DOE, EEI to advance electric vehicle technologies

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Today, during a speech at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) Annual Convention in New Orleans, LA, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Energy and EEI, strengthening collaborative action to accelerate plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) and charging infrastructure deployment.

Building on the DOE’s EV Everywhere Grand Challenge to develop plug-in electric vehicles by 2022 as affordable as a 2012 gasoline-powered vehicle, this partnership advances mutual interests to increase the economic, environmental and national security benefits of using electricity as a transportation fuel and expanding the electric vehicle market by bringing electric utilities directly into the fold.

This targeted approach builds on the momentum of electric vehicle sales, which have jumped 128 percent from 2012-2014, by coordinating the DOE’s EV Everywhere Workplace Charging Challenge with EEI’s new Employee PEV Engagement Initiative to increase electric vehicle readiness, especially in the workplace.

The partners will also commission a study to examine the future national economic impacts of electric transportation and the effectiveness of utility investments in electric transportation related activities.

“The U.S. transportation system produces a third of the country’s carbon emissions, making it essential that we improve plug-in electric vehicle technology and increase their numbers on the road,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “Today’s announcement enhances the kinds of private-public partnerships needed to remain at the forefront of advanced vehicle technologies that reduce our emissions and provide safe, reliable transport for the American people.”

“The electric power industry is a tremendous leader in moving the electric transportation market forward, and we are excited to work with our federal partners to bring about the economic, environmental, and security benefits of transportation electrification,” said EEI President Tom Kuhn. “Transportation electrification benefits electric utility customers, while also bolstering America’s energy security and sustainability. These are priorities our industry shares with our government partners.”

“Today’s Memorandum of Understanding with the nation’s electric power industry allows the Department of Energy to tap into the experience and scale of an industry that is truly leading the way in moving the electric vehicle market forward,” said Kate Brandt, Federal Chief Sustainability Officer at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. “The federal government is doing its part too, and will benefit from this partnership. Executive Order 13693, Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade, directs Federal agencies to reduce their fleet wide per-mile greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2025 and to ensure that by 2025 half of all new passenger vehicle acquisitions are for zero emission or plug-in hybrid vehicles.”

Formed with the understanding that moving from gas-powered to plug-in electric vehicles will require adjustments at every level of government, the partnership will work with other federal agencies, including Department of Transportation (DOT), General Services Administration (GSA), Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and the White House. The agreement will also encourage collaboration with states to break down barriers to electric-powered driving and expand electric vehicle opportunities in communities across the country.

The partnership will also explore opportunities for utilities to engage with the Department’s Grid Modernization Laboratory Consortium to better understand how electric vehicles impact the electric grid and to use the labs for RD&D, testing, and analysis.

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