Transportation Electrification – Oncor’s Efforts to Be Ahead of the Wave
- Nov 12, 2020 10:39 pm GMT
Oncor is dedicated to ensuring the capacity needed to charge a vehicle is present when a customer elects to acquire one or a whole fleet of electric vehicles.
We are responding to customer requests for enhanced service capacity to charge vehicles whether at home, at public sites or along transportation corridors. Our approach is predicated upon the Texas electric market structure where Oncor transports electricity from a generation source to a meter on a customer’s premise. Other parties generate the electricity and still others sell it in competitive markets. Since we are prohibited from participating in the competitive markets, we cannot own chargers or the infrastructure on the customer’s premise.
This may seem a constraining environment to encourage transportation electrification, but we see in it an opportunity to better serve our customers. To do this, Oncor segmented the customer groups we serve who may wish to electrify their vehicles, whether for personal transportation or fleets that enable transit and municipal services or haul freight and deliver packages. The segmentation permitted us to look at the investment Oncor would need to make to serve these segments most effectively.
Our response has been different for each group and will continue to be so. For personal transportation, we have modeled different areas in our service territory to determine load impacts as customers transition from internal combustion vehicles to electric. What we have seen is most feeders do not require significant upgrades until approximately 25 percent or more of the premises add electric charging for their vehicles. Given the nearly 10 million customers we serve, we generally see the ability to handle the necessary upgrades in our normal investment planning.
Fleets, however, are a different story. Texas has nearly 13% of all US Freight moving through it, The Dallas and Fort Worth area is a cross roads for air, road and rail transport. It also has one of the highest concentrations of logistics centers and warehousing in the country.
We have identified nearly 22,000 fleets of various sizes, vehicle types and operational uses in our service area. Whether school buses, transit fleets, municipal governments, or commercial enterprises. We see Amazon warehouses with hundreds of tractor trailers delivering goods and thousands of vans making the trip to your home or business. We also see the neighborhood dry cleaner with three delivery vans. All may make a decision to electrify those fleets as total cost of ownership continues to drop rapidly.
We also have great interest in the Tesla factory opening next year in Austin, which will be making the Semi and Cybertruck along with the new Roadster and model Y crossovers. We expect these locally manufactured vehicles will draw substantial interest from Texans, and particularly those living and working in our service area.
To better understand how Oncor can honor its promise to have capacity available to charge prior to the arrival of an electric vehicle, we have and are taking two actions:
First, we built and continue to refine a tool that enables us to know within a few minutes where the closest capacity exists at substations. We gather information from the customer about the company electrification plans and likely operational profiles. This information is analyzed in the tool which can project load increases out to 2050 for residential, commercial and industrial needs. We layer in the fleet data which accelerates the substation load growth, but puts the total into perspective. This provides direction for Oncor to plan capital investments needed to meet customer requirements on any given feeder.
We also have the ability to do “what if” analysis of loads for fleet owners and operators. While this information is preliminary, it allows us to look more in-depth.
Second, we are beginning a study of our electrification landscape. We hope to learn about the size, shape, location and timing of fleet electrification in our service area as a result of this project. It will become the roadmap for how we expand fleet customer engagement.
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