Garage of the Future: Supporting America’s New Refueling


DENVER, March 10, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The transition to electric transportation will require more than just dealership sales. Electric cooperatives, homebuilders and other community stakeholders will need to prepare for the expected influx of electric vehicles (EVs) with new or improved electric distribution assets and sufficient infrastructure for vehicle charging. home and public.

Electricity generation systems in the United States are equipped to adequately support the transition to electric vehicles. However, it is less clear that the distribution system is ready to deliver the 30% increase in mass adoption of EV electricity. Widespread uncontrolled load, whether from members of residential or commercial power cooperatives, could inevitably overwhelm local systems, according to a new report from CoBank.

“The challenge for electricity cooperatives is determining when member drivers will charge their electric vehicles and how to influence that point of charge,” said Teri Viswanath, chief energy economist at CoBank. “The good news is that research into community charging behaviors indicates that there will be a lot of charging flexibility and that co-ops will be able to vary the charging charge of electric vehicles up or down, balance load and maintain system stability.”

Pricing signals such as time-of-use tariffs could influence pricing behavior and shift loads during periods when system cost is low. Offering an EV-specific electric rate to engage members, both residential and commercial, could encourage such load shifting, Viswanath added.

The biggest opportunities for growth in electricity demand from EV adoption are home charging. According to the US Department of Energy, more than 80% of EV charging today takes place at home, where EV owners have installed their own chargers. Besides heating and cooling equipment, electric vehicle charging will consume the most energy in a home, likely increasing household load by up to 40% depending on miles traveled.

For home charging, the key for cooperatives will be to spread out charging overnight. And, while there’s likely to be less flexibility with billing at work and fewer options for retail outlets, pilot projects that involve sending intraday price signals to trading establishments could expand the field of load flexibility options.

While most electric vehicle charging takes place in residential garages, thoughtful planning of the location of public chargers could be an economic boost for local businesses, keeping an even larger share of consumer spending in the community.

The additional revenue that electricity cooperatives derive from community charging will eventually offset the increased investment needed for new and improved distribution assets. However, that investment is needed now, putting electric co-ops under pressure to manage growth as more members finally embrace electric vehicles.

Read the report, Garage of the Future: Supporting America’s New Re-Fueling Station.

About CoBank

CoBank is a $170 billion cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. The bank provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural electricity, water and communications providers in all 50 states. The bank also provides wholesale loans and other financial services to affiliated agricultural credit associations serving more than 76,000 farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers in 23 states nationwide.

CoBank is a member of the Farm Credit System, a national network of banks and retail lending associations licensed to serve the borrowing needs of agriculture, rural infrastructure and rural American communities. Based out of Denver, Colorado, CoBank serves customers from regional banking centers across the United States and has an international representative office in Singapore.


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