Electric Vehicle Grid Integration in the U.S., Europe, and China: Challenges and Choices for Electricity and Transportation Policy
Widespread electrification of the transportation sector holds the promise of greater vehicle efficiency and lower emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and other air pollutants. Many governments around the world have identified electric vehicles (EVs) as a cornerstone of transportation sector emission control strategies, alongside other efforts to reduce per-mile emissions from conventional vehicles, by improving technology and creating new standards for liquid fuels. This report examines key drivers of EV adoption in three regions – the United States, the European Union, and China – with an emphasis on vehicle charging scenarios and infrastructure. The authors identify insights about the choice of charging infrastructure in each region that will both maximize benefits to consumers (thus helping to drive EV adoption) and maximize benefits to the grid from greater EV use. Consideration is also given to mitigating potentially negative impacts on the grid, which could include increased peak loads, over-stressed local distribution networks, and increased air emissions from electricity generation. The report also examines how these optimal scenarios differ by region, and makes recommendations for policies and electricity regulations that will make realization of grid benefits from EVs more likely.