A new report released on January 18, 2022 made the case for how proper planning and widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) could benefit all Ohio consumers—including those not driving EVs.

The 28-page report entitled The ABCs of Ohio EVs: A Policy Guide to Electrify Ohio is authored by the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) of Ohio, a nonprofit, nonpartisan consumer watchdog that advocates for residential and small-business utility customers. Clean Fuels Ohio contributed to the report.

Intended as a guidance resource for Ohio policymakers, the report analyzes the multiple components of large-scale EV adoption, identifies challenges specific to Ohio, and presents recommendations on how the state can successfully implement EV policies to benefit the broadest circle of Ohio consumers.

The report astutely zeroes in on one of the greatest fears associated with widespread EV adoption: higher electricity demand leading to greater stress on aging electric grid infrastructure and a complementary rise in electricity prices for consumers.

The ABCs of Ohio EVs argues that wise planning by legislators and public utility regulators can avoid such a scenario and instead deliver benefits to all Ohio electricity consumers.

One key is providing lower electricity rates to EV drivers who charge their vehicles overnight, when there is less demand on the power grid. Such “smart-charging” policies would buoy grid resiliency, thereby preventing costly construction of new power plants and saving money for everyone. Additionally, the increase in electricity sales volume from charging would spread utilities’ costs over more energy usage, which could lead to lower electricity rates for all Ohio consumers.

“With smart planning, everybody in Ohio could benefit from the rise of electric vehicles, even if they never drive one,” said CUB Ohio Executive Director and Clean Fuels Ohio Board Member Tom Bullock. “Consumers can benefit not just from clean air and lower carbon emissions but also from downward pressure on electricity prices.”

Overall, CUB Ohio recommends eight cost-effective steps Ohio should take to secure the potential benefits of EVs for state residents, all of which Clean Fuels Ohio supports:

  • Convene a statewide open stakeholder process to develop a common vision for the future of EVs in Ohio.
  • Establish lower electricity rates for off-peak and overnight EV home charging.
  • Develop smart-charging pilot programs to encourage EV charging that minimizes costs and grid stress.
  • Identify and address barriers to public charging.
  • Provide targeted and equitable incentive programs to make both new and used EVs more affordable.
  • Design innovative programs to ensure that all consumer segments benefit from EVs, including environmental justice communities that need cleaner air.
  • Develop online tools to give people quick and easy access to reliable EV and EV charging information.
  • Launch outreach programs to educate people about how EVs could benefit all consumers.

“Ohio has an exciting opportunity to develop strong policy to make EVs work for all consumers, and we look forward to working with all parties in that process,” Bullock said. “A good start is to give consumers access to electricity rates that will encourage them to charge their cars at night and save money.”

To read the report and learn more about CUB Ohio, visit their website at CUBOH.org.