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Project Title:

Overcoming Barriers to Electric Vehicle Deployment
PIN: DEPS-BEES-12-01        

Major Unit:

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
Transportation Research Board

Sub Unit: Board on Energy & Environmental Systems DEPS
Studies and Special Programs Division

RSO: Mantus, Ellen

Subject/Focus Area: Energy and Energy Conservation; Engineering and Technology; Transportation and Infrastructure

Project Scope
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.

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: 

the infrastructure needs for electric vehicles;
the barriers to deploying that infrastructure; and
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.

The project is sponsored by U.S. Department of Energy.
The approximate start date for the project is August 29, 2012.
An interim report is expected to be issued in spring 2013 and the final report in fall 2014.

Project Duration: 28 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 10/28/2012
 Meeting 2 - 12/17/2012
 Meeting 3 - 01/25/2013
 Meeting 4 - 05/08/2013
 Meeting 5 - 08/13/2013
 Meeting 6 - 10/28/2013
 Meeting 7 - 10/28/2013
 Meeting 8 - 10/29/2013
 Meeting 9 - 12/03/2013
 Meeting 10 - 12/10/2013
 Meeting 11 - 02/25/2014
 Meeting 12 - 05/06/2014
 Meeting 13 - 07/16/2014
 Meeting 14 - 10/23/2014


Reports having no URL can be seen
at the Public Access Records Office
Overcoming Barriers to Electric Vehicle Deployment - Interim Report