2016 Chevrolet Volt

2016 Chevrolet Volt

The National Research Council released a report titled Overcoming Barriers to Deployment of Plug-in Electric Vehicles. According to the study, the main hurdles standing in the way of improving market adoption of EVs are cost, battery performances and inadequate consumer information.

How do we address these problems?

"Developing less expensive, better performing batteries is essential to reducing overall vehicle cost, and a market strategy is needed to create awareness and overcome customer uncertainty."

There are recommendations in the report that could be beneficial.

Charging. NCR found that the most important charging location is the driver's home, followed by workplace, and only then charging points around cities and least important on interstates. The government should ease the installation of home and workplaces charging points:

"The report says that local governments should streamline permitting processes and adopt building codes that require new construction to be capable of supporting future charging installations, and should encourage workplaces to consider investments in charging infrastructure."

Charging standards. The second part in press release is on eliminating the proliferation of incompatible plugs, which we believe will be harder to do. First, one standard would need to be picked up and then imposed.

A universally accepted method of payment probably would be easier, but we must remember that the gas station business model does not work well for charging stations.

Funny thing is that there still is a need for more research to determine how much public infrastructure is needed and where it should be:

"Through regulatory action, the federal government should eliminate the proliferation of incompatible plugs and ensure that all drivers can charge their vehicles and pay at all public charging stations using a universally accepted method, just as conventional vehicles can be refueled at any gas station.  But the report recommends that the federal government refrain from additional direct investment in the installation of public charging infrastructure until more research has been done to understand the role of public infrastructure in encouraging broader adoption and use of plug-in electric vehicles.  Specifically, the government should fund research to determine how much public infrastructure is needed and where it should be sited to persuade more people to purchase and use such vehicles.  It should also continue to invest in fundamental and applied research to expedite the development of low-cost, high-performance batteries to increase the all-electric range and reduce vehicle cost."

Incentives need to continue. The Tax Credit should be converted to point-of-sale rebate.

"Existing federal financial incentives to purchase plug-in electric vehicles should continue beyond the current production volume limit, the report says.  The federal government should consider converting the federal income tax credit offered to purchasers of plug-in electric vehicles into a point-of-sale rebate, and should work with state governments to adopt a policy in which plug-in vehicles remain free from special roadway or registration surcharges for a limited time.  The government should re-evaluate the case for incentives after a suitable period, considering advancements in vehicle technology and progress in reducing production costs, total costs of ownership, and vehicle emissions."

Here are more recommendations from the report via Green Car Congress:

"The report issues a number of recommendations across a range of areas; together, these are:

  • As the United States encourages the adoption of PEVs, it should continue to pursue in parallel the production of US electricity from increasingly lower carbon sources.
  • The federal government and proactive states should use their incentives and regulatory powers to (1) eliminate the proliferation of plugs and communication protocols for DC fast chargers and (2) ensure that all PEV drivers can charge their vehicles and pay at all public charging stations using a universally accepted payment method just as any ICE vehicle can be fueled at any gasoline station.
  • To provide accurate consumer information and awareness, the federal government should make use of its Ad Council program, particularly in key geographic markets, to provide accurate information about federal tax credits and other incentives, the value proposition of PEV ownership, and who could usefully own a PEV.
  • The federal government should continue to sponsor fundamental and applied research to facilitate and expedite the development of lower cost, higher performing vehicle batteries. Stable funding is critical and should focus on improving energy density and addressing durability and safety.
  • The federal government should fund research to understand the role of public charging infrastructure (as compared with home and workplace charging) in encouraging PEV adoption and use.
  • Federal and state governments should adopt a PEV innovation policy where PEVs remain free from special roadway or registration surcharges for a limited time to encourage their adoption.
  • Local governments should streamline permitting and adopt building codes that require new construction to be capable of supporting future charging installations.
  • Local governments should engage with and encourage workplaces to consider investments in charging infrastructure and provide information about best practices.
  • The federal government should refrain from additional direct investment in the installation of public charging infrastructure pending an evaluation of the relationship between the availability of public charging and PEV adoption or use.
  • To ensure that adopters of PEVs have incentives to charge vehicles at times when the cost of supplying energy is low, the federal government should propose that state regulatory commissions offer PEV owners the option of purchasing electricity under time-of-use or real-time pricing.
  • Federal financial incentives to purchase PEVs should continue to be provided beyond the current production volume limit as manufacturers and consumers experiment with and learn about the new technology. The federal government should re-evaluate the case for incentives after a suitable period, such as 5 years. Its re-evaluation should consider advancements in vehicle technology and progress in reducing production costs, total costs of ownership, and emissions of PEVs, HEVs, and ICE vehicles.
  • Given the research on effectiveness of purchase incentives, the federal government should consider converting the tax credit to a point-of-sale rebate.
  • Given the sparse research on incentives other than financial purchase incentives, research should be conducted on the variety of consumer incentives that are (or have been) offered by states and local governments to determine which, if any, have proven effective in promoting PEV deployment. "

Source: NRC via Green Car Congress