The Institute for Energy Innovation (IEI) recently unveiled its report, Powering the Mobility Revolution: The Case for Integrating Vehicle Electrification & Batteries into Strategies to Promote Autonomous Vehicles.
“Self-driving vehicles are the next big step for the transportation industry, and the mobility industry is increasingly based on electric vehicle technology,” said IEI president and 5 Lakes Energy partner Liesl Eichler Clark. The increasing interconnection between automation and electrification in advanced vehicle development is due to the fact that electric vehicle engines have fewer moving parts than internal combustion engines, and therefore are easier to control from a vehicle computer.
The report found that the rapid growth of autonomous and electric vehicles creates new mobility opportunities – for elderly, disabled, and non-driving passengers; for those who cannot afford to purchase or maintain an internal combustion engine vehicle; and for those who would prefer not to spend money on all-day parking when their car could just as easily be transporting others during those time periods.
The report also found that to fully take advantage of the growth of autonomous and vehicles, states and communities need to focus on implementing the necessary charging infrastructure, designing proper rates (such as time of use rates) to benefit from excess capacity on the grid, and implement policies that incentivize, rather than discourage, the adoption of autonomous and electric vehicles. This includes offering rebates for vehicle purchases, incentives for expensive direct current fast charge stations, and long-duration purchase agreements for sites hosting charging stations, among others.
The report concludes with several recommendations including:
- expanding the Michigan Council for Future Mobility to include specific expertise in electric vehicles, batteries, and electric vehicle infrastructure;
- establishing an internal coordinating group at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to align battery, electric vehicle, autonomous vehicle, and mobility economic development efforts;
- revisiting regulatory and legislative strategies around electric vehicles and batteries to reduce barriers to deployment and facilitate infrastructure growth, including eliminating regulatory penalties for electric vehicles; and
- reconvening the Michigan Plug-In Electric Vehicle Taskforce at the Michigan Public Service Commission to convene utilizes, automakers, mobility service providers, third-party charging companies, and other stakeholders to address electric vehicle charging issues, with a particular focus on the nexus between electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, and advanced mobility.