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Powering the silent revolution: Electric vehicles and new routes to utility revenue

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In the not-so-distant future, transportation is bound to look, feel, and sound very different. Based on the latest forecasts, electric vehicles (EVs) are projected to reach cost parity with internal combustion vehicles as early as 2025.¹ By 2050, EVs are anticipated to represent up to 65% of light vehicle sales.² The silent revolution is powering up now. The question is this: is your utility ready to take charge?

Growth Forecast for EV Stock Plus Charging Infrastructure* in the United States

*The forecast includes both plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles as well as the associated charging equipment infrastructure needs.  Credit:  EEI/IEI

Spikes or Balances: Grid Implications

When it comes to tracking the implications of the anticipated EV revolution, look no further than the grid. Without any charging management, EVs could cause demand spikes that drive up utility costs. However, when operating in discharge mode as “vehicle-to-grid” services, EVs can help balance the instability caused by their added load and the integration of other renewables onto the grid. The long and short of it is this: with proactive, demand-side planning done at the utility level, mass EV adoption can support long-term grid stability.

Revved-Up Opportunities

Utilities are optimally positioned to maximize revenue from the EV upsurge, either through strategic infrastructure development or strategic product investment. We recommend three high-potential routes to profit:

Owning and operating EV charging stations

Utilities have the opportunity to manage EV infrastructure planning, integration, operation, and eventual expansion of regional charging station networks. Managing charging stations could offer a win-win approach for generating profits and staying ahead of demand-side needs.

Product and service bundling

There is mounting evidence that bundling commodity services and tangible products can increase customer satisfaction and reduce churn—in cases, by as much as 60%, based on innogy consulting’s experience. Packaging home EV chargers and electricity services can offer additional revenue on the back of improved customer relationships.

Share in the sharing economy

The global car sharing market is expected to see annual growth of over 30% in the next seven years.³ Offering EV car sharing services is an innovative way to diversify revenue and harness convergent industry opportunities.

Conclusion

In the era of eroding margins, the electric vehicle market presents enviable capitalization opportunities for utilities. Today, the leaders who make strategic moves to fill the growing infrastructure gap will have the most to gain from this transition.

innogy consulting is an energy-focused management consulting firm with operations in North America, Europe, and the Middle East. Backed by 40,000 energy experts at the innogy group, our 200 consultants drive projects from restructuring to innovation, change management to market capitalization, for leading U.S. energy companies intent on fortifying their businesses for the future. To learn more, visit innogyconsult.com.


¹ Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “Electric Cars to Reach Price Parity by 2025.” Accessed January 24, 2018. https://about.bnef.com/blog/electric-cars-reach-price-parity-2025/.

² Energy Innovation. “The Future of Electric Vehicles in the US.” Accessed January 24, 2018. http://energyinnovation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/2017-09-13-Future-of-EVs-Research-Note_FINAL.pdf.

³ Business Insider. “Carsharing Market to witness a massive 34%+ growth over 2016-2024.” Accessed January 12, 2018. http://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/Carsharing-Market-to-witness-a-massive-34-growth-over-2016-2024-1002207831.

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