The Expanding Role Of Utilities in EV Transition

Shifting Gears

Expanding The Role Of Utilities In The eMobility Transition

Amidst all the strategies in play within utilities around “clean energy,” eMobility has clearly moved front and center. For energy providers, vehicle electrification presents an unprecedented combination of business, customer, and societal value. The eMobility movement will set in motion a widely distributed, highly flexible, controllable portfolio of storable energy resources---with projected impacts stretching across the entire energy value chain. At scale, it will reduce overall carbon impacts, optimize energy costs, improve grid resiliency, and create new sources of customer value. But unlike some other aspects of the clean energy agenda, eMobility will be immediately accretive to revenues (from the sale of kWh, as well as from new products and managed service offerings)---creating a new growth platform for utilities that will be welcomed and appreciated across stakeholder groups (customers, communities, and even regulators) for its positive impact on climate and society at large.

What role will Utilities play?

Despite the boldness of this overall value proposition, however, the degree to which individual utilities are embracing eMobility in their organizations varies considerably.

A few have clearly stepped up as trailblazers---aggressively stepping into the leading roles of catalysts, architects, and orchestrators of the eMobility ecosystem in their communities. Others are getting involved but have kept their role limited to supporting cast---reactive (vs. proactive) to the needs overtly expressed by customers and key stakeholders. However, most utilities today are still very much on the sidelines---learning, absorbing, and assessing the best way to add value in this transition before committing more boldly.

At the same time, the market is being flooded with countless vendors and market participants, each with their own unique business interests. These range from auto manufacturers to providers of charging/storage hardware, software, and services. But like utilities, their degree of individual involvement varies widely. Some appear content to play in their sweet spot, while others are vying for much larger and more dominant roles.


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