National Academies Press: OpenBook

Overcoming Barriers to Electric-Vehicle Deployment: Interim Report (2013)

Chapter: Appendix B--Statement of Task

« Previous: Appendix A--Committee Biographical Information
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B--Statement of Task." Transportation Research Board and National Research Council. 2013. Overcoming Barriers to Electric-Vehicle Deployment: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18320.
Page 62
Suggested Citation:"Appendix B--Statement of Task." Transportation Research Board and National Research Council. 2013. Overcoming Barriers to Electric-Vehicle Deployment: Interim Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18320.
Page 63

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Appendix B Statement of Task An ad hoc committee will conduct a study identifying the market barriers slowing the purchase of electric vehicles (EVs, which for this study include pure battery electric vehicles [BEVs] and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles [PHEVs]) and hindering the deployment of supporting infrastructure in the United States. The study will draw on input from state utility commissions, electric utilities, automotive manufacturers and suppliers, local and state governments, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, federal agencies, and others, including previous studies performed for the Department of Energy (DOE), to help identify barriers to the introduction of electric vehicles, particularly the barriers to the deployment of the necessary vehicle charging infrastructure, and recommend ways to mitigate these barriers. The study will focus on light-duty vehicles but also draw upon experiences with EVs in the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle market segment. Specifically, the committee will: 1. Examine the characteristics and capabilities of BEV and PHEV technologies, such as cost, performance, range, safety, and durability, and assess how these factors might create barriers to widespread deployment of EVs. Included in the examination of EV technologies will be the characteristics and capabilities of vehicle charging technologies. 2. Assess consumer behaviors and attitudes towards EVs and how these might affect the introduction and use of EVs. This assessment would include analysis of the possible manner by which consumers might recharge their vehicles (vehicle charging behaviors, e.g., at home, work, overnight, frequency of charging, time of day pricing, during peak demand times, etc.) and how consumer perceptions of EV characteristics will impact their deployment and use. 3. Review alternative scenarios and options for deployment of the electric vehicle infrastructure, including the various policies, including tax incentives, and business models necessary for deploying and maintaining this infrastructure and necessary funding mechanisms. The review should include an evaluation of the successes, failures, and lessons learned from EV deployment occurring both within and outside the United States. 4. Examine the results of prior (and current) incentive programs, both financial and other, to promote other initially uneconomic technologies, such as flex-fuel vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, and now PHEVs/BEVs to derive any lessons learned. 5. Identify the infrastructure needs for the electricity sector, particularly the needs for an extensive electricity charging network, the approximate costs of such an infrastructure, and how utility investment decision making will play into the establishment of a charging network. As part of this assessment, the committee will identify the improvements in the electricity distribution systems needed to manage vehicle charging, minimize current variability, and maintain power quality in the local distribution network. Also, the committee will consider the potential impacts on the electricity system as a whole, potentially including: impacts on the transmission system; dispatch of electricity generation plants; improvements in system operation and load forecasting; and use of EVs as grid-integrated electricity storage devices. 6. Identify the infrastructure needs beyond those related to the electricity sector. This includes the needs related to dealer service departments, independent repair and maintenance shops, battery recycling networks, and emergency responders. 62

7. Discuss how different infrastructure deployment strategies and scenarios might impact the costs and barriers. This might include looking at the impacts of focusing the infrastructure deployment on meeting the needs for EVs in vehicle fleets, where the centralization of the vehicle servicing might reduce the costs for deploying charging infrastructure or reduce maintenance issues, or focusing the infrastructure deployment on meeting the needs for EVs in multi-family buildings and other high-density locations, where daily driving patterns may be better suited to EV use than longer commutes from single family homes in lower density areas. This might also include looking to the extent possible of how the barriers and strategies for overcoming barriers may differ in different U.S. localities, states, or regions. 8. Identify whether there are other barriers to the widespread adoption of EVs, including shortages of critical materials, and provide guidance on the ranking of all barriers to EV deployment to help prioritize efforts to overcome such barriers. 9. Recommend what roles (if any) should be played by the federal government to mitigate those market barriers and consider what federal agencies, including the DOE, would be most effective in those roles. 10. Identify how the DOE can best utilize the data on electric vehicle usage already being collected by the department. The committee's analysis and methodologies will be documented in two NRC-approved reports. The study will consider the technological, infrastructure, and behavioral aspects of introducing more electric vehicles into the transportation system. A short interim report will address, based on presentations to the committee and the existing literature, the following issues: 1. The infrastructure needs for electric vehicles; 2. The barriers to deploying that infrastructure; and 3. Optional roles for the federal government to overcome these barriers, along with initial discussion of the pros and cons of these options. The final report will discuss and analyze these issues in more detail and present recommendations on the full range of tasks listed in Items (1) to (10) for the full study. The final report will include consideration of the infrastructure requirements and barriers as well as technological, behavioral, economic, and any other barriers that may slow the deployment of electric vehicles, as well as recommendations for mitigating the identified market barriers. It is envisioned that the committee will hold meetings in different locations around the United States, as well as collect information on experiences in other countries, in order to collect information on different approaches being taken to overcoming the barriers to electric vehicle deployment and its supporting charging infrastructure. 63

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The electric vehicle offers many promises—increasing U.S. energy security by reducing petroleum dependence, contributing to climate-change initiatives by decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, stimulating long-term economic growth through the development of new technologies and industries, and improving public health by improving local air quality. There are, however, substantial technical, social, and economic barriers to widespread adoption of electric vehicles, including vehicle cost, small driving range, long charging times, and the need for a charging infrastructure. In addition, people are unfamiliar with electric vehicles, are uncertain about their costs and benefits, and have diverse needs that current electric vehicles might not meet. Although a person might derive some personal benefits from ownership, the costs of achieving the social benefits, such as reduced GHG emissions, are borne largely by the people who purchase the vehicles. Given the recognized barriers to electric-vehicle adoption, Congress asked the Department of Energy (DOE) to commission a study by the National Academies to address market barriers that are slowing the purchase of electric vehicles and hindering the deployment of supporting infrastructure. As a result of the request, the National Research Council (NRC)—a part of the National Academies—appointed the Committee on Overcoming Barriers to Electric-Vehicle Deployment.

This committee documented their findings in two reports—a short interim report focused on near-term options, and a final comprehensive report. Overcoming Barriers to Electric-Vehicle Deployment fulfills the request for the short interim report that addresses specifically the following issues: infrastructure needs for electric vehicles, barriers to deploying the infrastructure, and possible roles of the federal government in overcoming the barriers. This report also includes an initial discussion of the pros and cons of the possible roles. This interim report does not address the committee's full statement of task and does not offer any recommendations because the committee is still in its early stages of data-gathering. The committee will continue to gather and review information and conduct analyses through late spring 2014 and will issue its final report in late summer 2014.

Overcoming Barriers to Electric-Vehicle Deployment focuses on the light-duty vehicle sector in the United States and restricts its discussion of electric vehicles to plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), which include battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The common feature of these vehicles is that their batteries are charged by being plugged into the electric grid. BEVs differ from PHEVs because they operate solely on electricity stored in a battery (that is, there is no other power source); PHEVs have internal combustion engines that can supplement the electric power train. Although this report considers PEVs generally, the committee recognizes that there are fundamental differences between PHEVs and BEVs.

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