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Southwest Energy Efficiency Project Southwest Energy Efficiency Project

Plug-In Electric Vehicles

Plug-in electric vehicles, (PEV) have the potential to dramatically change vehicle travel in the Southwest (nearly 50 models are expected to be available in the US over the next 3 years.  Here are some of the reasons:    

  • Greater efficiency: Electric motors are approximately 3 times more efficient at converting energy into power than internal combustion engines.
  • Domestic energy source: Over half of petroleum used in the US is imported, while electricity is produced using almost entirely domestic sources of energy.
  • Reduced emissions:  PEVs have the potential to reduce harmful tailpipe emissions and climate changing CO2 emissions compared to gasoline powered vehicles.
  • Cost equivalent of $1.10 per gallon:  Because of their higher efficiency and the low cost of electricity compared to gasoline, electric vehicles can travel the same distance as a gallon of gasoline at the cost of $1.10.

SWEEP has done extensive work in the following areas on the benefits of PEVs and what policies can support their adoption across the Southwest.

Economic and Environmental Benefits of PEVs

SWEEP has documented the economic and environmental benefits of plug-in electric vehicles for states and metropolitan areas across the Southwest.  By increasing the market penetration of PEVs, regional and statewide economies will save billions of dollars in avoided fuel costs over the lifetime of the PEVs.  Individual PEV owners can save between $500 and $1,300 annually depending on the type of PEV they own.

Electric Vehicle Benefits for Arizona  (PDF - 536 KB)

Electric Vehicle Benefits for Colorado (PDF - 676 KB)

Electric Vehicle Benefits for the Albuquerque Metropolitan Region (PDF - 499 KB)

Electric Vehicle Benefits for the Salt Lake City Metropolitan Region (PDF - 491 KB)

Comparison of Plug-in Electric Vehicles and Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles in the Light Duty Sector

Deregulation of Electricity Sales

In an effort to promote the establishment of public electric vehicle charging stations, SWEEP promotes policies that allow those who sell electricity for use by plug-in electric vehicles to operate without being regulated by the Public Utility Commission.  Colorado passed a bill to do this in 2012, but the barrier remains in other Southwestern states.

SWEEP Testimony for Colorado House Bill 12-1258 on Deregulation (PDF - 272 KB)

HB 12-1258 Bill Text Final Version

Planning for Public Charging Stations

SWEEP has worked with communities on planning for public charging stations.  Optimizing placement of publicly available charging stations can insure that limited resources are not duplicated or wasted.  SWEEP developed a infrastructure plan for Boulder County, Colorado and is working with Project FEVER to develop a statewide plan for Colorado.

Boulder County Electric Vehicle Readiness Plan (PDF - 615 KB)

Building Codes

SWEEP encourages counties and municipalities to adopt language in their building codes that requires conduit and electrical capacity for future PEV charging equipment installations in new residential and commercial construction.  Incorporating this infrastructure during construction will save money compared to having to retrofit the property at a later date to install charging equipment.

Building Codes Best Practices (PDF - 314 KB)

Time of Use Electricity Rates

SWEEP encourages utilities to adopt time of use rates that incentivize residential vehicle charging during off-peak hours (late at night and early in the morning).  Shifting demand to off-peak hours will reduce peak electricity demand (and electricity costs) and take advantage of capacity that is generally underutilized during off-peak hours.  A report by the EV Project found that the provision of TOU rates shifts demand from late afternoon to early morning.

SWEEP Comments to the Colorado PUC on Time of Use Electricity Rates (PDF - 530 KB)