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EV sales are exploding. Here’s how utilities can keep up — and why you should care

There will be more than 20 million electric vehicles driving on US roads by 2030. The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) has released a new report, “Planning for an Electric Vehicle Future: How Utilities Can Succeed,” which details how utilities across the US can — and must — prepare to meet the rapidly growing charging needs of all those EVs.

The SEPA utilities report “identifies opportunities for utilities to minimize infrastructure challenges, improve internal planning and forecasting methods, and provide best-in-class customer service.”

SEPA draws the report from a combination of an industry survey and insights from utility experts. Bottom line: All utilities should be preparing now for a major rise in EVs. The report goes into detail about ways to do so.

SEPA utilities report — 6 key findings

  • EV adoption presents an opportunity for utilities to increase customer engagement and be seen as a champion of positive change.

  • Utilities must streamline processes and organization structures and create new business models to support EV rollouts.

  • Utilities need to plan ahead to minimize grid impacts from an increasing number of megawatt-scale public, corridor, fleet, and private charging sites, and invest in infrastructure planning to prepare for EV charging infrastructure grid upgrades.

  • Right-sizing EV charging infrastructure is crucial to avoiding unnecessary project delays, cost, and grid impacts.

  • Expected EV infrastructure upgrade costs will drive new economic models, requiring discussions with stakeholders to begin early.

  • Utilities should identify opportunities to incorporate load management, including managed charging and rate design and encourage the creation and broad adoption of open protocols.

Erika Myers, principal of transportation electrification at SEPA, said:

Electric vehicles offer a tremendous opportunity to integrate more clean energy into our fuel mix by increasing electricity demand and utilizing the EV batteries for vehicle-grid integration. By eliminating barriers for EV infrastructure rollouts, we are laying the groundwork for a better future.

Knowing that an electrified transportation future is in the best interest of utilities and society, this report loudly proclaims: Be prepared and be proactive.

In other words, utilities need to step up to support electric vehicle owners because the numbers are rapidly growing. Utilities’ proactivity not only supports EV owners, it helps everyone by promoting green energy and reducing carbon emissions. Encourage your electric company to pursue these policies with tweets, emails, letters, and phone calls.

Photo credit: Max Lederer/Unsplash

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.