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An Action Plan to Integrate Plug-in Electric Vehicles with the U.S. Electrical Grid


[1] Formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change

[2] There are significant differences in purchasing, owning, and operating a BEV versus an EREV or PHEV. The Action Plan considers these differences throughout, including the effects on charging infrastructure.

[3] The National Electric Code (NEC) defines EVSE as "[t]he conductors, including the ungrounded, grounded, and equipment grounding conductors, the electric vehicle connectors, attachment plugs, and all other fittings, devices, power outlets or apparatuses installed specifically for the purpose of delivering energy from the premises wiring to the electric vehicle." (

[4]Greene, David. (2008, June 8). Costs of Oil Dependence 2008. Retrieved November 13, 2011, from U.S. DOE Vehicle Technologies Program: (inactive link 7/14)

[5] The largest component of the U.S. trade deficit is the purchase of oil.


[7]EPA.(2007, April). The Plain English Guide to the Clean Air Act. Retrieved January 18, 2012, from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

[8]EPA. (2011). The Benefits and Costs of the Clean Air Act from 1990 to 2020. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

[9]NRC. (2010). Advancing the Science of Climate Change. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.

[10]C2ES (formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change).(2011, January). Climate Change 101: Science and Impacts. Retrieved October 10, 2011, from C2ES:

[11]DOD. (2010). Quadrennial Defense Review. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Defense.

[12] The EPA provides a close approximation of greenhouse gases from the grid at

[13] (Table 1-16)

[14] The Chevrolet Volt and the Ford Focus EV is manufactured in the United States. Nissan expects to manufacture LEAFs in the United States beginning in 2012.








[22] Many of the regulations referred to here are the responsibility of state public utility commissions.

[23] Throughout the Action Plan, public charging infrastructure refers to charging stations that are accessible by the public including those installed on private property.

[24] It should be noted that the regulatory structure for electricity markets varies across the country and what may be considered "best practice" in one state may be infeasible in another.

[25] Technical standards apply to the vehicle charging plug connector as it relates to safety and interoperability, PEV interconnection with the electrical grid such as vehicle-to-grid (V2G), and international harmonization.

[26] This includes costs related to electricity service and distribution system upgrades. The electricity transmission system refers to the high-voltage lines that carry current from power plants. The voltage is then reduced by large transformers at substations, which link the transmission system to the distribution system. The electricity distribution system refers to the low-voltage lines and equipment that deliver electricity to end users at safe voltage levels (such as 120V for residences). Electricity service refers to the components of the distribution system that provide electricity to an individual end user including transformers, power lines, and meters.

[27] V2G is the capability of a vehicle to supply power back to the electrical grid. V2G enables PEVs to provide grid services like meeting peak demand or ancillary services like frequency regulation.Another example is technology that could start and stop battery charging depending on grid needs. Since the impacts of new uses of the vehicle battery are not yet fully understood, it is important to keep this space open for innovation.

[28]SAE.(2011). SAE Charging Configurations and Ratings Terminology. Retrieved May 26, 2011, from Society of Automotive Engineers:

[29] PEVs have on-board chargers capable of charging the battery at 1.2 kW, 3.3 kW, or 6.6 kW, typically. Nissan's second generation LEAF and the Ford Focus BEV will come equipped with an onboard 6.6 kW charger.

[30]A utility could become the sole EVSE provider in an area, which could potentially limit consumer choice and reduce the likelihood that new business models (that could lower the PEV total cost of ownership) would be introduced. On the other hand, utilities could provide PEV services in areas that would not be served otherwise.

[31] Today, there is spare electrical capacity to support millions of PEVs so long as charging is managed.

[32] In general, most excess capacity is available at night, allowing PEV drivers to charge their vehicles conveniently at home.

[33] Texas Transportation Institute estimates traffic congestion costs the United States $100 billion (

[34]Greene, D. (2011, May 28). What is greener than a VMT tax? The case for an indexed energy user fee to finance us surface transportation. Retrieved October 5, 2011, from Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment:

[35] This is true for miles traveled that are only powered by the vehicle's internal combustion engine.


[37] Standards used for EVSE data collection are at

[38] PEV service providers include businesses that supply EVSE and those that provide access to EVSE or battery swapping stations.

[39] The SAE J1772 covers the "general physical, electrical, functional and performance requirements to facilitate conductive charging of EV/PHEV vehicles in North America" (from It does not cover interoperability, which is being handled separately by SAE (

[40] CHAdeMO is a DC fast charging standard created by The Tokyo Electric Power Company, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Fuji Heavy Industries. The CHAdeMO connector is available in the Nissan LEAF. The CHAdeMO connector is a different connector from the SAE J1772 connector used for Level 1 and Level 2 charging.


[42] As the PEV market evolves, PUCs may need to revisit initial decisions on this matter. For example, PUCs may have to rule on existing utility-owned EVSE assets if market conditions change.



[45] Both devices accomplish the same goal; they enable a PEV owner to know PEV-related electricity usage. The difference is in the management and ownership of the device.

[46]The area could be a city or town, county, state, or region.

[47] Given PEV characteristics such as home refueling and a quiet, responsive driving experience, it is unclear if the PEV market will ultimately resemble the hybrid electric vehicle market or not.

[48]Glerum, A., Themans, M., &Bierlaire, M. (2011, July). Modeling demand for electric vehicles: the effect of car users' attitudes and perceptions. Retrieved October 7, 2011, from Transport and Mobility Laboratory: .


[50] Federal fuel tax plus the average state fuel tax is $0.47 per gallon of gasoline. If these taxes were added to the price of electricity on a cents-per mile equivalent basis, electric drive vehicles would cost about $0.06 per mile while a conventional gasoline vehicle would cost closer $0.20 per mile (assuming electricity price is $0.10 per kWh, gas price is $3.50 per gallon including fuel taxes, fleet on-road efficiency average of 17.4 mpg, and PEVs travel 3 miles per kWh).

[51] Heated seats can save energy by reducing the need to heat the vehicle interior.


[53]Turrentine, T. S., Garas, D., Lentz, A., &Woodjack, J. (2011).The UC Davis MINI E Consumer Study. Davis: Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Davis.

[54] Those who do not have access to a garage may be able to substitute workplace charging for home charging.

[55] BEVs that travel less than 20 miles per day could be accommodated by an AC Level 1 charger.

[56] Until battery costs decline substantially, PEVs will carry a higher upfront cost than their conventional counterparts. The operating cost per mile driven is much lower for PEVs, however. Thus, the more miles driven, the more value PEVs provide.

[57] TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) is a "national competition for innovative, multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional transportation projects that promise significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, a region or the nation" (see


[59] BEVs traveling at highway speeds over long distances could spend about one third of the trip waiting to charge (assuming 60 mph, DC fast charging that provides 20 kWh in 25 minutes, and PEVs travel 3 miles per kWh).

[60] The presence of an oil suppliers' cartel leads to oil prices that are higher than they otherwise would be, acting as a drag on economic growth and facilitating a large wealth transfer out of the U.S. economy. For this reason, some economists and energy security experts argue that government should intervene to protect consumers and the broader economy.

[61] Through franchise laws, most states outlaw automakers from selling a new vehicle directly to consumers.

[62] The PEV purchase process described here only involves the acquisition of the PEV, even though the process begins long before a consumer enters an auto dealership. As detailed in Section 6.1, consumers attain most of their knowledge about vehicle purchases online. The Action Plan covers consumer education in Chapter 6.




[66] Without PUC clarity, consumers are at greater risk of incurring surprise costs with installation and operation of their EVSE.


[68] No specifications were available for Coulomb's DC fast chargers at the time of this writing.

[69]R.L. Polk & Co. (2011, February). The Role of the Internet in the New and Used Vehicle Purchase Process. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from

[70]Kurani et al. (2010). Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) Demonstration and Consumer Education, Outreach, and Market Research Program: Volumes I and II. Davis, California: Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis.

[71]TCO takes into account the vehicle purchase cost and operational costs for fuel and maintenance. While the cost of purchasing a PEV is currently higher than purchasing a comparable conventional vehicle, lower fuel and maintenance costs could result in net savings to the vehicle owner over the vehicle's lifetime.

[72]Lipman, T., & Williams, B. (2011).Plug-In Vehicle Battery Second Life Workshop.Plug-In Vehicle Battery Second Life Workshop. Berkeley, California: Transportation Sustainability Research Center, University of California at Berkeley.

[73] See Plug-in Electric Vehicles: Literature Reviewfor an explanation of the different PEV powertrains.

[74] New car buyers tend to split their time evenly amongst third party, automaker, and auto dealer websites.


Updated: 1/31/2017
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