 2020 vision for a national network of fast charging stations for EVs in order to facilitate coast to coast, nationwide zero emissions travel. Building upon DOT’s planned designation of alternative fuel corridors under the FAST Act, DOE and DOT, in cooperation with the DOE National Laboratories, DOT Volpe Center, and other government and industry stakeholders, will commence efforts in fiscal year 2017 to develop criteria that will help identify specific locations for siting fast charging infrastructure adjacent to the DOT-designated national and community corridors. The proposed effort will address four key areas important to evaluating the potential for a national network for fast charging including: (1) siting criteria for charging locations; (2) charging and utility infrastructure needs and cost assessment; (3) impacts of electric demand charges to consumers and utilities; and (4) potential longer-term innovations including evolution up to 350 kilowatt (kW) fast charging. The partnership will address these questions to provide the necessary information for the basis of a dialogue with stakeholders to help define public-private partnerships, funding, and financing models for implementing a national fast charging network. Along those lines, the DOE and DOT will be convening stakeholders this fall to identify critical needs for a national network of fast charging stations.
Expanding the Electric Vehicle Fleet
Inviting State, County, and Municipal EV Fleets to Join Forces with the Federal Government in EV Procurement: The Office of Federal Sustainability is inviting State, county and municipal government fleets to join forces with Federal agencies to maximize their collective buying power, and aggregate their EV and charging infrastructure purchases. In doing so, governments at all levels can lower their procurement costs, expand technology availability, and increase automotive manufacturers’ demand certainty. The Office of Federal Sustainability will partner with government and agency fleet purchasers to coordinate and aggregate the purchasing of EV fleets, with distinct acquisition procurement strategies to be determined. Alone, the federal government plans to purchase more than 500 plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) or EVs in fiscal year 2017.
DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) will be Signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the American Public Power Association (APPA) to Collaborate on Municipal Fleet Electrification: Through this agreement, EERE and APPA will ensure collaborative efforts to enable electrification of personal and fleet transportation in municipalities throughout the United States. EERE and APPA will provide information to increase education and awareness of the benefit of EVs to public power utilities and local officials, and develop a community action plan focused on smaller communities with fewer than 200,000 electric customers. The partnership will also work to enhance workplace charging efforts at public power utilities, study the impacts of EVs in public power communities, and share insights regarding infrastructure installation and EV interaction with the modern grid.
Driving Technological Innovation and Increasing Access to Data
Conducting a Technology Study to Explore the Feasibility for Fast Charging, up to 350 KW, for EVs: DOE will partner with industry, the National Laboratories, and other stakeholders to develop a study that will examine the vehicle, battery, infrastructure, and economic implications of direct current (DC) fast charging of up to 350 kW, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2016. A 350 kW charging system could charge a 200 mile range battery in less than 10 minutes. The implementation of DC fast charging has the potential to impact many technology areas and tackle key technological barriers associated with high rate charging (50 kW and above), and fast charging increases the utility of EVs, aides in their adoption, and helps enable widespread use of EVs.
Announcing that the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) will Lead Research to Achieve the Strategic Battery500 Goal: A multi-partner team, led by PNNL as part of the Battery500 research consortium, will receive an award of up to $10 million per year for five years to drive progress on DOE’s goal of reducing the cost of vehicle battery technologies. Battery costs exceeded $500/kWh when President Obama launched his EV Everywhere Grand Challenge goal of making EVs that are as affordable and convenient for the American family as gasoline-powered vehicles, and low-cost, high performance batteries are a key component of the strategy to attain the President’s goal. The Battery500 Consortium aims to triple the specific energy (to 500 WH/kg) relative to today’s battery technology while achieving 1,000 electric vehicles cycles. This will result in a significantly smaller, lighter weight, less expensive battery pack (below $100/kWh) and more affordable EVs. The Battery500 consortium will include four DOE National Laboratories and five universities in an effort aimed at achieving revolutionary advances in battery performance.