elk river ev and charger

Municipal utility peer cohort to accelerate electric vehicle adoption

When the Clean Energy Resource Teams  and Great Plains Institute were wrapping up the Cities Charging Ahead! peer cohort in the summer of 2019—which produced several resources and tools to guide communities on their EV readiness journey—the big question was, “what next?”

So when the opportunity came to pivot and support municipal utilities to become EV ready in order to further accelerate deployment of EVs across Minnesota, it seemed like the natural next step. Introducing: Powering Ahead with Vehicle Electrification (PAVE), which launched in mid-March.

Peers coming together

The PAVE cohort has 24 people from sixteen municipal utilities across Minnesota participating in at least one part of the cohort. The cohort has several parts or “highways” the participants can chose from, with most having chosen to engage in all. The initial section, ‘Getting up to Speed’, focuses on level setting around EV basics around: the current state of the market, education and engagement of customers, case studies from a peer utility, and a review of the many resources already available, including the ones from CCA found on the Drive Electric Minnesota website. Going forward, utilities will have additional mini-cohorts to participate in including:

  • Charging Up: focused on planning, choosing, and siting an EV charger for public use
  • Revving Up Utility Programs: exploring what other utilities have designed and discussing the pros and cons for options to encourage home charging with a rebate or encouraging a time of use rate (TOU) to allow for increased load management
  • Hitting the Road: for exploring fleet analysis and options for adding EVs to utility and city fleets
  • Kicking the Tires: exploring opportunities for dealership outreach, education, and engagement

Guiding connections, learning & action

CERTs will facilitate the cohort and support the participants efforts by connecting them to information, resources and technical assistance. A key component of the cohort is sharing experience and resources of the participants with each other. The timing, particular topics, and resources will be guided by participant interest and need. Prior to the start of the project, participants took a survey to provide information on what they have already accomplished, provide feedback, and what they are most interested in pursuing in through the cohort. We are adapting the project timeline based on participant feedback and current events. 

The cohort will likely go through the fall of 2020. In 2021 we will be focused on sharing the recorded webinars, case studies, resources, and tools enhanced or developed during the effort. PAVE is facilitated by Diana McKeown, Metro CERT Director at GPI and is funded by a CERTs grant from the McKnight Foundation. For more information, contact Diana at [email protected].

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