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Market Research Report

The Networked EV: The Convergence of Smart Grids and Electric Vehicles

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The Networked EV: The Convergence of Smart Grids and Electric Vehicles
Published: March 15, 2011 Content info:

This publication has been discontinued on July 3, 2017.


This year marks a turning point for electricity as a transportation fuel for passenger vehicles. Automakers are sending electric vehicles (EVs) to market with global penetration forecasted to increase more than five-fold by 2016. The implications for electric power players and utilities are enormous, as the requirements of commercial EV adoption will inevitably burden existing electric power infrastructure. Given this reality, utilities are seeking out smart grid technology solutions to ensure grid reliability along with generation capacity by activating a digital dialogue between the grid and the EV.

Figure: Five Steps of Smart Grid Upgrades to Support EVs

Souce: GTM Research

This report examines in detail the technology and planning considerations that will enable a successful smart grid-EV convergence. The report analyzes hot button issues such as transformer build-out and advanced metering (AMI) and charging infrastructure, but also expands the conversation beyond these known challenges to highlight emerging smart grid solutions for the EV market. These solutions include communications standards and protocols that act as the "digital handshakebetween the grid and the EV, as well as distribution automation (DA) technologies that will enable a more self-aware grid capable of autonomously self-correcting based EV consumption patterns and moment-to-moment grid conditions.

Value-added Elements

  • Market, regulatory and cost drivers propelling EV adoption globally
  • EV sales forecast through 2016, with EV penetration by state for the U.S.
  • Analysis of EV planning considerations for utilities, including: charging impacts on load, substation planning, retail rate design, business case for EV integration, etc.
  • Strategic positioning of smart grid technologies (i.e., distribution automation, communications standards) for EV roll-out and grid reliability

Questions for Competitive Decision-making

  • How have global market trends such as gasoline prices, regulatory influence, and auto innovation positioned key EV markets?
  • Which global region will see the largest share of the EV market through 2016?
  • What will be the best utility practices for integrating commercial EV adoption into local grids?
  • Which smart grid technologies will see the greatest opportunity in the EV market and, how are these smart grid technologies already serving the EV sector?

Figure: The Price Spread of a “Gallon” of Electricity vs. a Gallon of Gasoline (est.)

Source: GTM Research


David Leeds directs the smart grid research practice at GTM. Mr. Leeds has guest lectured on the subject at MIT, Stanford, and The Wharton School of Business (University of Pennsylvania). He has been quoted as an expert by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post; his perspective pieces have appeared in a variety of publications including BusinessWeek, Power Magazine and Fortune.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


  • 1.1. Executive Summary
  • 1.2. Key Findings


  • 2.1. Electric Transportation: A New Way Forward
  • 2.2. Three Waves of Consumer Adoption and EV Ramping Factors
  • 2.3. Defi nitions


  • 3.1. Utility Concerns
    • 3.1.1. Recent GTM Research
    • 3.1.2. Issues on the Horizon for Utilities
      • Signifi cant Load Impacts
      • The critical need for o¥ -peak charging and smart charging
        • The Bulk Power Grid
        • Individual Distribution Grids
      • The need to pinpoint EV charging for e¥ ective grid management
      • Retail Rate Design (Pricing) for EVs
        • Questions utilities are facing in regard to EV rates
        • Progressive Utilities' EV Pricing Pilots
        • Electric Rates vs. Gasoline Prices
          • EV Total Costs: Capital and Fuel Costs
        • U.S. National Energy Policy related to electric vehicle rates
        • New Business Models for EV Rate Design


  • 4.1. Infrastructure Build-Out
    • 4.1.1. Smart Grid Technology Evolution to Support EVs
      • Total U.S. Smart Grid Market Forecast: 2010-2015
    • 4.1.2. Charging Infrastructure
      • Home Charging
      • Public Charging
      • Retail & Commercial Charging
    • 4.1.3. Standards - The Digital Handshake Between EVs and the Utility Grid
      • SAE J1772 - The published standard for Level 1 & 2 charging
        • “4G” and Cloud Computing
      • The expected SAE J1772 “Hybrid Connector” Standard
      • Emerging Standards for EV Networking
        • Getting to J2931 (via J2836 & J2847)
        • Smart Charging Functionality
    • 4.1.4. Distribution Grid Upgrades
      • Transformer and customer equipment upgrades
        • Transformer Sizing Upgrades
        • Volt/VAR concerns and the need for transformer sensors and dynamic devices
        • Customer premise upgrades
      • Correcting Phase Imbalances
        • The existing voltage challenge
        • A new market for dynamic grid devices
      • Reconfi guring the Laterals for Auto-Sense and Voltage Correction
        • Evolving to a new generation of switching
      • Advanced Uses for Capacitor Banks and Voltage Regulators
      • Sequence Changing and Conductor Sizing


  • 5.1. Global EV Growth Factors and Analysis
    • 5.1.1. A Changing Landscape for OEMS
    • 5.1.2. EV Forecasting: A Range of Opinions for 2020
    • 5.1.3. The United States
      • The New CAFE Standards
      • DOE ATVM Loans
      • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA)
    • 5.1.4. Europe
    • 5.1.5. China
    • 5.1.6. India and Emerging Nations
    • 5.1.7. Global Production Volumes
    • 5.1.8. Fleets will be the real early adopters of EVs
  • 5.2. GTM Global EV Sales Forecast
    • 5.2.1. Global Forecast for EVs
    • 5.2.2. U.S. EV Forecast by State
      • California
      • New York


  • Figure 2-1: 2011 Smart Grid Vendor Taxonomy
  • Figure 2-2: Three Waves of Consumer Adoption for EVs
  • Figure 2-3: A Comparison Of Fuel Costs For Evs Vs. Traditional Cars (Energy Cost per Mile)
  • Figure 2-4: Primary motivations for switching to electric transportation
  • Figure 2-5: Pictorial Comparison of an EV, PHEV and Traditional Vehicle
  • Figure 2-6: Fueling options for HEV, PHEV and EV
  • Figure 3-1: Technology gaps across various smart grid applications
  • Figure 3-2: A smart grid visualized
  • Figure 3-3: NIST Smart Grid Conceptual Model - The Customer Domain
  • Figure 3-4: The Load Requirements of EVs vs. the Average Residential Structure
  • Figure 3-5: 2010 U.S. electricity consumption with 10 million plug-in vehicles
  • Figure 3-6: International Comparison of Load Factors
  • Figure 3-7: Planning Reserve Margins on the Increase: NERC' s 2019 Projected On-Peak Planning Reserve Margins
  • Figure 3-8: The Recession: Comparison of U.S. Summer Peak Demand Forecasts by NERC (2008, 2009, 2010)
  • Figure 3-9: U.S. Regional Spot Prices 2007-2009 ($/MhW) Severely Lower Due to Economic Recession
  • Figure 3-10: EVs Impact on Distribution Grid Infrastructure
  • Figure 3-11: Probable and Worst Case Scenarios Due to Higher EV penetrations
  • Figure 3-12: Best Case Scenario due to Higher EV penetrations
  • Figure 3-13: Transformer Overloading Due to Electric Vehicles
  • Figure 3-14: Questions that Public Utility Commissions are addressing for the fi rst time
  • Figure 3-15: Example of a Utility O¥ ering Optional Time-of-Use Rates for EVs
  • Figure 3-16: The HECO EV Rate Example
  • Figure 3-17: Electricity vs. Gasoline/Diesel in the U.S. (Price per Gallon Equivalent vs. Price per Gallon)
  • Figure 3-18: Average Retail Price of Electricity to End Customers by End-Use Sector, by Region, October 2010 and 2009 (cents per kilowatt-hour)
  • Figure 3-19: Comparison of Current Capital Costs and Fuel Costs Per Mile
  • Figure 3-20: New Billing Models for EVs - The NRG “eVgo” example
  • Figure 4-1: Five Steps of Smart Grid Upgrades to Support EVs
  • Figure 4-2: U.S. Smart Grid Market Forecast 2010 -2015
  • Figure 4-3: The Three Levels of Charging for EVs
  • Figure 4-4: Home Chargers - Level 2 Chargers
  • Figure 4-5: Public Charge Points - Level 2 Chargers
  • Figure 4-6: Highway Charging Stations - Level 3 Chargers
  • Figure 4-7: Charging Stations Planned for the City of Houston
  • Figure 4-8: EV Charge Points Located at Retail Parking Lots
  • Figure 4-9: Fleet vehicles transition to electric
  • Figure 4-10: Solar EV Charging Stations
  • Figure 4-11: SAE Logo
  • Figure 4-12: Level 2 Chargers
  • Figure 4-13: Summary of SAE Standards for EV and Utility Grid Communications
  • Figure 4-14: The domain of SAE J2931, as it relates to physical domains, communication protocols and new capabilities
  • Figure 4-15: Smart Charging - Various Functionality, Control and Communication Strategy
  • Figure 4-16: Five Steps of Smart Grid Upgrades to Support EVs
  • Figure 4-17: Typical Circuit Panel and Branch Circuits
  • Figure 4-18: Phase Imbalance - Voltage Spike Due to Distributed Generation
  • Figure 4-19: Phase Imbalance - Voltage Sag due to Electric Vehicles
  • Figure 4-20: Growing Market for Capacitor Banks (left) and Voltage Regulators (right)
  • Figure 4-21: Example of a possible substation-to-edge voltage sequence
  • Figure 4-22: Typical Conductor Wires
  • Figure 4-23: American Wire Gauge Table
  • Figure 4-24: Possible Early Adopters of Greentech
  • Figure 4-25: The “Net-Zero” Home
  • Figure 5-1: The Nissan Leaf and the Tata Nano
  • Figure 5-2: Top 10 Global Auto Manufactures and Market Share
  • Figure 5-3: Predictions for EV market share in 2020
  • Figure 5-4: DOE' s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATMV) Loan Program
  • Figure 5-5: ARRA Stimulus Awards for Electric Transportation
  • Figure 5-6: A Gallon of Gasoline vs. a “Gallon” of Electricity
  • Figure 5-7: China vs. the U.S. in Electric Vehicles
  • Figure 5-8: Global Petrol Price Comparison (for 33 Cities)
  • Figure 5-9: Currently Announced North American EV and PHEV Production Capacity
  • Figure 5-10: Global EV Production Forecast (2009-2016)
  • Figure 5-11: The Case for Fleets
  • Figure 5-12: Global EV Sales 2011-2016
  • Figure 5-13: Global EV Sales, 2011-2016 (Cumulative)
  • Figure 5-14: The Growth of China' s Vehicle Market - Light-Duty Stock by Region in the Years 2007, 2015, 2030
  • Figure 5-15: Expected EV Sales in the Top 20 U.S. States
  • Figure 5-16: EV Penetration by State, 2011-2016 (Cumulative)
  • Figure 5-17: Top U.S. States for Toyota Prius Sales (2000-2007)
  • Figure 5-18: Favorable Prices for EVs in the U.S. Market
  • Figure 5-19: PG&E' s High, Middle and Low EV Forecasts, 2010-2020
  • Figure 5-20: Electric Vehicle Projections in NYC
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