Brattle Principal Jürgen Weiss has authored an article published in Public Utilities Fortnightly (PUF) 2.0, “Electrification 2018: Driving the Future, This Year,” which discusses how mobility services could change electrification’s pace and shape.

Dr. Weiss explains how the emergence of mobility as a service could cause a potential shift of miles traveled in individually-owned vehicles to those provided by mobility service providers and, by doing so, speed up electrification of the transportation sector. In particular, if mobility service providers electrify their fleets more rapidly than individual car owners, a shift to mobility services creates the possibility that transport itself will become electrified a lot faster than the vehicle stock itself. In that case electricity sales may pick up speed sooner than currently expected, with corresponding needs to rapidly expand the required infrastructure. Necessary investments could include reinforcing distribution networks and expanding access to charging infrastructure, as well as expanding clean power supply and associated transmission. The article notes that while rapid electrification of mobility service fleets is not a foregone conclusion, there are several reasons why mobility service providers are likely to electrify their fleets more rapidly than individual car owners.

Dr. Weiss also points out that there are significant implications for utilities. He suggests that more rapid electrification of transportation could lead to stronger sales growth earlier and in the long run, which could have implications for how rapidly the generation and transmission system will have to grow and adapt relative to the current paradigm of slow or no growth. Electrification of transport likely also means very different demands for the location, speed, and timing of EV charging, driven by replacing miles traveled in individually-owned vehicles with miles traveled on mobility service fleets. Therefore, it will be important for utilities to keep track of the fast-paced developments in the area of mobility services, and adjust their forecasting, planning, and service offerings accordingly.

The article, “The Electrified Future is Shared: Mobility Services Could Change Electrification’s Pace, Shape,” appeared in the Mid-February 2018 issue of Public Utilities Fortnightly and is available below. Permission granted by publisher.

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