In the U.S., the transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which makes the electrification of transportation one of the most vital parts of the energy transition. Replacing gas-powered vehicles with electric ones represents significant potential in reducing our GHG emissions and limiting our temperature rise to 1.5 C. This is the temperature standard widely accepted by the scientific community as the benchmark needed to avoid further devastating impacts of climate change.
In recent years, consumers have driven an incredible increase in electric vehicle (EV) adoption. In 2019, the sale of EVs topped 2.1 million globally, according to the International Energy Agency, and the pandemic has not slowed that progress.
California, Michigan, and New Jersey are among the states pushing to accelerate EV adoption through government policies, such as California Governor Gavin Newsom’s recent announcement that all new cars and passenger trucks sold in the state must be zero-emission vehicles by 2035.
While government mandates are important for the future EVs, the demand for electrification is not dependent on them. Case in point: In the first quarter of 2020, the Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling passenger car across all major categories in California, but as consumers begin to adopt EVs on a mass scale, are businesses ready to support a fully electric transportation infrastructure?
Enel X and Uber are leading this transition through a recent partnership that makes it easier for EV-owning rideshare drivers to not only charge their clean vehicles, but also to power them with clean energy. Through Enel X’s JuiceEco and the JuiceBox smart charger, Uber drivers can now match their electric vehicle charging with zero-emission, 100% renewable energy using Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), a benefit typically reserved for businesses and institutions.
Greater EV incentives from big companies such as Uber can help move drivers toward EV adoption, as the gig economy remains important for many communities around the country.
TIPS FOR PROMOTING THE EV REVOLUTION
Our reliance on fossil fuels will continue to decrease and EV adoption will grow as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) make improvements with more efficient, longer-range batteries, greater and more affordable vehicle options, and increased numbers of charging stations. There are several ways businesses of all sizes can step in to help drive this energy transition and support the expansion of EV adoption:
Electrify your fleets: Amazon and other companies are electrifying their fleets not just for the sustainability benefits, but also for financial ones. Over the life of a vehicle, EVs can save owners, including businesses, thousands of dollars in fuel and maintenance costs. Consumer Reports found that consumers investing in EVs save an average of $4,700 in fuel costs alone over the first seven years of ownership—and these savings are amplified for commercial fleets. From take-home employee vehicle fleets to service and maintenance vehicles, there’s significant opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and increase the bottom line. Technology such as Enel X’s JuiceNet smart charging platform provides remote access control of chargers, charging-time optimization, real-time monitoring, and lower operating costs for fleet managers.
Offer charging: A business needs only to install a few charging stations to serve its EV-driving workforce and remove a major barrier to wider adoption. Upwards of 80% of EV charging takes place at home, but one-quarter of Americans live in a multifamily condo or apartment building where they may not have a dedicated personal spot to recharge. While COVID has temporarily changed “office” locations for many people, the most convenient location to charge an EV other than home is at work. Employers can provide incentives and perks for driving an EV, such as free charging. The cost of installing them can also be offset by federal, state, and local entities offering EV rebates.
Make it smart charging: Not all EV chargers are created equal. At Enel X, we take charging stations a step further by developing smart charging infrastructure that makes powering EVs cleaner and helps promote a more reliable, more sustainable electric grid for all. Smart chargers intelligently manage electricity use and reduce the operational costs of the station. It’s important to select a station that comes with affordable smart charging features—such as scheduled, worry-free charging —to help manage the cost of providing this amenity. Smart chargers can also be enrolled in local utility programs that provide financial incentives to consumers and businesses that volunteer to have their charge lowered or interrupted during times of peak energy demand. This capability empowers businesses to not only support the electric grid, but also make money from EV charging.
Businesses play a critical role in the energy transition as they electrify their own operations and provide more opportunities for consumers to adopt EVs, leaving no doubt that the future is electric.