The balance between the supply of, and the demand for, publicly available EV charging stations is out of whack in California. This means that over 200,000 electric vehicles currently roaming the state are trying to charge at only 12,557 charging connectors at 3,474 publicly available charging stations (Alternative Fuels Data Center, April 2017). Queue the competition - cars unplugged before they are done charging, aggression over parking spots and the demotion of plug-in hybrids to second class citizens since they have a gas “back-up”.
This is a familiar chicken-and-egg problem - more stations encourage more EV drivers, and more drivers drives the demand for more stations and so on. Under this rationale, the steep growth curve many industry experts expect to see in the next 10 years starts to be less of an estimate and more of a reality.
The stations to support these future electric cars aren’t cheap and they won’t appear overnight. Although we have several companies, utilities, and organizations on the case*, they aren’t moving quickly enough to satisfy the demand that is already there.
So, either we wait as stations are slowly installed, OR we get access to stations that already exist but we don’t have access to yet…
(And no, we aren’t just talking about Tesla’s Supercharger Network)
You’ve heard about it before - cars, spare bedrooms, extra storage space - all are being shared these days, helping someone make an extra buck and helping someone else save money on a usually pricey alternative. So why not apply the same framework to charging stations?
Let me explain... 81% of electric vehicle drivers in California charge at home with access to either an outlet or a full Level 2 charging station and they typically only use it between 33% and 50% of the time (8-12 hours a day). With 200,000 plus EV drivers on the road in California today, we can estimate at least 162,000 of them have charging infrastructure at home and only use it half the time. In a day and age that is all about optimizing efficiency - this is almost embarrassing.
But, imagine if all of those home charging stations were brought out of hiding and opened up to the public? What would 162,000 more charging points would mean?
That is 13 times more public charging stations for current drivers to use and future drivers to be aware of when they end up at the dealer and find themselves deciding between an EV and a gasoline vehicle. That number would really get California somewhere in terms of meeting Governor Brown’s goal to have 1.5 million zero emissions vehicles on the road by 2025.
Now sharing has its challenges. If you have participated in the sharing economy over the past few years, whether through Airbnb, Zipcar or another company, you know there are few things you need to do to get it right. There needs to be transparency, accountability and security between all parties. You also either need to be making or saving money. So although there are challenges, the potential of what it would mean for the EV industry and our environment to to tap into this hidden world of charging and increase the amount of charging infrastructure so drastically would have enormous positive impact.
If you are interested in being a part of this solution in your own community, check out more here.
*All three investor owned utilities in California have received approval from the state to launch pilot projects to install public charging stations in their jurisdictions, from 3,500 stations in SDG&E’s case to 7,500 stations in PG&E’s case. In addition, the West Coast Electric Highway will be expanded in California, largely through a $8 million grant from the California Energy Commission. This will result in hundreds more DC fast chargers installed along along the I-5, State Route 99 and U.S. Highway 101. Plus there will be $1.2 billion in funding for EV charging infrastructure that will be coming California’s way from the VW settlement. These programs are designed to stimulate the EV market, further increasing demand of EV charging.
Written by: Kelsey Johnson
Mobility - the ability to move freely and easily from point A to point B. That sounds nice, but when was the last time your work commute was described as “free” and “easy”? Yeah…. that’s what we thought. If you are like most Americans – your commute has actually increased by 20% over the past 35 years. Free and easy mobility is officially becoming a luxury of the past.
In Shared, autonomous and electric vehicles!
This is the vision held by many in Silicon Valley for our future transportation needs, but what does this actually look like in execution? And how close are we really to this seemingly “Jetson-like” reality?
On the shared front, we are looking pretty good. Uber and Lyft did a lot of the leg work here in order to get a large portion of the population comfortable with the idea of sharing vehicles. The real question is how many of us will be able to comfortably move away from car ownership altogether and rely exclusively on shared fleet vehicles run by a ride-hailing services?
Will these solutions be enough to push future generations to give up the concept of car ownership completely? I mean we are Americans after all. The answer to that question is one part dependent on the density of where people will live and one part dependent on how well the second, autonomous, part of this equation ends up working out.
A fully autonomous vehicle where you never touch the steering wheel, brakes or gas pedal, is still at least a few years out, but not as far out as you might think….2021 is the year Ford claimed it would roll out such a vehicle and Tesla has made even bolder goals within the next year. Although Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Tesla have been the leaders on the autonomous train for some time now, the pursuit of the technology is truly catching momentum as vehicles are starting to be officially tested on our roads and highways.
But, as the reality of autonomous technology hitting the road sinks in, the gap in policy and regulation has become more evident. The policies and regulations put in place on the state and federal level will greatly impact how soon we see fully autonomous vehicles on the road by. Most industry stakeholders are betting that once the technology (and corresponding policies) are in place there will be rapid adoption of shared, autonomous vehicles in fleets throughout the U.S. However, the adoption of a fully autonomous vehicle as a personal automobile will be further out due to cost limitations.
So, ‘shared’ is largely already achieved and ‘autonomous’ is well on its way. That leaves us with electric – the cherry on top of an already pretty picture of the future – vehicles that you don’t have to own, will take you anywhere you need to go AND will cost you less than gas to get there.
The advantages of pursuing electric in conjunction with shared and autonomous vehicles is the ultimate trifecta and here is why. Not only does it reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, but when you bundle an electric vehicle with the shared and autonomous components, you make it even more appealing by solving many of the challenges associated with electric vehicles today. For example, some electric vehicles are out of the price range of many, but if an electric vehicle is shared and utilized more often – the cost of ownership is reduced substantially by more people using it. In addition, the idea of taking more than 10 minutes to charge becomes less of a barrier, because when the vehicle is low on charge it can just be dispatched to the nearest charging station and another fully charged vehicle can take its place.
Overall, with shared and autonomous vehicles hitting the streets, fewer vehicles will be on the road, thus increasing mobility and making it easier for more people to get from point A to point B. Add electric vehicles into the mix and not only we will be getting places faster, but we will breathe easier with cleaner air. Now that’s a future everyone can get behind.
Written by: Kelsey Johnson
The electricity grid is old, and arguably the “weakest link” in our transition to a clean energy future. In the last decades our nation’s electricity demand has drastically changed (more phones, more TVs, means much higher demand for power), but the way we deliver that electricity has changed very little. This difference has made it increasingly challenging to achieve a balance between the supply of electricity and the demand of electricity across the country.
Too much demand + Not enough supply = Blackouts
Too much supply + Not enough demand = Wasted resources
Achieving the fragile energy balance needed to avoid blackouts and wasted resources is made even more difficult when intermittent renewable energy is thrown into the mix, like when excess solar energy is generated during the day in California, or excess wind power is created at night in Oklahoma.
So how can we deal with this difficulty? With world energy consumption expected to increase 56% by 2040, we’re increasingly looking toward energy storage to relieve pressure on our aging electricity grid.
Energy storage in the form of batteries is one solution at the forefront of innovation. For this reason, utilities across the country are installing megawatts worth of batteries in order to store extra energy when it isn’t needed. But large batteries are expensive and cumbersome.
What if instead, we could use existing batteries for storage, say those that already exist in electric vehicles? This thought has brought another, potentially cheaper option for energy storage to the table over the past few years - Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology.
V2G allows electric vehicles to store electricity from the grid when there is an excess (via battery charging) and send electricity back to the grid when supply is coming up short - say at 5pm on a hot summer day when everyone and their mothers have their AC’s blasting. The state of California has been particularly excited about the potential of V2G, with the largest fleet of electric and partially electric vehicles in the US and a goal to have 1.5 million zero emissions vehicles on the road by 2025. California also has complementary goals of achieving a 33% renewable portfolio standard by 2020, meaning 33% of the electricity you use would be produced by renewable sources. All these goals combined line California right up to strongly benefit from the adoption of V2G technology.
California has a Vehicle-Grid Integration Roadmap which has prompted several cutting edge pilot projects aimed at developing the technology needed for widescale V2G implementation. For example, PG&E and BMW’s ChargeForward Pilot Program, Southern California Edison’s Vehicle to Grid Pilot at the Los Angeles Air Force Base and UC San Diego’s EV Storage Accelerator Project, are all in the process of proving the capabilities of V2G technology, while also addressing the outstanding barriers of V2G integration.
But there remain 3 main challenges with V2G integration:
Technology: There are high costs to integrating the necessary hardware and software components to make V2G work. At the most basic level, the vehicle needs to communicate to the charger, which needs to communicate to the grid and visa versa. This necessitates a web of wiring and network connections that are as complicated as they are expensive to execute.
Consumer Behavior: As with most new technologies, the consumer is king and their preferences will dictate the success of V2G in the long run. A prerequisite for V2G actually working is having EV drivers who are willing to have their batteries discharged if/when demand for electricity spikes. Generally, once plugged in, drivers don’t want to come back to their vehicles with less range than what they started out with - talk about range anxiety! Therefore, getting drivers to participate in large scale V2G charging will require lots of communication with drivers as well as giving them the ability to not have their vehicle discharge - say if their dog just ate something weird and they need to get to the vet ASAP.
Also, providing drivers money for participating in V2G will help recruit early adopters - the question is what’s the minimum a driver would be willing to accept to participate? And how does that cut into the savings achieved by implementing V2G over other potential storage solutions? The jury is still out here.
Charge Time: Finally, as EVs move into the mainstream with higher range models like the Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Bolt, the demand for faster and faster charging will only increase. Ultimately people want their EV to charge as quickly as it would take a gas car to fuel up, or faster. This trend spells bad news for V2G. If a vehicle is plugged in for less than 30 minutes getting a quick charge, there isn’t enough time, or flexibility for the vehicle to send electricity back to the grid. In fact, the demand for faster charging requires even more electricity, thus increasing the imbalance and putting even more strain on our aging grid infrastructure.
V2G does have a lot of potential, hence why projects around the state and nation are being funded with millions of dollars to iron out these kinks and prove the technology. But, if the drivers themselves don’t bite...we’ll have to go back to the drawing board.
As an EV driver, would you be willing to participate in V2G - i.e. let your car’s energy be discharged (with your permission) when it was needed? What would you need to know/get/earn in order to hop on the V2G train? Let us know in the comments!
Written by: Kelsey Johnson
Gasoline cars have been around for 132 years (since 1885!). So, hypothetically we should all be experts by now, right? Even though most of us use a car almost every single day, we still find ourselves asking “what the heck part is the mechanic talking about now?” when we drag ourselves into the dealership after that darn indicator lights pops up on the dashboard.
So it’s no surprise that electric vehicles, the new(er) kid on the block, also have a whole vocabulary associated with them. Although EVs have far fewer parts (and thus, less maintenance overall) compared to gasoline cars, here are a few terms you should know - either as a driver of an EV - or just someone who likes to know how things work...
1. Onboard Charger - Making the magic happen.
This baby is a piece of hardware that converts alternating current (AC) electricity into direct current (DC) electricity. AC electricity is used in our homes and practically everywhere else. Nikola Tesla was a huge fan of it. By comparison, DC electricity is far less common and was actually Thomas Edison’s jam. Tesla and Edison actually had a pretty epic feud over trying to convince the world which was better - AC or DC electricity. The fact that AC now rules most of our world today shows Tesla was clearly the winner. History lesson complete.
So, when you charge an EV, the electricity comes into your vehicle from the outlet as AC electricity. The onboard charger then converts it to DC electricity in order to be conveniently stored in your battery until you are ready to use it. Poof. Magic.
Perhaps most importantly, the capacity of the onboard charger controls how fast your battery fills up with electricity when you plug it into charge. Many EV manufacturers offer multiple onboard charger capacities, the bigger the more expensive. If speedy charging is important to you, consider upgrading now to save yourself time in the future.
2. Li-ION Battery - So hot right now.
Lithium ion batteries (also known as Li-ION batteries) are the main player in the EV world these days. Li-ION battery technology has reached such high popularity because they're some of the most energetic rechargeable batteries available. Interestingly, just a few years ago nickel-metal hydride batteries were all the rage, but were really only used in hybrid vehicles. That being said, don’t count nickel-metal hydride out of the game, or any other type of battery for that matter! With the projected growth of the electric vehicle industry, we can expect to see a range of new types of batteries and maybe some familiar, but revamped, types hitting the market over the next 10-15 years.
3. kW vs. kWh - The importance of an ‘h’.
The capacity of an EV battery is measured in kWh (kilowatt-hours) and tells us how much energy the battery can store and then give to the electric motor. For example, a 2017 Nissan LEAF has a 30 kWh battery, which means the battery can provide 30 kW worth of power to the electric motor for one hour before needing another charge. KWhs define the amount of energy stored, and kilowatts (kW, aka 1,000 watts) define is the amount of power flowing at one point in time. In the EV case these kWs are flowing into the electric motor to drive the car forward. Therefore, you can think about kW usage in terms of your speed at any given moment and this is capped at the capacity of the electric motor installed in your EV (80kW for a Nissan Leaf for example). So while you could use 80 kW of power at any moment to drive your Nissan LEAF, in reality, you won’t - unless you’re ripping down the Autobahn at +100 mph. Your actual power usage will constantly vary and is largely dependent on your lead foot and how much you like air conditioning.
Now we know how electricity gets into the battery and what is looks like when it gets there, but how does the electricity actually get out of the battery? That brings us to our next term...
4. Inverter - Giving us the POWER.
When you are ready to stomp on that accelerator pedal, the DC electricity being stored in your battery is then converted real quick back into AC electricity by the inverter. That AC goodness is then shot over to the electric motor, which then starts to move your little electric wheels forward at an impressive rate. We’ve all heard of the Model S’s “ludacris mode”, but even a Nissan LEAF (the Pope’s choice EV) still packs a good punch off the line because of the instant torque of an electric motor. The overall efficiency of an inverter in changing DC to AC electricity is actually directly related to the range of the vehicle and will be a key area of focus as EV technology improves into the future.
5. Regenerative Braking - A free lunch! Really!
Arguably one of the best things about an electric vehicle is its ability to capture the energy created by braking and put it right back into the battery to use later. When you are driving along the energy needed to move the car forward travels from the battery to the motor to the wheels. But when you brake, the process reverses. Energy from your wheels is sent back to the motor. The motor then runs in reverse mode, slowing the car’s wheels down while also acting like an electric generator, producing electricity instead of consuming it. That produced energy is then stored in the battery. This is the main reason for why people who drive around more urban settings all day (read: LOTS of starting and stopping) tend to not have to charge as often as someone who is driving on freeways/highways all day - they are getting all sorts of free energy from braking so much!
6. Charging Network - Options, options, options!
So now that we have covered much of what is going on inside the electric vehicle itself - let’s talk about how to charge them. There are several options for charging electric vehicles these days - ranging from in your own garage, to your office building, to your neighbor’s driveway! And the options are only increasing as the networks of charging stations grow, making it easier and easier for electric vehicle drivers to find the best charging option that suits them.
Looking for the fastest charge possible when you are on a road trip? Check out EVgo’s network of DC fast chargers. Need a to find a station near your grocery store? PlugShare aggregates almost all publicly available charging stations in one application. Or if you need something more consistent, something you can reserve on a daily/weekly basis - EVmatch provides an online platform that matches you with the perfect station for your schedule.
Did we miss any key terms? Let us know!
Written by: Kelsey Johnson
Since Day 1 of trying to power a car with electricity, people have argued whether electric vehicles are better for the environment than cars powered by gasoline. At first glance, the answer seems obvious - duh, the electric ones. They don’t even have tail pipes! No tail pipes means no bad stuff coming out and into my lungs, right? Right…..?
Turns out, this is a pretty complicated question to answer. In fact, lots of people have spent LOTS of time trying to figure it out. The best way to answer this question is by counting and comparing all the “bad stuff” (aka greenhouse gas emissions) a car puts into the air throughout its whole “life”. A car’s “life” starts when it is nothing but a bunch of different metals and plastics waiting to be molded into parts. The emissions created by producing all these parts is where we can start counting. And we can continue to count as the car is fueled up, driven tens of thousands of miles, and finally, when it is crushed into a little box and buried in a landfill (or if its lucky, parts of it get recycled).
Electric vehicles live a very different life than a gasoline car, so comparing the environmental impacts between the two must be done across the entire car's life cycle.
In fact, there are two major differences that impact how much bad stuff they put into the air. First, the electric vehicle has one major part a gasoline car doesn’t - a big ol’ battery. This battery is much bigger than the battery found in a gasoline vehicle and therefore requires comparatively more resources to manufacture. The more resources used to make something, the more emissions are created and released into the air in the process. But does this mean the gasoline car actually emits less greenhouse gas emissions than an electric vehicle throughout its whole life?
The answer actually lies in the second major difference between the lives of the two types of vehicles - how they are fueled. We all have an idea of where the gasoline we use for cars comes from. It was pumped out of the ground somewhere in the world, refined a bit, shipped to the gas station you are currently standing at and then dispensed into your car. All while you wonder whether that hot dog advertisement in the window is actually “real beef”. Your car then burns the gas to make it go forward and spits the leftovers out of its tail pipe.
An electric vehicle, on the other hand, is “fueled” by electricity that is generated from several different locations and in several different ways. Once the electricity is generated, either by burning coal/oil/gas or by capturing solar/wind, it is then sent to the “grid” - i.e. the network of power lines strewn across the country. Because the electricity is coming from several different locations and sources, the amount of emissions entering the air varies.
So, although after you charge an electric vehicle and you start driving it there are no “tail-pipe” emissions, the stuff going into the air from when the electricity was initially generated still needs to be counted as an environmental impact.
The good news for electric vehicles is that electricity overall throughout the country is becoming “cleaner” – i.e. less bad stuff is making into the air when the electricity is made. This is largely because of the dramatic increases in solar and wind powered energy that have been popping up around the country. In fact between 2015 and 2016 the U.S, saw a 191% increase in solar power installations! The even better news is that research out of the University of California, Santa Barbara has shown that even if coal, the dirtiest of all fuels, was the primary source of electricity powering an electric vehicle throughout its whole life, an electric vehicle would still send 22% less bad stuff into the air than your average gasoline vehicle, such as a Toyota Camry.
Source: University of California, Santa Barbara, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, EVmatch Master’s Thesis
Now obviously, it isn’t ideal to drive an electric vehicle when the electricity is coming straight from a coal-burning power plant, but the point is, that scenario is still better in terms of emissions than your average gasoline vehicle.
So, our initial gut reaction was correct - electric vehicles put less bad stuff into the air over their lifetime compared to gasoline cars.
And this is true regardless of (1) their batteries (which are increasingly recycled and reused in several ways) and (2) how the electricity is produced to fuel them. Less bad stuff means they are not only better for the environment, but also for our health! #killinit
If you want more evidence of electric vehicles killing it, check out these other studies and resources:
Written by: Kelsey Johnson
Many are aware of the federal and state incentives for purchasing clean vehicle technologies, where drivers can save up to $10,000 on the purchase price of an electric vehicle.
But what some don’t know is that there are also federal, state, and local electric utility incentives for installing electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE), including home charging stations.
A variety of policies are designed to incentivize the installation of EV fueling equipment, including residential Level 2 (240V) EV charging stations.
Home charging station incentives are a bit more complicated and vary by state and utility provider. Below we’ve broken down the basics about the options available to California residents. If you don’t live in California, Clipper Creek has also done a great job of summarizing the incentives for states across the nation.
Home Charging Station Incentives Overview
FEDERAL: The Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit program offers a tax credit to homeowners equal to 30% of the cost to purchase and install electric fueling stations. Permits and inspection fees are not included in eligible costs.
CALIFORNIA: Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing allows homeowners to borrow funds to install a variety of energy improvements in their homes including EV charging stations. The PACE loan terms and amount are determined by a special property assessment of the individual’s home. PACE programs are run locally. Check with your municipality to see if they offer PACE financing.
ANAHEIM PUBLIC UTILITIES: Offers Personal Use Electric Vehicle Charging Station Rebates to residential customers who install Level 2 (240V) charging stations in their homes, pending fund availability.
BURBANK WATER AND POWER: Offers Residential Charging Station Rebates to customers who install Level 2 (240V) charging stations in their homes.
PASADENA WATER AND POWER: This incentive is for customers who install a Level 2 (240V) “wall mounted” or “hardwired” charging station at their residence.
Larger utility companies including SCE, SDG&E, and PG&E all offer rebates for EVSE installations, but only for commercial buildings and/or multi-unit dwellings. These utility companies are also heavily invested in their own public charging infrastructure programs that are currently already approved (SCE and SDG&E) or pending approval (PG&E).
Installing a home charging station may or may not be the best option for you, even given the suite of incentives laid out above. The cost of the station itself plus its installation is roughly $1,000 but can be much higher if your home requires an electrical upgrade or new conduit. If you don't plan on staying in your home for the next few years, it may not be worth the investment or the hassle.
On the other hand if you are a renter, multi-unit dweller, or you don't have a designated parking spot, you probably won't be able to install a home charging station.
No matter what side of the equation you fit into - home station owners or EV drivers without home charging - EVmatch is a resource for you. We allow communities to share existing charging resources and support more EVs on the road.
As worldwide electric vehicle (EV) sales are expected to grow exponentially over the next decade, an important question is raised: What will be done with used EV batteries? Once the vehicle’s battery packs have reached the end of their life, their disposal raises general space and transportation challenges, as well as concerns about their environmental and human health impacts.
These concerns may be somewhat exaggerated in the minds of general consumers. “Battery waste” sounds terrifying - rightly so, as traditional lead-acid batteries are highly toxic and unsafe for landfills. But lithium-ion batteries (Li-ION), which are used in the majority of EVs, are actually not considered toxic, and can be disposed of in a landfills.
This is a bit deceiving as lithium is still a highly reactive element. Rarely these battery packs have burst into flames upon failure. But overall the benefits of Li-ION technology outweigh the concerns, leading to their widespread adoption in EVs over other available battery technologies.
An arguably bigger problem for landfill disposal of EV batteries is actually space. With nearly 1 million lithium-ion batteries on the road today weighing over 600 lbs. each, and local landfills already nearing capacity, there simply isn’t enough room to “dispose” of all these batteries in this way.
But no EV battery should end up in a landfill,
from an environmental but also economic perspective.
Used EV batteries still hold major value,
even when they aren’t strong enough to power vehicles.
Over time EV batteries lose their ability to hold a charge, almost like a used sponge just can’t hold as much water. How long this actually takes depends on a variety of factors, but roughly an Li-ION EV battery might last 100,000 miles or 5 years of typical driving. At this point though, the battery can still hold ~80% of its charge, which lends these batteries to a variety of other uses.
Used EV batteries can be repurposed to store energy for homes, commercial buildings, and even electric utilities. As more electricity is produced from renewable sources including wind and solar, repurposed EV batteries become valuable assets in capturing and holding electricity at the time of production.
Several major utility companies are contracting with auto manufacturers to explore ways they can utilize repurposed EV batteries to deal with critical storage issues. Better energy storage can help utilities avoid the high cost of turning on “peaker plants”, power plants that are run occasionally only to meet peak electricity demand. Plus, the renewable energy stored in batteries is far better for the environment than energy produced by natural gas peaker plants.
Both GM and Nissan have also piloted projects to repurpose their vehicles’ Li-ION batteries. GM used Volt batteries to help their Enterprise Data Center become more energy independent. Nissan used Leaf batteries to help offset peak electricity demand. There are also a variety of small startups and student projects that are creating innovative uses for repurposed EV batteries including Freewire and Sunset Power.
But yes, eventually after these second, third, fourth life applications have all been exhausted, the battery reaches a point where it’s no longer useful and must be disposed of. At this point, 70+% can be recycled with current recycling processes, depending on the battery’s unique composition. What isn’t recycled is sometimes used as fuel in the furnace to melt down the valuable metals.
Lithium-ion battery recycling can result in zero waste to landfills, but is only economically feasible at high volumes. This super efficient recycling process will be profitable to recycling companies once there is a more steady input stream of Li-ION batteries for them to work with. This will come in just a few years once the first half million current EV adopters begin to retire their vehicles.
Interestingly, the most valuable metal to recycle in the Li-ION battery is not lithium. Nickel, cobalt, and iron are of much higher value, while lithium is actually cheaper to mine than to recycle. However, again the cost of lithium recycling will go down as recycling volumes increase.
Regulation will play an important role in battery recycling in the future, but currently lags behind the market. There are no clear federal regulations mandating a recycling process for Li-ION batteries from EVs. While widespread regulation is inevitably on the horizon, currently market forces and environmental activism are driving the private sector to invest in recycling Li-ION batteries.
The proper disposal of lithium-ion batteries is a valid concern. However, this new challenge is being met by the creation of a new and profitable market opportunity in Li-ION battery recycling, which will continue to increase efficiency in the battery recycling process, furthering the benefits of going electric.
California's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP) now incentivizes lower income individuals to purchase clean vehicles.
The CVRP has increased the EV rebate amount for low-income consumers by $500, bringing it to up to $4,500 for EVs, $3,500 for PHEVs, and $7,000 for fuel cell vehicles.
Lower income areas also often suffer from the worst air quality and stand to benefit the most from the increased adoption of EVs, which are more efficient and have less life-cycle emissions than their gasoline counterparts. In addition, electrifying transportation shifts emissions from mobile nonpoint sources (tailpipes) to point sources (power plants), which are easier to regulate and less exposed to humans. The environmental and human health benefits are further magnified as electricity becomes increasingly decarbonized in California.
On the other end, now high-income consumers will no longer be eligible for CVRP rebates for EVs or PHEVs. The idea is that revised state rebate policies will persuade people to purchase EVs that otherwise wouldn't have been able to afford "going electric." In the past, the CVRP received criticism for using state funding to help wealthy individuals purchase luxury EV models they would likely purchase anyways, without the rebate incentive.
EVmatch can help get EVs on the road in lower income communities as well by making it cheaper and easier to power them. Our service helps communities share residential charging stations, which cost on average $1,000+ including installation. Through EVmatch individuals can find, reserve, and pay for charging and can get the ease and reliability of home charging anywhere.
EVmatch will soon launch in Los Angeles, California, a region consistently facing some of the nation’s worst air quality. Getting more EVs on the road in LA can create real health benefits for local residents, particularly in dense lower income neighborhoods.
Sources: Charged EVs and California Air Resources Board
Photo Credit: latimes.com
US District Judge Charles Breyer is expected to make a decision regarding the approval of the $15 billion Volkswagen settlement as soon as this afternoon. The deal is designed to mitigate the environmental damage from the half a million dirty diesel vehicles the company sold between 2009 and 2015. If approved, it would dedicate $2 billion to finance EV education programs and charging infrastructure, $800 million of this in California alone. This is over 10x the amount the current leading company in charging infrastructure, Chargepoint, has raised to date for its own infrastructure development.
The EV industry is deeply divided as to whether this new player forced into the game with deeper pockets than anyone before will have a positive or negative impact on the electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE) market as a whole. Many companies including Chargepoint, argue the new agreement would demand VW dominate the market for charging infrastructure and handpick "winners" and "losers", selecting only a handful of technologies and pouring money into them. Twenty-eight companies and organizations recently submitted a letter to the Department of Justice in opposition of the settlement.
Others such as EVgo, explain that VW's large expansion of the EVSE market will benefit everyone, including the industry, by spurring but not completing the transformation in infrastructure needed to support the coming number of EVs on the road in the next decade.
Overall, the settlement would certainly benefit the environment, by exponentially growing the infrastructure that supports EVs, thereby inducing the purchase of these cleaner vehicles and mitigating harmful air pollution from the transportation sector. However, within the EVSE industry, the game would change as a new king steps onto the court and essentially selects his winning team mates. Ideally, the settlement will contain regulations on how many companies receive VW's funding, and that number would be large enough to grow, not destroy the existing competitive forces within the EVSE market.