The new proposed federal infrastructure plan will invest $14.5 billion in Electric Vehicle (EV) charging and fleet conversion over the next eight years. Specifically, this spending will target installing half a million EV chargers and replacing 35,000 standard buses with electric buses in school districts across the county. In addition, FedEx, Walmart, and Amazon are converting their delivery fleets to EVs. Not to be outdone, Biogen (a Massachusetts neuroscience company) announced they would provide home EV chargers at no cost to their employees. This comes as states and utilities are promoting EVs as part of their clean energy strategies. With this emphasis on the widespread deployment of EVs comes the need to understand how effective the spending and education efforts are working. Like a road map that has plotted where you have traveled, the collected data can show not only how far you have traveled but how efficiently you arrived at your destination. The best method to accomplish this is to examine the data. However, the data needs to be collected and stored here before it can be studied.
For EV programs, like DSM programs, the data can inform you if the program design is working and help target areas of improvement. There will be a need to report results to regulatory authorities and other parties. As in other market transformation efforts, EV programs target consumers with education and information. Webpages and program staff can provide consumers with what to look for in purchasing EVs and related charging equipment. Consumers should then be able to make the EV purchase and submit for incentives. Using data collected from the outreach efforts and comparing them to paid incentives will indicate whether the design is effective. Conversely, the data will show if additional outreach efforts are needed. Data can also support commitments made to ensure an equitable distribution of program benefits. Today, programs are not only seeking to deploy a large number of chargers and EVs but also ensuring they are being installed in specific neighborhoods. It is not uncommon for programs to focus on multifamily buildings or other public areas. Being able to document where the EV incentives and charging equipment were paid or installed will be essential to report to program stakeholders.
Accurate and timely data will inform if you are making good time towards the program goals. Having a robust tracking and reporting system will be as vital to EV programs as they are to DSM programs. Recently, ANB Systems has deployed eTRACK+ with three northeast utilities to support them in their EV programs. eTRACK+ will integrate with other utility systems to create a unified system of record where installation and usage data is contained in a central repository. Knowing where you have been till now will be extremely useful in determining where you are going.
Written by – Michael Stockard
Michael Stockard is an independent consultant at Stockard Energy Advising and is a member of the Advisory Panel at ANB Systems. Michael has over 40 years of experience in the design and implementation of demand-side management programs.