Electric Vehicles and The Grid – analysis for DEIP

In research commissioned by ARENA and the Distributed Energy Integration Program, we’ve analysed the gaps in knowledge and current activities around the integration of electric vehicles (of all sizes) into the electricity system.

The executive summary is below and the full report is available here.

Executive Summary

This report aims to describe the current state of this landscape and recommend actions that can be taken by innovation funding bodies (such as ARENA) to enhance this uptake. Its scope includes road vehicles with plugs; charging; and enabling technology. This report does not include policy recommendations, although they are an extremely important part of the transport electrification puzzle.

Sociotechnical transitions theories provide insight into how innovation moves from niche to normality. These theories emphasise the importance of considering change across multiple dimensions and taking a socio-techno-economic approach. The report has implemented this using a mixed methods approach incorporating data, qualitative discussion, and expert feedback. As well as considering technology and cost, it also considers how users are currently, and could be, involved in creating the transport electrification future.

It is important to take a strategic approach. We have developed a framework to co-ordinate actions, shown in Figure 1. This framework is in three stages: define, build, and test.

  • Define refers to the fundamental basis on which transitions are built, such as who or what are regarded as important, and what settings are in place from which change can be scaled up. Policy measures (outside the scope of this report) are very important in this phase, however projects can also create definition through variation in visions and participation.
  • Test is technology-focused, in that it aims to cultivate and embed new solutions and avoid the creation of new problems.
  • Build is focused on scaling technologies—grown from good fundamentals and incorporating foresight—and ensuring that insights and lessons are shared across a very broad and diverse range of stakeholders.