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February 24, 2020
Retail Industry Leaders Association Investigates Electrifying Fleets
Source: EV Hub
The business case for electrifying vehicle fleets is improving and major retailers are looking for independent analysis on transportation electrification. According to a 2017 report from the United States Department of Transportation, roughly 80 percent of freight is carried over distances less than 250 miles. These vehicles are primary candidates for electrification and companies including Ikea and Walmart are capitalizing on the opportunity to electrify their supply chains by ordering electric and zero emission trucks from a range of automakers.

Despite interest and early commitments to transportation electrification, retailers face several barriers to EV deployment. We have recently completed a report in collaboration with the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES), David Gardiner and Associates (DGA), and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) In order to further understand these challenges. The report includes an assessment of the total cost of ownership (TCO) for electric trucks under a wide range of scenarios and found that access to low-cost charging, in particular through the use of depot charging stations owned by fleet owners, and utilization of public vehicle incentives are the primary factors impacting the profitability of fleet electrification.

Charging infrastructure deployment is a key barrier to rapid acceleration of freight sector electrification and the study found that access to low-cost charging was a primary factor for improving the value proposition of EV adoption for retailers and shippers. Access to inexpensive charging was assumed in more than 98 percent of the scenarios where EVs achieved cost competitiveness with conventional models. Depot charging, where fleets own and operate their own charging infrastructure, helped fleet operators keep charging costs low by avoiding public charging fees. This also offers fleet operators greater control over charging, reducing vehicle downtime.

Retailers and shippers can also benefit from electric utility investment in EV truck charging infrastructure as well as rate design that allows for reduced demand charges and off-peak charging rates for EVs. So far, electric utilities have been approved to invest more than $676 million in programs including a focus on truck fleet electrification. Almost all of this investment is concentrated in California.

High upfront costs were also identified as a primary barrier to truck fleet electrification. Costs remain high for many electric truck models at this early stage of market commercialization. More than 70 percent of scenarios where EVs achieved cost competitiveness with conventional fuel models included some form of public incentive for purchase. States like California and New York that are leading on electric truck deployment have both established voucher incentive programs to substantially reduce the price gap between conventional and electric models. These programs are highly popular among private fleet operators and the California Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project is currently oversubscribed after receiving requests for its entire $142 million budget for 2020. To date, public agencies have invested more than $194 million in electric trucks, more than 90 percent of which falls in California. Almost all of the remaining public sector investment in electric trucks comes from the New York Truck Voucher Incentive Program.

Private companies and state policymakers will likely continue to lead the charge on truck fleet electrification as the Trump administration makes moves to limit the ability of states to set tougher emissions standards. In addition to public funding, states can look to California’s efforts to establish the first-of-its-kind electrification requirements for trucks for examples of policy leadership. Companies in states without strong government support for truck electrification can still influence the implementation of electric utility programs and apply for funding through the VW Settlement.

In addition to electrifying their fleets, retailers are also looking to support transportation electrification efforts by hosting light-duty EV charging infrastructure for customers visiting their stores. Stay tuned as we will be conducting an analysis on business models for retail charging stations along with our partners in the coming months.
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See Our Paper on Public Charging Investment

This brief provides an overview of the historical and current state of government, private sector, and electric utility investment in publicly available charging infrastructure in the United States. With increasing funding available from both the electric utility and government sectors, charging service providers and related stakeholders have a significant, near-term opportunity to grow the public EV charging network in the United States and reduce the dependency on government subsidization over time.

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EV Hub News

National Grid and Oregon DOT Seeking Vendors for EV Charging Programs

In Massachusetts, the electric utility National Grid in Massachusetts has issued an RFI in order to execute residential off-peak charging rebate program. The survey seeks vendors that could provide charging data from varying technologies. The Off-Peak Rebate will pay customers a fixed per-kWh rate for charging their EV during the hours of 9 p.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. The survey will be open until February 28th and an RFP will be issued afterwards. 

In Oregon, the Department of Transportation is hosting a pre-proposal webinar to provide an overview of a new funding opportunity. Public agencies in the state are providing funding to upgrade and enhance Oregon’s network of 44 charging stations available as a part of the West Coast Electric Highway Initiative with new, dual-protocol, DC fast charging capability. The upgrades will allow fast charging using CHAdeMO or CCS connectors at each of the 44 sites. The pre-proposal webinar will be held on April 20th at 10:30 a.m. PST. Read More Here

2020 Federal Low or No Emission Program Funding Available

On January 17, 2020, the Federal Transit Adminsitration (FTA) announced the opening of the 2020 Low or No Emission (Low-No) Program. Under this cycle. approximately $130 million will be available for transit agencies in all states to go towards the purchase or lease of low or no emission vehicles as well as related equipment or facilities.

The main purpose of the Low-No Program is to support the transition of the nation’s transit fleet to the lowest polluting and most energy efficient transit vehicles. The Low-No Program provides funding to State and local governmental authorities for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, including acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities. Since 2015, the Low-No Program has awarded almost $350 million for ZEV transit buses and supporting equipment. This year’s allocation will be the largest amount of yearly funding to date. Proposals are due by March 17, 2020. Read More Here

DOE Announces $133 Million to Accelerate Advanced Vehicle Technologies Research

The U.S. Department of Energy announced up to $133 million in new and innovative advanced vehicle technologies research.  This funding supports research that will lead to more affordable, efficient, and secure transportation energy. Funded through the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, this funding opportunity supports projects in advanced batteries and electrification in support of the recently announced DOE Energy Storage Grand Challenge.

This FY 2020 funding opportunity also supports priorities in advanced engine and fuel technologies including technologies for off-road applications, lightweight materials, new mobility technologies (energy efficient mobility systems), and alternative fuels technology demonstrations. Read More Here

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Below are current job openings in transportation electrification: If you have a job posting you would like to share with EV Hub users, please send them to us in an email at
Upcoming Events

The fourth Annual 3 Revolutions Policy Conference has a cross-cutting theme of Climate and Equity. Key issues include data sharing, micromobility adoption, automated vehicle governance, ridehailing emission policy, and the evolution of public transit. The conference will tackle these challenges, and more, by highlighting strategies and innovative solutions. This year’s conference will engage voices from a diverse set of stakeholders, including members of disadvantaged communities, commercial drivers, land-use experts, energy utilities, tech companies, and elected officials. Read More Here.

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