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ELECTRIFYING

JOHN W. NOLAN, CAPP, MSM

Managing Director of Transportation Services Harvard University

What are your predictions on the adoption rates and percentages of EVs on the road in the short- to medium- and longer term for both privately-owned vehicles and fleets? And what happens with mass transit?

The lack of significant EV infrastructure and the entry price point of pure EV’s (non-hybrids) have deterred significant market penetration. Deterring growth is also the availability of cheap fossil fuel. As power producers engage and invest in infrastructure expansion and as manufacturers build more affordable vehicles, we will see larger market growth and expansion. I expect growth to be at about the same rate in the near future with greater expansion as infrastructure expands.

Do you see a bigger picture effort happening to connect EVs to the grid? Can the grid handle a big increase in daytime charging? Are there any new breakthroughs in batteries and charging stations? More and more companies have entered this space in the last five years, which has driven the cost of charging stations much lower. In addition, with fossil fuel reduction and carbon neutral goals now mandated in many cities, more power companies have stepped up to subsidize electric charging stations for business and cities. Due to pricing incentives and longer battery life, charging vehicles in off hours should help to handle

pressures of demand on the power grid. Many fleets run in circular patterns, which lends itself to this type of infrastructure especially in the Urban environment. In the recent past it would be consistent with placing these stations within a mobility hub for on-route charging. Given newer and longer lasting batteries now on the market, these stations can be placed within a bus yard for overnight charging.

Talk to us about fleets and electrification: how will that change transportation as we know it today? Where do you see storage and charging happening? How does the evolving “mobility hub” account for EVs?

They’re coming. At some point in the next 10 years, I can see individual cities and states beginning to mandate these additions as mitigation for carbon offset emissions within particular regions. Public transportation for cities and towns is currently being significantly subsidized by the federal government with significant grants, which has been the lifeblood for EV bus companies in the U.S. With current price points around $800,000, it makes it very difficult for private transportation providers to operate at that number. Significant expansion will come when additional OEM’s enter the market as well as when EV Buses are manufactured more efficiently bringing lower price points needed for further market penetration.

BRIAN SHAW, CAPP

Executive Director, Transportation Stanford University

What are your predictions on the adoption rates and percentages of EVs on the road in the short- to medium- and longer term for both privately-owned vehicles and fleets? And what happens with mass transit?

Private adoption will be slow, particularly if gas prices remain low and demand for SUVs remains high. Incentives from federal and state governments will be needed to further EV acquisition by private owners. In the long term, as battery technology improves and range for EVs becomes more in line with fossil-fueled vehicles, adoption will improve. Also, a network for fast 40 PARKING & MOBILITY / AUGUST 2021 / PARKING-MOBILITY.ORG

chargers will be needed to facilitate quicker recharges for EVs. Mass transit in California will see much faster adoption of EVs due to state climate change requirements, cost effective electricity being available and local EV bus manufacturing. Other areas in the U.S. will be slower to move the electric buses, but as the technology becomes more available, growth will occur in areas concerned about climate change. If there is ability for transit properties to finance the needed charging infrastructure with bus acquisition, that will speed up adoption outside California.