Early adopters are now bringing plug-in electric vehicles to the roads in small numbers, while manufacturers anticipate steadily rising growth over the next decade. Electric vehicle success will in part depend on whether consumers can plug vehicles in and charge them when and where they need to. Customers will need charging stations in their homes and readily available in common public locations such as workplaces, parking garages, and parking lots. To accommodate large electric vehicle charging loads as sales grow, utilities may need to upgrade electric distribution systems, add capacity, and introduce pricing options that encourage off-peak charging so that growing loads do not exacerbate peak demand. Smart grid technologies such as advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) are key enablers of electric vehicle adoption by allowing charging station integration with time-based rates that encourage off-peakcharging. AMI metering also allows utilities to analyze charging station usage and charging behaviors based on time of use to inform investment decisions
How long will existing electric distribution infrastructure remain sufficient to accommodate demand growth from electric vehicles, and when and what type of capacity upgrades or additions may be needed?
While market projections are uncertain, many of the world’s major auto manufacturers are now producing or introducing a variety of electric vehicle models, with the expectation a few million electric vehicles on the road within the next decade. All six utilities featured in this report will continue to assess the results of their evaluations and consider next steps for electric vehicle charging and related activities. ("Evaluating Electric Vehicle Charging Impacts and Customer Charging Behaviors" US Department of Energy)