​RAP’s definition of beneficial electrification asserts that an electrified end use must satisfy at least one of the following conditions, without adversely affecting the other two:

  1. Saves consumers money over the long run;
  2. Enables better grid management; and
  3. Reduces negative environmental impacts.

The market for electric vehicles (EVs) is growing rapidly, driven by declining battery costs and improved performance, and utility customer demand for EV charging will likewise continue to grow. EVs can convert 60 percent of the energy they draw from the grid into miles traveled, compared with internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, which convert only about 20 percent of primary energy to the same purpose. Because of this efficiency, EVs can be significantly less costly and less polluting to operate. Controlled EV charging also can serve as a resource for grid managers.

This report, the final installment of our Electrification in the Public Interest series, considers the technology and policy context associated with adopting electric passenger cars and transit buses. It explores key factors affecting the build-out of charging infrastructure and compares and contrasts ICE emissions to EV emissions in varying power system fuel mixes. It then delves into the policy considerations needed to ensure that electrified transportation is beneficial, including integrated planning, rate design for charging, the status of third-party charging providers, and initiatives to extend EV benefits to customers at all income levels. ​