It’s widely accepted that electric vehicles will become increasingly popular and affordable in coming years, and utilities are trying to make sure their grids can handle an influx of vehicles plugged in.
But a recent study by the global consulting firm Deloitte argues that utilities should embrace electric vehicles even more aggressively, treating them almost like power plants and “batteries on wheels,” incorporating them into the fabric of their electricity delivery and generation systems and ideally into their rate-bases.
“We’re really seeing this as a convergence of forces,” said study author Scott Smith, U.S. power & utilities leader for Deloitte LLP. “The technology, government policies, the auto manufacturers, and — we believe — the utilities, have a central role to play in this.”
The study says embracing electric vehicles and their charging infrastructure would help utilities with “three of today’s biggest challenges: stagnant demand, the requirement to integrate renewable and distributed energy resources seamlessly, and the need to engage customers and interest them in new services.”
And Deloitte argues that EVs will finally engage customers in managing and manipulating their energy use via smart technology, solving the puzzle that has thus far eluded utilities of making electricity “cool” and developing a “killer app.” Deloitte predicts customers will become engaged with their electricity management as a whole when they can gain credit on their bills for helping the grid by plugging in their EVs.