A Roadmap to Electric Vehicle Ecosystems
By Bill Moore
The Electrification Coalition, comprised of senior corporate executives from FedEx's Fred Smith to Nissan's Carlos Ghosn and NRG Energy's David Crane today announced the release of a 170+ page Electrification Roadmap, the objective of which is to see the eventual introduction of 200 million electric cars on America's streets and highways by 2040, shifting 75% of all light duty vehicle miles traveled (VMT) away from petroleum fuels to electric power.
In order to achieve a goal of this magnitude, the Coalition is proposing the establishment of electric-vehicle friendly "ecosystems," starting with 6-8 American cities, with competition for selection based on the International Olympics site selection model. They envision two-phases to the rollout with phase one described as "primarily as a proof of concept and data collection exercise."
The goal is primarily to take advantage of economies of scale in a handful of cities to deploy relatively large numbers of GEVs in order to build consumer confidence and accelerate the learning process. The lessons learned in those communities will help other cities determine how much charging infrastructure is necessary and where it should go, when drivers will charge their vehicles, how much they are willing to pay to charge their vehicles, to what extent their charging patterns will be affected by the price of electricity, and what business models might be most successful.For a learning "exercise", phase one sets some pretty ambitious goals with each city seeing the deployment of between 50,000 and 100,000 grid-connected electric vehicles (GEV) by 2013. The Coalition believes, "massing that many vehicles in a limited number of communities will prove that GEVs can work at scale and allow researchers to generate a large enough data set to evaluate GEV usage patterns."
Spread over even six cities at the lower 50,000 vehicle rate, means that between now and 2013, manufacturers would have to produce 300,000 GEVs. Assuming production doesn't reach full scale until 2011, that's just two years -- 2011 and 2012 -- to get a mix of battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles on the road. If you include the Volt at 10,000 in 2011 and 60,000 in 2012, that's 70,000; leaving Nissan, Think, Coda, Tesla, Fisker and others to make up the difference. It could be done, but it would also require unparalleled cooperation between all the carmakers to focus their marketing efforts on those early EV ecosystem communities.
Phase two envisions the "wide-spread deployment of GEVs to levels needed to achieve the goals of 14 million GEVs on the road by 2020 and more than 120 million GEVs on the road by 2030." Under this strategy, the number of EV-ecosystem cities expands from the original 6-to-8 to an additional 20-to-25. The number of GEVs in each city also grows -- while the cost of batteries continues to decline with scale -- to upwards of 150,000 vehicles. Notes the Roadmap's authors...
This level of deployment would place the nation on a path to deploy approximately 7 million gridenabled vehicles on the road by 2018, consistent with the national goals set out in Part One of the roadmap. By the end of phase two, the nation will be on target to reach Milestone One, in which 25 percent of new lightduty vehicle sales are grid-enabled vehicles.In order to jumpstart the creation of these EV ecosystems, the Coalition makes a number of recommendations for both phase one and phase two, nearly all involving federal tax credits.
|Phase One||Phase Two|
|Create position of Assistant Secretary for Electric Transportation at the Department of Energy||Adjust consumer tax credits for GEVs and standardize them across phase one and phase two ecosystems|
|Modify plug-in electric drive vehicle tax credits by significantly increasing them for vehicles purchased and registered in phase one ecosystems||Adjust tax credits for public charging infrastructure to approximately 50 percent of the cost|
|Establish tax credits equal to 75 percent of the cost to construct public charging infrastructure in phase one ecosystems||Adjust financial support to 20 percent of the cost for IT upgrades for utilities or power aggregators to sell power to GEVs|
|Extend consumer tax credits for home charging equipment|
|Establish tax credits equal to 50 percent of the costs of the necessary IT upgrades for utilities or power aggregators to sell power to GEVs in phase one ecosystems|
To measure the progress of the Roadmap, the Coalition set two milestones: by 2020 5% of the light duty vehicle fleet will be GEVs; by 2030 42% of the LDV fleet will be GEVs. At this pace, 70% of the fleet will be GEVs and 75% of all vehicle miles traveled (VMT) will be electrified, with the majority being in battery-electric vehicles as opposed to plug-in hybrids, as the chart below indicates.
Further the Coalition urges the federal government to focus its efforts and funding on electrification of the light duty fleet rather than it current strategy of supporting multiple alternative fuels. While it's likely to raise the hackles of alternative fuel advocates and business interests, the Roadmap argues that only electrification will "revolutionize America's light-duty fleet and end oil dependence."
Ultimately, as the post-press conference panel discussion highlighted, the success of the roadmap depends on convincing Americans that it is in their economic interest to invest in GEVs. As one panelists noted, car buyers think in terms of monthly payments, not life cycle costs or even pennies per mile. The GEV alternative has to provide the same level of service, reliability, affordability and convenience as the petroleum-fueled competition, and preferably more so for it to be accepted.
In more than 170 pages, the Roadmaps makes a very strong case for this highlighting all the key issues, though it doesn't address the electrification of public transit, focusing almost exclusively on private automobiles; perhaps a pragmatic acknowledgement that getting American's out of their cars and into public transit will be as nearly impossible as getting Congress to raise the price of gasoline.
Below is a television commercial the Coalition is broadcasting in the Washington, D.C. market to draw attention to the importance of shifting to electric vehicles. EV World also recorded the press conference, which you can listen to in MP3 format.
ADDENDUM [25November 2009]: The entire press conference and panel discussion is now available on YouTube.