The electric vehicle revolution may finally be under way, but where and when EVs are arriving is the big question for electric cooperatives.
To provide answers, NRECA and the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, have developed an EV Toolbox, an interactive web tool for modeling EV adoption and charging demand.
The system uses vehicle registration data to determine EV ownership in different ZIP codes, then draws on additional demographic information to extrapolate growth and use. U.S. EV sales doubled in 2021, a year when overall car sales were flat, while still accounting for only 4.3% of new car sales. Analysts expect demand to continue growing but note it will differ significantly by locale.
“Not every co-op is going to be impacted by electric vehicles in the same way,” says Brian Sloboda, NRECA’s director of consumer solutions. “Some co-ops are going to have very small adoption. Others could very easily see half the vehicles in their service territory be electric in the next 15 years."
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The EV Toolbox allows co-ops to test a range of adoption and use scenarios. Combined with NRECA consumer segmentation tools that provide insight into member priorities, the toolbox can help a co-op plan for EV adoption and charging demand in its territory, Sloboda says.
It’s being tested by two generation and transmission cooperatives, Old Dominion Electric Cooperative (ODEC), based in Glen Allen, Virginia, and Central Electric Power Cooperative in Columbia, South Carolina. Erin Puryear, ODEC manager of member services and energy innovation planning, says the G&T wants to make sure its co-ops have data to help them make any necessary system upgrades as EVs become more common.
“The infrastructure is going to have to be able to handle these loads,” Puryear notes, adding that preparing to meet both residential and public charging growth will be vital.
“If our co-ops are going to be providing public charging, we want to make sure they’re located in the right locations.”