Are Utility Grids Ready for Electric Vehicles?

Research Team: Alan Jenn (lead), Tim Lipman, Scott Moura, and Gil Tal

UC Campus(es): UC Berkeley, UC Davis

Problem Statement: As the sales of electric vehicles (EVs) ramp up to meet both the Governor’s explicit goal of 5 million EVs on the road by 2030 and California’s decarbonization targets in 2045 and 2050, the necessary charging infrastructure will have substantial impacts on the electricity grid. As both the state and federal governments invest in charging infrastructure for EVs, it is uncertain if this financial support extends to upstream electricity supply infrastructure, and uncertainties also remain about the extent of upstream support that is needed.

Project Description: This project will address policy questions about the infrastructure that’s needed to support EVs at the grid distribution level, and it will also provide guidance regulatory agencies and utilities about what’s localized electricity system needs The researchers will (1) investigate the magnitude of distribution infrastructure upgrades that will be required to meet the California’s transportation electrification goals, (2) assess California utilities’ readiness to meet the distribution upgrade requirements of widespread EV use, and (3) estimate the order-of-magnitude costs associated with upgrade requirements and how they will be borne by state residents.

Status: In Progress

Budget: $59,985