Beyond the Meter - Season preview - Smart Energy Decisions

Beyond the Meter - Episode 2: Corporate Deployment Of EV Charging Infrastructure

Corporate Deployment Of EV Charging Infrastructure with Rob Threlkeld and Craig Noxon  


Naturally, as any consumer technology becomes available to the public, the supporting infrastructure has to be developed right alongside. That’s the only way it can become widely accepted. But it’s not as easy as “just doing it.” There are many obstacles, financial hurdles, and unforeseen difficulties that have to be overcome. This conversation dives into what’s happening behind the scenes in the electric vehicle industry to deploy EV charging infrastructure across the nation.

John’s guests are Rob Threlkeld and Craig Noxon. Rob is the Global Manager of Sustainable Energy, Supply, and Reliability at General Motors, one of the many automotive suppliers leading the way toward EV adoption. Craig is Vice President of Enterprise Sales at REC Solar, a Duke Energy company. Both men have a unique insider’s view of what’s happening to build out the infrastructure necessary for wider adoption of electric vehicles, so be sure you listen to hear what’s happening on the ground across the nation to promote the purchase and use of electric vehicles.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:10] The increasing demand for EV infrastructure - what’s your experience?
  • [7:06] Obstacles in meeting the demand for EV infrastructure
  • [11:09] How retailers can benefit from investing in EV charging infrastructure
  • [13:13] Can commercial fleet electrification overtax the electrical supply?
  • [23:33] What could accelerate adoption of Electric Vehicle infrastructure?
  • [37:00] The hot topics to watch over the next few years
  • [41:00] Final thoughts: Corporations and individuals need to get involved

Retailers can gain an advantage by investing in the EV charging infrastructure

Many businesses across the country are noticing the advantages that can be had by providing EV charging stations at their retail locations. When customers who own and drive electric vehicles have a place to park and recharge their vehicles, it naturally follows they will frequent the establishment that provides it - and make purchases there.

In retail, that's worth noticing. Anything that produces a competitive advantage is going to be seriously considered. Rob and Craig discuss how retailers, automakers, and local utilities are working together to roll out more EV charging stations at retail locations, on this episode of Beyond the Meter.

20 million EVs on the road in the next 10 years - what will that require from an energy perspective?

As more and more electric vehicles hit the road, many things will be needed to both support and sustain the shift away from traditional fossil fuel vehicles. What sort of things need to happen?

  • There will undoubtedly be Increases the amount of energy that utilities must provide for EV use

This means that infrastructure decisions and innovations must be top of mind now so that when the demand arrives, we’ll be able to meet it.

  • The demand for EV infrastructure will continue to grow

It’s not only the electrical suppliers that need to think about the infrastructure - employers, corporations, and even leaders of municipalities need to be involved, taking steps to ensure that the technology and innovation needed to serve their communities is happening. Demand drives supply - always.

  • Storage issues will need to be considered

Imagine the energy demand required if a good majority of those 20 million EVs were charging at the same time. Would the electrical supply chain be able to handle it? It will if we think ahead about the storage needs required to pull it off. We need to ensure that energy produced during “non-peak” times can be stored effectively and economically so that it can be used during peak times - which means the storage technologies we have now need to be improved and increased across the board.

EV as a service could be a very real possibility in the near future

One of the most encouraging things happening around the move to electric vehicles is that partnerships between energy suppliers and automotive manufacturers are being formed to help consumers make the transition. Plans are being considered to provide “EV as a service” to interested consumers.

These agreements - much like a traditional automotive lease - would potentially provide not only the vehicle, but also the energy, access to the charging infrastructure, and more. Imagine it - consumers would be able to receive a complete EV solution from one provider.

The “sharing economy” might come into play as well. Conversations are happening around the idea of “stranded assets” such as fully charged electric vehicles that are sitting idle, being used to provide electricity back to their local utilities, for other users to “borrow,” and more. Listen to learn some of the great ideas being considered.

What to expect 18 months from now

The move to EVs is happening rapidly. That means many more changes could happen in just the next few years. As the conversation wrapped up, John asked his guests what they see coming in the next 18 to 24 months.

Both agree that more electric vehicles will be on the road, more will be offered by a wider variety of auto manufacturers, and additional investments in battery technologies will be made, enabling batteries to be produced with decreased costs.

At the same time, the challenges of scaling EV infrastructure will become evident. As demand increases, cracks will be discovered in the existing infrastructure that will have to be addressed. And, many strong players in the industry will emerge and begin to lead the way toward innovation and further changes. 

Finally, John believes that a more solid and definitive business case for the electrification of commercial fleets will be made within the next few years. Data, showing the benefits of fleet electrification will begin to have an affect. That will lead to more definitive and strong plans by utilities to support fleet conversions.

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Rob and Craig

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