Utilities and EV Firms Launch Alliance for Transportation Electrification

The Alliance for Transportation Electrification (ATE), a national non-profit organization, was launched today to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles (EVs) and support grid transformation by promoting open standards, helping shape state policies and rate structures, and facilitating expansion of EV infrastructure.

The announcement was made at a launch event co-sponsored by the Institute for Electric Innovation and ATE at the 129th Annual Meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) in Baltimore. The panel discussion featured speakers from the Institute for Electric Innovation, Plug-in America, the Energy Foundation, and Southern Company, moderated by ATE Executive Director Philip Jones.

According to ATE, the new alliance comprises a broad and diverse membership from all parts of the transport electrification ecosystem, including utilities, automotive companies, electric vehicle supply equipment companies, and engineering/consulting firms. It will partner with organizations state-by-state with a focus on execution and implementation.

“We’ve brought together a tremendous amount of talent and expertise with common goals as outlined in our organizing principles. As past president of NARUC and former Washington [Utilities and Transportation Commission] commissioner, I’m familiar with the political and regulatory hurdles we face as two industries converge – the transportation sector and the electric power sector,” said Jones. “Although there are challenges involved such as permitting, building codes, aligning infrastructure with market projections, and complex rate design issues, the alliance will stay focused on the myriad opportunities that widespread transportation electrification provides our citizens.”

ATE is organized around three fundamental goals:

1) To encourage transportation electrification and accelerate the deployment of EV infrastructure across all 50 states;

2) To promote open standards and interoperability for EV charging to maximize industry innovation and benefits to consumers; and

3) To allow utility ownership and facilitation of these assets based on appropriate rules, to achieve state and local policy goals and ensure that all classes of electricity customers can benefit.

“Our country’s electricity grid is undergoing a major transformation that will affect every stakeholder from consumer to business to utility,” Jones continued. “The electrification of transportation presents significant opportunities to stimulate innovation and competition while reducing energy costs and environmental impact. But we need to get the right mix of policies and regulatory designs to achieve these benefits, and it will involve a balancing of interests that state commissions have historically done. We cannot afford to fail, so the alliance will be laser-focused on executing on our priorities and goals with states and local governments.”

Britta Gross, director of advanced vehicle commercialization policy at General Motors, said, “General Motors believes in an all-electric future, and I am pleased to see utilities and other EV infrastructure stakeholders come together around common principles and a goal to accelerate access for all customers. The alliance’s work with utilities, state commissions and other state agencies, local governments, and others will help benefit customers and drive future innovation.”

Mahi Reddy, CEO of SemaConnect, said, “I am very pleased to see the formation of this broad-based alliance that includes both utilities and firms that specialize in providing innovative charging infrastructure solutions for electric vehicles. The task of transitioning our transportation from fossil fuels to electricity is a huge undertaking, and a collaborative approach that brings together the various stakeholders in the ecosystem is key to a smooth and successful transition.”

According to ATE, the alliance will actively engage with state public utility commissions, transportation agencies, and local governments (city and county) that wish to promote transportation electrification. At the same time, it will not focus on federal action, since the necessary infrastructure will be primarily built out at the state and local level, according to ATE.

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