The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) approved on Wednesday an expansion of the Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) statewide electric vehicle (EV) smart charging program, which seeks to incentivize off-peak charging.
The changes to Con Ed's program will allow larger types of EVs to be eligible for off-peak charging incentives, including medium-duty and heavy-duty EVs. Applying the incentive program to larger vehicles will help utilities manage the grid as more EVs are brought on, ensure the operational needs of larger EVs are met through charging infrastructure and sweeten the price proposition for those considering switching from a diesel-powered ride.
The state aims to electrify the transportation sector in order to meet its goals of reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) 40% by 2030 from 1990 levels. New York is looking to put almost 900,000 EVs on the road by 2025 to help meet that goal, and the smart charging program would help the utility manage the added load.
The PSC's decision complements a statewide EV infrastructure plan by expanding Con Ed's smart charging program that was previously available only to light-duty EVs.
The expansion will allow the utility to investigate strategies to shift EV grid activity for vehicles with larger batteries and charging terminals, along with the customer response to heavier-duty EV rates. Heavy-duty EVs, such as trucks, may have a less flexible schedule, which merits additional study by Con Ed, the PSC said in a press release.
Offering an enrollment incentive and other bonuses for installation and participation, Con Ed's smart charging program equips EVs with a device to monitor the geographic location and charging status of vehicles, to provide a rebate for off-peak charging.
The Environmental Protection Agency classifies vehicles by weight in order to set 'impactful' emission standards, as the PSC notes that heavier trucks emit more GHGs. Medium-duty vehicles are between 8,500 and 10,000 pounds, and heavy-duty vehicles and engines, such as large multi-trailer freight trucks, could be anywhere from 10,001 pounds to over 33,000 pounds. Replacing the diesel-powered version of these vehicles with EVs is meant to help reduce GHG emissions faster.
EV charging company Greenlots has proposed further incentives for any EVs heavier than a light-duty vehicle, such as future charging program development that would utilize demand response to increase "grid benefits for EV owners," the PSC wrote in its order. Greenlots supports the order, but does not believe the program expansion goes far enough, the PSC noted when summarizing the comments received for Con Ed's smart charging expansion.
Earlier this year, automakers, bus manufacturers, EV charging providers and other groups supporting EV benefits signed a petition to the PSC to accelerate efforts to push EV adoption in the state.
The petition said that to support EV deployment, the PSC should find a track outside of utility rate cases to consider transportation electrification issues. However, the proceeding for Con Ed's smart charging expansion came as part of a larger parent docket for the utility's rates, charges and regulations in the state, PSC NY 16-00253/16-E-0060.