2013 Union of Concerned Scientists: Electric Utility Investment in Truck and Bus Charging A Guide for Programs to Accelerate Electrification

Don Anair, Amine Mahmassani – July 2013, Union of Concerned Scientists: Electric Utility Investment in Truck and Bus Charging A Guide for Programs to Accelerate Electrification

The time has arrived for electric trucks and buses. To accelerate their deployment, electric utilities have two key roles to play: investing in charging programs and designing fair, sensible electricity rates. Both steps would catalyze the market for these vehicles and help maximize the benefits of electrification for all electricity customers. Those benefits include the potential to reduce local air pollution and heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions.
Utilities are well suited to be early investors in vehicle charging programs. For one thing, they face lower barriers to making grid-related investments than do other entities. Just as important, utilities have expertise about the electric grid.
They are a critical partner in managing electric truck and bus
loads to enhance the grid services these vehicles can offer.
Already, electric utilities in many states have begun to
pursue charging programs for electric vehicles (EVs). With
the exception of programs in California, where nearly twothirds
of the $975 million approved to date is for charging
trucks, buses, and other heavy-duty vehicles, utility programs
have focused largely on passenger cars and light trucks
(CPUC n.d.a). However, the need for widespread vehicle electrification
to meet goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,
as well as for improving local air quality and public
health, is too urgent to delay truck, bus, and other heavy-duty
charging programs. In addition to catalyzing the electric
truck and bus markets, the timely development of charging
programs will enable utilities to prepare the electricity grid
now for the eventual widespread deployment of medium- and
heavy-duty EVs.
In 2018, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) identified
key principles that should guide utility investments in the
nation’s EV infrastructure (Gatti 2018). Building on those
principles, UCS now provides recommendations for proactive
steps that electric utilities can take to develop the infrastructure
and rate designs needed for truck and bus charging.
The Importance of Electric Trucks and Buses
Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, including trucks and buses,
represent only about 5 percent of the vehicles on US roads
and highways, but they contribute 29 percent of the climate
emissions from vehicles (BTS 2018; OTAQ 2018). Trucks and
buses also generate a large amount of localized, smog-forming
air pollution that affects health, heightening risks of heart and
lung diseases among other ailments (Heffling and O’Dea
2018). Moreover, these vehicles expose communities near
highways, freight facilities, and ports to especially high levels
of pollution. The residents of those communities are likely to
be low-income or people of color (Mikati et al. 2018).
Fortunately, advances in vehicle and battery technologies
make electrification increasingly viable for addressing pollution
from trucks, buses, and other medium- and heavy-duty
vehicles. Nine manufacturers now offer electric versions of
In every state, electric
transit buses have lower
greenhouse gas emissions
than do diesel- or natural
gas–powered buses.
Cover photo: Greensboro Transit Authority
standard, 40-foot transit buses (O’Dea 2018a). Already, more
than 340 electric buses operate on US roads, with another
1,200 transit buses on order (Raudebaugh 2018). Across the
country, commitments to transit electrification by cities and
states are adding up to a major transition in the nation’s fleet
of about 64,000 buses (NTB 2018). For example, New York
City plans to electrify all 5,700 of its buses by 2040 (McKenna
2018). California’s transit bus standard will result in more
than 14,000 battery- and fuel cell–electric buses by 2040
(O’Dea 2018a).
Fossil fuels still dominate electricity generation nationally,
yet UCS has found that, in every state, electric transit buses
have lower greenhouse gas emissions than do diesel- or natural
gas–powered buses (Figure 1). For example, the electricity
mix used to fuel a 40-foot electric transit bus in New York
State emits only 347 grams of carbon dioxide–equivalent per
mile (g CO2e/mile) (O’Dea 2018b). A comparable diesel bus
emits 2,680 g CO2e/mile, and a comparable natural gas–
powered bus emits 2,364 g CO2e/mile (O’Dea 2018b).
Further, EVs are getting even cleaner as more renewable
resources come online and emissions from generating electric
Electric Utility Investment in Truck and Bus Charging 3
power decline. Available models range from school buses to
delivery trucks to port equipment, and truck manufacturers
continue to bring new products to market.
In addition to greenhouse gas reductions and improved
air quality and pubic health, replacing trucks and buses with
electric models can benefit the electricity grid itself and thus
all utility customers. EV charging is a somewhat flexible load
on the electric grid: fleet managers have some ability to shift
charging to times that are better for the grid to take advantage
of times with lower rates. For example, overnight charging,
when other demands on the grid are low, is often compatible
with the charging needs of truck and bus fleets. Managed
charging can use grid resources more efficiently and make it
easier to incorporate renewable resources into the electric
power mix (O’Connor and Jacobs 2017). Using grid resources
more efficiently and spreading transmission and distribution
costs over additional electricity sales from EV loads can put
downward pressure on electricity rates, a benefit for all electricity
customers (Cohen 2017).
Advancing Electric Truck and Bus Deployment:
Recommendations for Utility Programs
Utilities are at various stages of considering investments in
charging infrastructure and rate designs for the growing
market of electric cars, trucks, and buses. Based on current
utility efforts and on consultations with various stakeholders,
UCS has developed a set of strategic, robust recommendations
for designing utility programs for truck and bus
charging. Utilities can make their investments more effective
and more broadly beneficial by incorporating the UCS
recommendations into program and electricity rate designs
and accompanying the designs with sensible ratepayer
FIGURE 1. Per-Mile Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions for an Electric Bus, by Grid Region
In every region of the country, buses charged on the electric grid have lower heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions compared with dieseland
natural gas–powered buses.
Note: Values represent per-mile emissions over the fuel life cycle of equivalent 40-foot electric, diesel, and natural gas buses made by New Flyer. Regional
greenhouse gas emissions based on EPA 2018. Emissions from electric, diesel, and natural gas production estimated with ANL 2017a and ANL 2017b. 100-year
global warming potential of greenhouse gases from IPCC 2014.
1,209 g/mi
590 g/mi
1,132 g/mi
1,353 g/mi
1,901 g/mi
1,748 g/mi
740 g/mi
1,320 g/mi
837 g/mi
878 g/mi
652 g/mi
347 g/mi
1,356 g/mi
1,311 g/mi
1,289 g/mi
1,429 g/mi
1,468 g/mi
1,186 g/mi
1,257 g/mi
1,338 g/mi
1,124 g/mi
1,108 g/mi
690 g/mi
Good (26%–50% lower than diesel)
Better (51%–65% lower than diesel)
Best (66%–87% lower than diesel)
Comparative COe Emissions (40-foot bus):
Diesel: 2,680 g/mi
Natural gas: 2,364 g/mi
Electric bus (US average grid): 1,078 g/mi
4 union of concerned scientists
as full or partial rebates, to the site host for the costs of
installing make-ready infrastructure, purchasing and installing
the EV charger, or both.
Programs already approved by utility commissions have
taken one or more of those approaches, and utilities have
adjusted their strategies as the markets for electric truck and
buses and the associated EVSE have evolved. San Diego Gas &
Electric’s Priority Review Projects,1 which the California
Public Utilities Commission approved in January 2018,
include end-to-end utility ownership for the utility’s Fleet
Delivery Services and Port Electrification programs. (See the
table on p. 9 for a summary of these and other programs discussed
in these recommendations.) The commission noted,
“Due to the nascent state of many [medium-and heavy-duty]
EVs and associated charging equipment, it is acceptable for
SDG&E to own all the infrastructure, including the EVSE, in
this instance” (CPUC 2018a). Then in November 2018, San
Diego Gas & Electric submitted a settlement agreement that
excludes utility ownership for its larger-scale Medium- and
Heavy-Duty EV Program. This change indicates that the regulatory
and market conditions in California have matured
enough to make utility ownership of EVSE unnecessary for
successfully implementing truck and bus charging programs
for many vehicle applications.
In some cases, multiple approaches may be appropriate
within a single program. For example, both Pacific Gas &
Electric’s (PG&E’s) FleetReady Program and Southern California
Edison’s Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicle Charging
Program provide only make-ready infrastructure for most
program participants. However, in both programs the utility
offers rebates covering part of the charger and installation
costs to transit and school bus fleets as well as to fleets that
operate in communities that are most burdened by truck and
bus pollution (CPUC 2018b).2 This is because the cost of the EV
charger and its installation is overly burdensome for public
entities with limited budgets and access to capital. Moreover,
offering a rebate for chargers and installation costs in pollutionburdened
areas prioritizes electrification in communities
where it yields the greatest improvements in public health.
Utilities could also consider financing options to help
public-sector customers address the up-front costs of electrification.
Under such a financing arrangement, the utility pays
for the charger and other electrical equipment, and the customer
repays the utility as part of its regular electric bills.
Over time, the customer recovers the equipment cost through
In developing these recommendations, UCS found that
electric utilities are well positioned to advance the deployment
of electric trucks and buses and support “smart charging”
practices through several types of programs. These include
direct investments in the charging infrastructure, rebate incentives
that encourage the hosts of charging sites to install
infrastructure, and fair rate structures that remove undue
barriers to electrification.
For each utility service territory, the combination of strategies
to accelerate truck and bus electrification will depend on a
balance of factors, including the current availability of EV
models and the overall business case for switching each type
of vehicle to electric. Such factors will evolve as the market
develops and the business case for investing in charging
infrastructure improves.
In terms of infrastructure, utilities could provide
different levels of support on the customer side of the meter
(Figure 2). In the “make-ready” model, the utility invests in
infrastructure, including upgrading electrical panels, digging
trenches, and laying wires, thus making the site ready for
installing electric vehicle service equipment (EVSE). In the
“end-to-end utility ownership” strategy, the utility funds,
owns, and operates all infrastructure, including the charger. A
third approach is for the utilities to offer incentives, typically
Mariordo/Creative Commons (Wikimedia Commons)
Electric delivery trucks, such as this Coca-Cola delivery truck in Washington,
DC, not only have lower greenhouse gas emissions compared with conventional
trucks, they also generate no tailpipe pollution—a major benefit to the communities
in which these trucks operate.
1 Priority Review Projects are pilot-scale projects that receive expedited review by meeting certain criteria, including a maximum budget of $4 million and a
maximum duration of one year.
2 Customers operating fleets in disadvantaged communities do not qualify for rebates if the customer is a Fortune 1000 company (CPUC 2018b).
Electric Utility Investment in Truck and Bus Charging 5
reduced fuel and maintenance expenses and can use these savings
to pay the monthly installments. Already, on-bill programs
have facilitated energy efficiency upgrades in buildings. For
example, National Grid’s energy-saving program for small businesses
offers Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island
customers the opportunity to pay the costs of energy efficiency
upgrades as part of their electricity bill over 24 months (NGMA
n.d.; NGRI n.d.; NGUNY n.d.). Utility financing could also assist
public entities in paying for the incremental cost of EVs.
Operating costs are one of the most important factors that
fleet managers consider when deciding whether to invest in
electric models. In general, the per-mile cost of electricity is
significantly less than that for diesel or compressed natural gas.
However, many commercial electricity rates include a
“demand charge,” the component of the utility bill related to
the maximum power “demanded” by the customer during the
billing period. Demand charges can reduce the fuel-cost
savings of electrifying trucks and buses, undermining the
economic case for fleet adoption.3 The demands that electric
trucks and buses place on the grid and services they offer to
it are distinct from those of traditional commercial electricity
customers, and historical rate structures generally do not
account for those impacts and benefits. This leaves ample
room to restructure rates to incentivize transportation electrification,
including reducing or eliminating demand charges
without shifting costs to other customer classes.
Utilities have taken a number of approaches to redesigning
electricity rates to address demand charges and fairly account
for how and when vehicle charging draws electricity
from the grid. Typically, the redesigned rates apply only to
vehicle charging and offer electric truck and bus operators
the potential for significant fuel savings. Southern California
Edison offers a rate that eliminates demand charges for the
next five years and recovers all costs through fees based on
the amount of electricity consumed. The rate gradually reincorporates
demand charges at a lower level over the following
five years. In Rhode Island, National Grid has secured approval
for a similar idea it is implementing via a demand
3 In general, demand charges are in place because utilities must invest in grid hardware and technologies to accommodate the maximum power demand on their
grid. However, demand charges do not always account for whether a particular customer’s highest demand coincides with the highest demand experienced by the
whole electric system. As a result, demand charges do not fairly charge customers for costs they cause for grid transmission and distribution.
FIGURE 2. Models of Utility Investment in Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
There are several approaches that utilities can take to invest in charging infrastructure and equipment.
Note: Under business-as-usual investments, a contribution from the customer may be required on the utility side of the meter for investments that expand
utility service.
Network Transformer
and Wires EV Charger
Utility Ownership
Utility Incentives
Utility Investment Site Host Investment Utility Incentive Funding
6 union of concerned scientists
supply power to the grid, through rate components that compensate
vehicle owners for providing such services.
Regardless of the configuration, new rates for electric
trucks and buses should account fairly for charging demands
on the grid, while also reducing the barrier to electrification
posed by legacy rate structures that do not consider vehicle
charging patterns.
Utilities should determine the scale of charging programs for
trucks and buses according to the relative maturity of EVs in
specific medium- and heavy-duty applications and the potential
for those applications to serve the grid, reduce greenhouse
gases, and improve public health. For example, 40-foot
electric transit buses are readily available, and programs to
electrify transit fleets have a relatively high impact on greenhouse
gas emissions and air pollution because buses drive
many miles—40,000 miles per year, on average, in the United
States (CARB 2017). Moreover, just one transit agency can
electrify dozens or even hundreds of buses. Delivery trucks
and port equipment are similarly ready for electrification.
These vehicle applications can have a large potential impact
on greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution when a
large number of highly utilized vehicles are electrified.
However, despite the potential impact and readiness of
many vehicle applications for electrification, the upfront cost
of converting to electric models, including the cost of
charging infrastructure, remains a barrier. For example, the
total cost of a bus depot charger runs around $100,000,
with about half for the charger and half for the make-ready
infrastructure (CARB 2017). Large-scale utility programs
for transit buses, delivery trucks, and port equipment will
greatly accelerate beneficial transportation electrification
by reducing the upfront cost of charging infrastructure
that the customer would have to pay for in-full under the
business-as-usual utility investment model.
For more nascent medium- and heavy-duty EV applications,
utilities can invest in pilot programs to test and refine
technologies and policies that hold potential to serve the grid.
For example, electric school buses travel fewer miles than
transit buses, but they may have a substantial positive impact
by providing storage services to the grid. Indeed, school buses
are particularly well suited for the study of EVs as storage
because they operate on a regular schedule with significant
down time at midday and during the summer. This means
that school buses can store excess energy at times of low
demand or high renewable energy generation, including solar
power in the afternoon, and discharge this energy into the
grid as needed outside their operation schedule. In addition,
charge rebate that phases out gradually, and it has proposed
the same design in Massachusetts.
Both Southern California Edison and National Grid’s approaches
address the demand charge problem in the early
days of EV deployment. As the utility phases in the demand
charge or reduces the rebate, and as the number of EVs simultaneously
increases, the demand charge spreads over more
vehicles and reduces the per-mile burden.
Even so, challenges will remain for individual truck
operators and truck and bus operators that have small fleets
or fleets that cannot stagger charging. PG&E has developed a
design that, in addition to other benefits, may better accelerate
EV adoption among these users. In the PG&E design, the
commercial rate for EV charging replaces demand charges
with a fixed subscription fee based on charging capacity. This
restructured rate should lower bills for EV operators. Furthermore,
it is not temporary like Southern California Edison’s
rate design. Instead, it gives vehicle operators more
certainty about how rates will affect their fuel costs in the
longer term and helps secure future investments by vehicle
In Minnesota, Xcel Energy offers a commercial rate
that caps the demand charge for customers that consume
relatively little electricity overall. In effect, this rate phases
in demand charges for customers based on their total use of
electricity. Notably, this example is “technology neutral”: it is
available to all commercial customers, not just EV operators.
Time-varying pricing for electricity consumption is another
important aspect of rate design for electric trucks and
buses. Under a time-varying rate, the price of electricity
Time-varying prices
provide an incentive to
charge vehicles when
demand on the grid is
lower and when renewable
energy generation is high.
depends on the time of the day and its correlation to expected
or historical demands on the grid. Time-varying prices
provide an incentive to charge vehicles when demand on the
grid is lower and when renewable energy generation is high.
The commercial EV rates from National Grid, PG&E, and
Southern California Edison each include a time-of-use component.
The design of rates can also encourage operators to
provide grid services, such as using the vehicle battery to
Electric Utility Investment in Truck and Bus Charging 7
When not in use, electric school buses have the potential to store electricity when
renewable energy is at its peak, and then discharge it back to the grid when
demand is high.
Caitlyn Looby/UCI Sustainability/Creative Commons (Flickr)
school bus pilot programs can provide empirical evidence
on the effects of charging and discharging cycles on the degradation
of battery capacity. Further, electric school buses
reduce the exposure of children to pollution, thus serving a
demographic particularly vulnerable to suffering health
impacts from air pollution. Finally, electric school bus programs
can familiarize children, parents, and school employees
with EV technology in general. PG&E and Consolidated
Edison are among the utilities studying the potential for grid
services from electric school buses through pilot programs.
As more electric models become available, utilities should
consider opportunities to advance electrification and assess
the potential grid benefits of additional vehicle applications,
such as regional and long-haul trucking.
The market for electric trucks and buses is evolving rapidly.
Utilities need to evaluate carefully which truck and bus
applications are ready for large-scale programs and which are
appropriate for pilot-project investments.
Local air pollution from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles is
not distributed equally, nor are the resulting human health
impacts. They particularly affect communities with high concentrations
of truck and bus activity. The burden of truck tailpipe
pollution includes health risks, including premature
death, at every stage of life (Heffling and O’Dea 2018). Notably,
low-income people and people of color make up a disproportionately
large percentage of overburdened communities
(Mikati et al. 2018). To address these inequities, utilities and
public utility commissions should place a high priority on
programs that reduce the impacts of air pollution in overburdened
communities and increase access of those communities
to the benefits of electrified transportation.
A common way of achieving those aims is to dedicate
part—or all—of a program’s budget or planned charging ports
to serving overburdened communities. California requires
transportation electrification programs to benefit “disadvantaged
communities,” prioritizing communities that “suffer
economic, health, and environmental burdens” (CPUC n.d.b).4
Utilities have responded by siting many truck and bus pilot
programs in or adjacent to overburdened communities and by
allocating a portion of larger programs to these communities.
Early targets for electrification to reduce disproportionate
pollution impacts have included port projects by Southern
California Edison at the Port of Long Beach and by San Diego
Gas & Electric at San Diego International Airport.
For other pilot projects, the California Public Utilities
Commission has required utilities to carry out the projects in
disadvantaged communities, even if the initial proposal for a
project did not include that condition (CPUC 2018a). This is
the case for PG&E’s Electric School Bus Renewables Integration
Project. For larger-scale projects, utilities can dedicate a
portion of program funds to disadvantaged communities. For
example, San Diego Gas & Electric’s proposed large-scale
Medium- and Heavy-Duty EV Program would allocate 30 percent
of its budget to infrastructure installation in disadvantaged
communities (SDG&E 2018).
Although electric utilities play a critical role in advancing the
electrification of trucks and buses, other funding sources,
such as the Volkswagen settlement and state and federal
grants, are becoming available to support vehicle electrification.
Utilities should consider such funds as they design their
own charging programs. By leveraging various funding sources,
utilities can amplify the effect of infrastructure investments
without relying solely on ratepayer funds, yet still
4 In California Public Utilities Commission decisions, areas have qualified as disadvantaged communities by ranking in the top quartile of most-polluted
census tracts on a statewide or utility territory basis (whichever is broader) according to the California Environmental Protection Agency’s CalEnviroScreen
(CPUC 2018a).
8 union of concerned scientists
charging for its respective fleet needs. Through the proposed
program, Xcel says it will “learn more about the challenges to
electrifying a variety of vehicle types” (Xcel Energy 2018).
Utilities can leverage customer relationships to design successful
programs. Customers that are on the forefront of
electrifying their truck and bus fleets can be valuable sources
of information in the development of utility programs. Consulting
with vehicle operators during program design will
strengthen a utility’s program by incorporating into the
design process firsthand accounts of the needs of fleet vehicles
and possible impacts on the grid.
Strategic partnerships are particularly important for pilot
projects as utilities and participants embark on programs at
the edge of their collective expertise. Strategic partnerships
have featured in most of the pilot projects under way in
California. For instance, San Diego Gas & Electric has partnered
with San Diego International Airport, the San Diego
Unified Port District, and United Parcel Service for pilot
projects. Southern California Edison has partnered with the
Port of Long Beach for two pilots. As noted, Xcel Energy has
taken on three strategic partners in Minnesota in its proposed
Fleet EV Service Pilot.
Utilities should continually collaborate with vehicle and
fleet operators to understand the use and charging needs of
the vehicles in order to inform rate designs. As noted, utilities
and fleet managers can work together to explore demand
charge solutions and time-varying rates that account for the
volume and timing of charging demands on the grid and
provide affordable charging solutions for fleets.
The practice of reducing or shifting EV loads based on grid
conditions is known as “managed charging.” The ability to
manage charging is key to both unlocking the grid benefits of
EVs and enabling EV operators to minimize their fuel costs.
Typically, utilities provide incentives to encourage vehicle
and fleet managers to practice managed charging. For example,
rates are often lower for charging at times of excess
capacity in the electric system and higher when demand is
high. Utilities may also target better integration of renewable
electricity generation onto the grid by providing incentives to
shift charging to coincide with periods of high renewable
electricity production. Managed charging enables truck and
bus managers to minimize fuel costs by providing the opportunity
to shift charging to times of lower cost.
secure a wide range of benefits for ratepayers from transportation
To leverage external sources of funding and advance
truck and bus electrification, utilities can design programs and
rate structures that complement non-utility programs. This is
best done proactively, when state agencies and others are planning
their own investments in EVs. However, utilities also can
design programs after such plans take shape. For example,
National Grid provided for a number of transit bus chargers
in its latest program in Rhode Island as a way to support buses
funded by the Volkswagen settlement (RI.gov 2018). In addition,
utilities can reduce the expenses for make-ready infrastructure,
chargers, or equipment rebates by the amount of
other applicable grants or rebates.
Often, utility programs dedicated to medium- and heavy-duty
vehicles will most effectively implement charging infrastructure
needed by electric trucks and buses. That said, utilities
can identify opportunities to include light-duty vehicles
alongside medium- and heavy-duty EVs in fleet programs.
Fleet managers of all vehicle classes typically need infrastructure
support and information from utilities to determine fuel
costs as they transition to electric models. Moreover, an inclusive
fleet program would best serve managers that handle
multiple classes of vehicle. For their part, utilities need information
from fleet managers about how quickly managers will
transition to EVs and what the power requirements and
charging schedule will be in order to plan for increased grid
demands. As partners, a utility and a fleet manager can establish
a managed charging program that minimizes potential
grid stress and maximizes the ancillary grid services that
fleets may be able to offer.
Xcel Energy in Minnesota has proposed a pilot fleet program
that includes multiple types of vehicle. The utility’s
partners operate fleets of different classes, including Metro
Transit buses, the Minnesota Department of Administration’s
fleet of light-duty vehicles, and the City of Minneapolis’s
mixed fleet. Each fleet manager will work with Xcel to install
Utilities can identify
opportunities to include
light-duty EVs alongside
medium- and heavy-duty
EVs in fleet programs.
Electric Utility Investment in Truck and Bus Charging 9
State Utility Program Description
California Pacific Gas
& Electric
Commercial EV Rate
Subscription fee in 10-kilowatt or 50-kilowatt increments, depending on maximum
anticipated demand. Time-of-use rates for electricity volume that are the
same across seasons.
California Southern
Commercial EV
Demand charges waived and all costs recovered through volumetric rates in
years 1–5. Demand charges phased in over years 6–10, but remain at a lower
level. Time-of-use rates for electricity volume that vary by season and by
weekday vs. weekend/holiday.
Minnesota Xcel Energy A-14 General Rate
Billing demand shall be no greater than the value in kilowatts determined by
dividing the kilowatt-hour sales by 100 hours per month. Volumetric rates do
not vary by time of day.
Demand Charge
Discount Rebate
For General Commercial and Industrial customers with dedicated DC fastcharging
loads, including transit agencies. A per-kilowatt credit covering 100%
of the demand charge for three years. Phaseout of the discount will be determined
in the next Multiyear Rate Plan.
California Pacific Gas
& Electric
Electric School Bus
Integration Project
Make-ready infrastructure for managed school bus charging and renewable
energy integration. Implemented in a school district that serves one or more
disadvantaged communities.
California Pacific Gas
& Electric
Make-ready infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty EV fleets, plus marketing
and outreach. Rebates for EVSE and installation in disadvantaged communities
and for transit and school buses. Minimum 25% of budget for installations
in disadvantaged communities.
California San Diego
Gas &
Airport Ground
Support Equipment
Priority Review
Chargers to support electric-powered ground support equipment at San
Diego International Airport (SDIA) and integration with SDIA’s 5.5 megawatt
photovoltaic system.
California San Diego
Gas &
Fleet Delivery
Services Priority
Review Project
End-to-end utility ownership of DC fast chargers and Level 2 chargers for
medium-duty delivery EVs, including EVs in UPS’s fleet. Remaining chargers
to serve minority- or women-owned business participants. Load management
plan. Enrollment in time-varying rates required.
California San Diego
Gas &
Medium- and Heavy-
Duty EV Program
(proposed settlement)
Make-ready infrastructure for medium- and heavy-duty EVs, including off-road
vehicles. Rebates for school and transit bus EVSE. Minimum 30% of budget
allocated for installations in disadvantaged communities.
California San Diego
Gas &
Port Electrification
Priority Review
End-to-end utility ownership of charging infrastructure at San Diego Unified
Port District to support grant-funded medium-duty, heavy-duty, and forklift
California Southern
Medium- and
Heavy-Duty Vehicle
Charging Program
Make-ready infrastructure to serve medium- and heavy-duty EVs. Timevarying
rate required. Rebates for EVSE and installation for disadvantaged
communities and school and transit buses. Minimum 40% of budget for installations
in disadvantaged communities.
California Southern
Port of Long Beach
Priority Review
Make-ready infrastructure to charge rubber tire gantry cranes and terminal
yard tractors at the Port of Long Beach.
Minnesota Xcel Energy Fleet EV Service
Pilot Program
Make-ready infrastructure for fleets of light-, medium-, and heavy-duty EVs
and electrification advisory services. Option for either customer or utility to
both install and own EVSE. Time-varying rate is required.
New York Consolidated
School Bus
School buses to provide power to the grid during summer months. Utility
funds 25% of bus cost, 25% of charger cost, and all of vehicle-to-grid costs.
Charging Station
Make-ready charging infrastructure to support public transit buses
purchased with Volkswagen settlement funds.
Rate Design Programs
Infrastructure Programs
Summary of Programs and Rate Designs Discussed in These Recommendations
10 union of concerned scientists
This report was made possible by the generous support of the Common Sense
Fund, the 11th Hour Project of the Schmidt Family Foundation, the Heising-
Simons Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the John D. and
Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the John Merck Fund, the Rauch Foundation,
and UCS members.
We thank Max Baumhefner (NRDC), Ben Mendel (CALSTART), Katie Sloan
and Eric Seilo (Southern California Edison), and James Tong (Chanje Energy)
for helpful feedback and discussions.
Organizational affiliations are listed for identification purposes only. The
opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the organizations
that funded the work or the individuals who reviewed it. The Union of Concerned
Scientists bears sole responsibility for the report’s contents.
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). 2017a. Greenhouse gases,
regulated emissions, and energy use in transportation Model.
GREET1_2017, released Oct. Online at https://greet.es.anl.gov/
main, accessed March 15, 2019.
Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). 2017b. Greenhouse gases,
regulated emissions, and energy use in transportation Model.
GREET2_2017, released Oct. Online at https://greet.es.anl.gov/
main, accessed March 15, 2019.
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To manage charging most efficiently and effectively, truck
and bus managers need chargers that communicate with network
management systems. Beyond the immediate benefits,
capabilities for smart charging and networking are forms of
“future-proofing.” They allow for later upgrades to provide
more sophisticated grid services, such as vehicle-to-grid power
supply, as those capabilities become available for some
vehicle applications. For these reasons, utilities should include
minimum capabilities for the charging system that
enable managed charging as a requirement of truck and bus
charging programs.
A key way to future-proof utility investments in the infrastructure
for truck and bus charging is to go beyond the
immediate needs of vehicle operators and get charging sites
ready for additional vehicles and vehicles with higher demand
for charging power. For example, the manager of a
transit agency or delivery truck fleet might purchase only a
few electric buses at first but have long-term plans to electrify
the entire fleet. While the fleet manager may not initially
install chargers to support the entire planned adoption, the
utility should evaluate the appropriateness of installing makeready
infrastructure that accounts for the eventual load. This
would be better than tearing up the ground a second time to
lay additional distribution and connection wires as loads
increase. Ideally, this sort of future-proofing would also
provide flexibility for advances in charging technology, such
as wireless charging.
No one-size-fits-all approach can future-proof all makeready
installations. Utilities and program participants should
work together to size programs in ways that anticipate an
accelerated deployment of electric trucks and buses while
acknowledging uncertainties about the future. Futureproofing
should also balance cost-benefit assessments over
the duration of a program (typically three to five years) with
cost-benefit assessments over the lifetime of infrastructure
(typically 10 years or more).
Samantha Houston is an analyst in the UCS Clean Vehicles
Greensboro, NC, is just one of many US cities committed to increasing the
number of electric buses in its fleet. By partnering with fleet operators, utilities
can help bring more electric trucks and buses onto our roads.
Greensboro Transit Authority
Electric Utility Investment in Truck and Bus Charging 11
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find this document online: www.ucsusa.org/charging-trucks-buses
Electric trucks and buses can help tackle climate emissions,
reduce diesel pollution, and improve health outcomes in communities
burdened by air pollution. However, their widespread
deployment requires investing in the infrastructure for charging
them. Utilities can kick-start charging investments and advance
the use of electric trucks and buses through several strategies,
including the design of electricity rates, direct investments in
Electric Utility Investment in
Truck and Bus Charging
A Guide for Programs to Accelerate
Utilities can kick-start charging
investments and advance the use of
electric trucks and buses through
several strategies.
charging infrastructure, and rebate incentives that encourage site
hosts to install infrastructure. These recommendations, developed
by the Union of Concerned Scientists, point to how utilities can
accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and ensure that utility
customers and the electricity grid reap the benefits of infrastructure