As a result of rapidly falling battery prices, electric vehicles (EVs) are expected to play an important role in decarbonizing the nation’s transportation sector. Already more than 1 million EVs have been deployed in the United States. Ownership could continue growing rapidly in the coming years, but only if this emerging technology is adequately supported at the local, state, and federal level. WRI-US is leveraging its global network of technical experts to support this transition through work on: 1) decarbonization pathways and standards; 2) integrating vehicles into clean electric systems; and, 3) electric vehicle purchasing programs.
Transportation decarbonization pathways and vehicle standards
Long-term scenario planning coupled with robust economic analyses can help inform decisions around the appropriate pace for transitioning vehicle fleets towards zero-emission technologies. Leveraging insights from these analyses, WRI engages on relevant federal and state programs, including: greenhouse gas and efficiency standards for vehicles, zero-emission vehicle standards, low-carbon fuel standards, and purchase incentives. This includes work looking at the appropriate role of state, federal, and local governments in supporting the adoption of zero emissions vehicles through our New Climate Federalism project.
Integrating vehicles into clean electric systems
EVs are two to three times more efficient than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles and have no emissions at the tailpipe. When and where they charge, however, will affect how much it costs to supply the electricity they use and how much overall emissions are reduced.. Several utilities, automakers, cities and EV charging providers across the U.S. are rolling out new pilot programs and services that allow residential and commercial customers to use more renewable energy for their EV’s electricity needs, and charge at times that lower electricity system costs and help integrate more renewable energy sources on the grid. We are also seeing the emergence of vehicle-to-grid technologies, which take those efforts one step further and allow electric vehicles to serve as a grid energy storage resource. This not only can enhance the grid’s ability to accommodate ever increasing shares of renewables, but also can play a valuable role in improving community resilience. WRI works to support utilities, cities and EV charging providers across the U.S. as they develop and implement new programs and services to allow residential and commercial customers to better integrate vehicles into a clean electric system.
Electric vehicle purchasing programs
Government agencies and businesses can play a major role in supporting the transition to a zero-carbon transportation system by transitioning their own car, truck, and bus fleets to electric vehicles. WRI works with cities around the world to support the deployment of electric vehicles. This includes buses, whose electrification can provide significant health, climate, and resilience benefits.