Is your City getting ready to support PHEV/EVs? Here are some questions to ask...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Is your City getting ready to support PHEV/EVs?  

If not, you've got less than one year before several auto manufacturers aggressively start selling PHEV/EVs in the US.  Although it might seem simple to hang a EV charger on the wall, there's far more to it than that.  How much different depends on how forward-thinking your city officials are, as cities that have a sustainable vision will create and execute a plan that ensures that EVs will be adopted quickly and smoothly.

If you haven't visited the Rocky Mountain Institute's (RMI) "Project Get Ready" website yet, you should check it out ASAP. 
This smart group of people have amassed a nice tool set, including plans, calculators, and best practices that will get you started off on the right foot.  To help get you started, here's a link to their getting started guide.  RMI has also partnered with several cities which are committed to the successful rollout of EVs...and you can learn from their experience by talking to their project managers.

Here are a few questions you can ask utilities and governments to get the inside scoop on how they are preparing for supporting PHEV/EVs in 2010...

Questions for Utilities
  • How is your utility planning to support PHEVs/EVs in this area?
  • How does your utility see the grid impact of PHEVs/EVs in the area over the next 5 years?  Will our grid be at risk by supporting PHEVs/EVs?  Do you see a peak capacity problem?
  • How important is it for your utility to control/limit service (Demand Side Management - DSM) to PHEV/EV charging stations in an area to limit risk to grid?
  • What number of Level 2 charging stations does your Electrical Utility consider it to be a large enough installation that you would like DSM implemented?
  • Does your utility plan to change pricing or rate structure based on assumed PHEV/EV adoption?
  • When does your utility plan to implement Vehicle to Grid (V2G) in the area?
  • Does your utility plan to introduce Solar Powered charging stations in the future?
  • Does your utility impose any steps on permitting/installation for a residential Level 1 or Level 2 charging system (separate meter, verifications, etc.)?  What about a commercial installation?
  • Does your utility have a person or website that prospective EV owners (business or residence) can go to get more information about
  • Does your utility plan to incent businesses of certain sizes to utilize charging stations with DSM?
  • Given that electric utilities have the most to gain by a transition to PHEVs/EVs, how does your utility plan to manage the successful adoption of them? 
  • Given that utilities have the most to lose by a poor transition to PHEVs/EVs by way of risk to grid, how does your utility plan to manage that risk?  (with other stakeholders)
  • How will the adoption of PHEVs/EVs affect your disaster planning/response (evacuation)?
Questions for Governments
  • How do see the adoption of PHEVs/EVs in your area (commercial and residential)?
  • How are you planning to support PHEVs/EVs in this area?
  • Are you planning to deploy a fleet of PHEV/EVs?  When?  What type? Etc.
  • Do you plan to adopt/encourage/mandate PHEV/EV busses, trucks, taxis?
  • Do you have a project manager assigned to help coordinate EV Infrastructure deployment between stakeholders (utilities, gov’t, business, residents)?
  • Do you plan to encourage/mandate installations of EV charging infrastructure in new construction?
  • Are you planning to deploy public EV chargers?  How many, Where, When, What Type, How paid…
  • Are you applying for any grants (e.g. ARRA) for help with EV Infrastructure?  Are you following RMI’s Project Get Ready guidelines?
  • Does your area have any goals for PHEV/EV adoption to help with GHG/Pollutant/Carbon  emission reduction?
  • Do you plan to encourage businesses (fleets) or residents to adopt PHEV/EVs?
  • Do you have a defined permitting process for charging stations yet?   If so, what’s the charge for the permit and how long should it take?   FYI: Permits cross several lines of government to install, including Planning, Police (enforcement of EV parking spaces), and Public Works
  • How will the adoption of PHEVs/EVs affect your disaster planning/response (evacuation)?