New Report Released: Vehicle Electrification and the Smart Grid

The Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS America) released  new a report entitled Vehicle Electrification and the Smart Grid-The Supporting Role of Safety and Mobility Services.  It is the latest report in the Technology Scan and Assessment project, which is funded by the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO) within the U.S. Department of Transportation.  ITS America will present this report in a webinar hosted by Dr. Kenneth Laberteaux, Senior Principal Research Scientist at Toyota Research Institute-North America. The webinar, entitled What’s Driving All This Driving?, will be held on Thurs., Nov. 15, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time.  Click here for more information and to register.

Vehicle Electrification and the Smart Grid- The Supporting Role of Safety and Mobility Services concludes that although electric vehicles are gaining popularity among environmentally conscious consumers they are limited to a niche in the vehicle marketplace because of  technology constraints: limited driving range and costly batteries.  Although range is a critical factor for passenger vehicles that are driven both short and long distances, fleets such as transit, short haul freight and car sharing do not require significant range and thus may represent an opportunity to expand vehicle electrification. New Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulations in the next decade may drive the “light-weighting” or downsizing of some vehicle categories, including electrics, to achieve more aggressive fuel economy requirements and electric range performance.  Light-weight vehicles may be more fuel efficient, but it remains to be seen whether they will be able to afford as much protection for occupants in the event of a crash.  To prepare for larger scale production of electric vehicles, and to allay concerns or perceptions that smaller, lighter vehicles may prove less safe than conventional vehicles in the event of a crash, collision warning and crash prevention technology will likely need to advance simultaneously with light-weighting.

The build out of “connected” electric vehicle charging infrastructure and the smart grid will improve the mobility range, fuel efficiency and environmental performance of electric vehicles. Distributed public charging infrastructure includes chargers in workplaces and parking facilities that allow drivers to “top-off” their batteries, which increases the range of battery electrics, but also the number of miles that plug-in hybrid vehicles can travel in more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly all-electric-mode.

Click here to read the report.

In the webinar, Dr. Lamberteaux will expand on the conclusions in the report and examine the larger population and transportation trends in the U.S. that will affect the future of electric vehicles.  He will addresses the urbanization and mobility trends in U.S. metropolitan areas by visualizing of both national-level and metro-level data.  Contradicting the conventional wisdom, the data suggest that suburbs, highways, and cars will likely remain key to our future US society.  Finally, he will examine these questions:  How should the U.S. prepare for this possible future?  What are the challenges and opportunities for the automotive industry and policy makers? What is the role for ITS and electric vehicles?

About the Technology Scan and Assessment

This report and its associated webinar are part of the Technology Scan and Assessment project, which is a multi-year study series that ITS America is conducting under sponsorship and guidance from the Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office in the U.S. Department of Transportation.  The Technology Scan and Assessment project tracks trends, technologies, and innovations that are outside the domain of mainstream transportation research but could influence intelligent transportation systems.

All reports speculate on the future impact of a given new technology or system to the transportation sector in general, and specifically to a future Vehicle-to-Vehicle, Vehicle-to-Device, Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2X) core system relying on vehicle Dedicated Short-Range Communications, as contemplated in USDOT's Connected Vehicle Research and Development program.

To learn more about the Technology Scan and Assessment, go to or