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商业 - 汽车

一个国家如何让电动车成为主流?

Nancy E. Pfund 2015年06月18日

缺乏公共充电设施,是阻碍多数人购买电动汽车的一个主要壁垒。要想促进电动汽车的销量和提高消费者对它的信心,就必须投入巨资建设一个有更多充电站的公用充电网络,唯有如此,以特斯拉为代表的电动汽车才有机会走向主流。而在建设充电基础设施方面,电力公司将发挥不可替代的作用。

    像家用太阳能电板一样(它如今已经是美国增长最快的行业之一),电动汽车的发展也即将达到一个临界点。我们已经从其它清洁能源技术上见识到了,每一次产品换代都会给技术带来快速改进。从今年秋天开始,第二代电动汽车将会陆续开售,首先与消费者见面的将是新的特斯拉Model X和雪佛兰Volt。新一代的电动汽车不仅可选车型更多,续航里程也更长。

    如同可再生能源一样,电动汽车市场要想发展到更高的水平,需要投入巨资建设强大的公共充电站网络,并创建能够让这笔投资获得回报的新型商业模式。

    一项广泛共识是,缺乏公共充电设施(包括在工作地点和公寓楼),是阻碍多数人购买电动汽车的一个主要壁垒。基础设施缺口在很大程度上意味着资金缺口。美国国家科学院最近针对电动汽车发展壁垒的一项研究也表明,很难找到一个有吸引力的私营公司案例“来承担全部的公共充电基础设施投资成本。”

    在为充电站建设提供资金方面,电力公司处于一个独特地位,因为它们能在全网范围内享受到电动汽车大规模普及带来的好处,尤其是它还能提高电力公司的固定资产利用率。不过充电站的所有者也面临一个难题:尽管要想促进电动汽车的销量和提高消费者对它的信心,就必须建设一个有更多充电站的公用充电网络,但电动汽车大多时候还是在车主家里完成充电的。不过,如果电力公司提供了激励,鼓励车主在非用电高峰时段来公共充电站充电,公司就可以产生超过服务成本的收益,哪怕基于分时电价政策。原因在于,输电系统和其它固定资产是为了满足高峰用电而设计的,因此在非高峰时段都处于利用率不足的状态。

    要想增加电动汽车的数量,就需要一张“安全网”,来减轻车主的“里程焦虑症”。不过由于车主首选的是在家充电,而不是在公共充电站充电,因而充电站网络的主要作用是促进电动汽车的普及率,然后吸引车主在非用电高峰时候来公共充电站充电,从而提高固定资产的产能利用率,使电力公司可以获得更多的净收入。

    这样就建立了一种难得的“双赢”模式,使电动汽车的车主、电力公司和所有电力用户都能从公共充电站的建设投资中获益。加州最近的一项研究表明,电力公司从电动汽车大规模商用化过程中可获得22.6亿至81.1亿美元的净收入。这足以推动电力公司投资安装公共充电设施,然后以较低的分时电价的模式将部分收入返还给顾客。

    Like rooftop solar—now one of America’s fastest growing industries—electric cars are poised to hit their tipping point. As we’ve seen with other clean energy technologies, each product generation brings rapid improvement. Starting this fall, the second generation of electric cars will be arriving at showrooms —starting with the Tesla Model X and Chevy Volt – offering greater range and more model choices.

    As with renewable energy, taking the electric vehicle market to the next level will require big investments in creating a robust network of public charging stations and creating new business models to make such investments worth it.

    It has been widely recognized that the lack of publicly available charging infrastructure – including at workplaces and apartment buildings —is a key barrier to mass adoption of electric vehicles. The infrastructure gap is in large part a “financing gap.” As a recent National Academies of Science study on electric vehicle barriers confirms, it is hard to identify any standalone private sector entities that have an “attractive business case for absorbing the full capital costs of investments in public charging infrastructure.

    Utility companies are in the unique position to finance charging stations because they can capture the grid-wide benefits of large-scale electrification, especially the benefit of greater utilization of fixed assets. However, the conundrum for owners of charging stations is that while a safety net of more stations is needed to drive sales and further reliance of cars using electricity for their fuel, the vast majority of the charging is still likely to happen at home. By creating incentives for home charging to happen duringoff peak hours, utility companies can generaterevenues that exceed their cost of service, even with time-of-use rates.This is because the distribution system and other fixed assets are sized to meet peak loads and thus are underutilized during off-peak hours.

    The problem is how to build EV load, and to do such you need a “safety net” to reduce “range anxiety” which then drives adoption, but because the network is more of a safety net, it will not be the primary location to charge, versus at home. So a network drives EV adoption and load, which then predominately occurs off peak which allows utility to increase their capacity utilization rates of fixed assets, which then allows them to collect more net revenues.

    This creates a rare “win-win” situation where electric vehicle drivers, utilities and all utility customers can benefit from increased investments in electrification. A recentCalifornia study estimated that utility companies could earn $2.26 to $8.11 billion in net revenues from large-scale commercialization of EVs. This is sufficient to allow utilities to invest both in installing charging infrastructure and return some of the revenues to their customers in the form of lower rates.

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