DER, News, Storage, Vehicle to grid

Xcel Energy lays out vision of electrifying 20% of all vehicles in its territory by 2030

Highway
Credit: Photo by Alexander Schimmeck on Unsplash
The utility says that powering 1.5M EVs will reduce emissions and save customers billions

This week, Xcel Energy announced a vision of powering 1.5 million electric vehicles (EVs) in its service areas by 2030. EVs would then make up 20% of all vehicles on the road in those areas, more than 30 times the number today, helping save customers billions of dollars in fuel costs, while also cutting carbon emissions from transportation.

The company’s vision aims to build a future of clean, affordable transportation in the eight states it serves via new charging infrastructure and customer programs.

Xcel is already launching and developing partnerships, programs and services to increase electrifying transportation. The major plans currently proposed in Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico and Wisconsin aim to support residential charging, increase access to electric transportation for all customers, speed fleet electrification and expand public charging options. Xcel has proposed investing $300 million to accelerate adoption of EVs in its communities.

Highlights of the initiatives underway include:

  • A charging subscription pilot in Minnesota allows customers to charge up as much as they need on nights and weekends for one low, flat monthly price, and a home charging service program coming soon that makes it easier for customers to have charging equipment installed.
  • A residential smart charging pilot launching later this year that will reward customers in Colorado for conveniently optimizing their charging times to benefit the grid and use more renewable energy.
  • Pilots and programs to increase access to public charging in Colorado and Minnesota by providing infrastructure to help reduce the upfront costs
  • New residential and business programs for customers in Wisconsin will significantly lower the cost of charging equipment and encourage charging during low-cost, off-peak hours.
  • Education and advice for customers and the public about the benefits of electric vehicles, whether they visit Xcel Energy’s website, visit a dealership or call the company’s energy experts.
  • Fleet infrastructure programs help public transit agencies and fleet operators plan for and implement charging solutions that drive their transition to electric vehicles.
  • Active conversations with a wide variety of partners to help achieve this 2030 EV vision.

As drivers, ride-share companies, public transit and other fleet operators replace internal combustion engine vehicles with EVs, they will see substantial savings on fuel, as driving electric is equal to spending $1 per gallon of gas and can be significantly less when charging overnight. It is estimated that by 2030, an EV would cost $700 less per year to fuel than a gas-powered car, saving customers $1 billion annually.

Xcel states that 1.5 million EVs would reduce carbon emissions by nearly 5 million tons annually by 2030. EVs charged on the Xcel’s system will have about 80% lower carbon emissions than gas-powered cars, according to Xcel. More EVs would also improve air quality by reducing other emissions, like nitrogen oxide and fine particulate matter, that have the greatest impact on public health.

The transition to more electric cars, trucks and buses will also help keep bills low for all customers, including those who don’t drive an EV. The additional electricity sales generated by EVs compensate for the system investment required to support them; therefore, everyone will benefit from cleaner air and lower bills, said the company.

The company’s plans focus on equity, accessibility and fairness, allowing everyone to benefit from the growth of EVs. In addition to helping customers who own EVs, its programs aim to give all customers access to clean, affordable, electric transportation. That includes working with transit agencies and car sharing organizations to increase access to electric transportation, especially for those in underserved communities.

Xcel aims to electrify all sedans by 2023, electrify all light-duty vehicles by 2030 and have 30% of its medium- and heavy-duty vehicles electrified by 2030.

Brett Carter, executive vice president and chief customer and innovation officer, Xcel Energy, commented, “Our new, ambitious EV vision builds on this work as we continue to lead the clean energy transition and enhance the customer experience while keeping bills low. We are actively seeking partnerships with automakers, tech and charging companies, other private and public sector entities, as well as our communities and customers, to find innovative ways to drive toward an electric vehicle future.”

“The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory is pleased to support and be a part of Xcel Energy’s exciting new EV vision,” said Martin Keller, NREL Laboratory Director. “Electrification of the transportation sector is a critical priority in Colorado and other states that Xcel Energy serves. Partnerships are a vital part of NREL’s mission, and we value our growing collaboration with Xcel Energy.”