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Summary of Current Uses of Electric Vehicle Charge / Discharge Flexibility in Wholesale Energy markets and Reliable Grid Operations

12 January 2024, Jessica Harrison, Convenor of Working Group C5.34, Alexander Ladermann and Ali Moeini, members of WG C5.34.

                                        Summary of Current Uses of Electric Vehicle Charge / Discharge Flexibility in Wholesale Energy markets and Reliable Grid Operations



The global electric vehicle (EV) market is rapidly expanding and further growth is expected in coming years. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 14% of all new cars sold in 2022, 10 million cars, were electric compared with 9% in 2021 and less than 5% in 2020.[1] Regional, national, and local policies continue to drive EV sales, with several countries banning internal combustion engines or committing to shift to 100% electric between 2025 to 2050.


The power rating and availability of EV charging infrastructure, also known as Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE), varies significantly. The IEA estimates that today’s global average public charging power capacity per electric light-duty vehicle is around 2.4 kilowatts (kW) per EV, ranging from 7 kW per EV in Korea to less than 1 kW per EV in other countries such as New Zealand and Australia.[2] EVSE power levels for light-duty vehicles can range from 1.5 to over 350 kW and for medium- and heavy-duty, 20 kW to over 1 megawatt (MW).


While new EV-related loads will require significant grid investments, many studies and demonstrations and some commercial applications have started to explore or demonstrate the potential for EVs to provide grid services such as flexibility or even back-up power services.


Working Group Objective and Scope


This Working Group will summarize the current uses of EVs and EVSE in the operations and market optimization of the wholesale power grid across several regions. The evaluation will explore current eligible services and pricing approaches, participant roles, requisite technology and regulatory frameworks to facilitate these uses. The final report will provide insight into both the common and unique elements of EV integration today and provide a framework for assessing potential future standardization of EV integration. The final report will also identify areas of need for future assessment for successful standardization of EV integration.


The Working Group was launched in Q3 of 2022 and currently consists of nine members from seven countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, France, Germany, India, Russia and the United States. The Working Group has started to collect information among the working group countries and regions, with a focus on:

  • Status on EV and EVSE technology deployments and grid integration
  • EV-related regulation and policies influencing EV and EVSE deployment and operation
  • Relevant market and grid operator rules for EV integration, and
  • Stakeholder engagement models for EV-related services


In addition to researching information for the countries of the Working Group members, the Working Group will survey additional regions and countries. Upon gathering information and summarizing EV integration approaches across countries and regions, the Working Group will note commonalities and variations in approaches, within the context of the differing levels of deployment for EV and EVSE within the regions. The team will develop a handful of use cases to highlight what might be driving the commonalities and variations in EV integration approaches and summarize a handful of relevant demonstrations to illustrate potential future approaches. The team will then propose a framework for assessing the potential future standardization of EV integration. The Working Group seeks to summarize its work via a Technical Brochure and an Executive Summary in Electra and provide a tutorial and webinar.


The Working Group has begun collecting information and is preparing to launch a survey to gather information on other countries and regions in late November for responses in early next year.


Initial Observations


Three regions currently account for the majority of EV sales – China, Europe and the United States. While EV sales are low in other regions, some markets are showing significant growth in sales. For example, EV sales in India doubled between Q1 2023 and Q1 2022.[3]


Regional, national and local policy has played a significant role in EV adoption and EVSE deployment. According to the IEA, more than 90% of global sales of light-duty vehicles in 2022 were influenced by policies incentivizing EV adoption.[4]  Such policies often are geared toward promoting faster adoption or deployment but also directly or indirectly influence EV and EVSE capabilities. For example, policies might require or incent EVSE that have smart-charging or bi-directional capabilities.[5]  In addition, the incentives could influence EVSE power ratings and resulting grid loads. The EU Council, for example, passed legislation that will require charging plazas every 60 km be installed along certain highways by 2025. These plazas must have a minimum capacity of 400 kW and at least one 150 kW or above charger for light-duty vehicles and 600 kW capacity for heavy-duty vehicles.[6]


Further research will be conducted by the Working Group; however, it appears that many countries and regions with significant EV adoption have not yet broadly defined market rules specific to EVs nor broadly deployed market-based approaches to EV integration. Rather, those commercially active EV charging and energy management services that exist today focus largely on customer cost reduction based on utility tariffs and in some cases respond to utility information or command-and-control signals to maximize renewable energy use or increase “hosting” capacity for electrified loads or renewables. In addition, many grid operators are still largely focused on grid integration at the distribution level and ensuring sufficient capacity to transfer power; how to enhance EV-related information, monitoring and management; and understanding the capabilities and performance of EVs or EV aggregations.


That said, several studies and pilots have been or are being conducted to better understand the potential for EVs integration into wholesale markets or using market-based approaches. Furthermore, many of the actions to integrate distributed energy resources (DERs) will play a significant role in aiding the integrating EVs or EV aggregations into wholesale power markets.[7]


In summary, there are ambitious targets to deploy EVs and EVSEs and policies to meet those targets are increasing the number of EVs deployed and shaping the capabilities of EVSEs. However, most regions appear to be still studying and demonstrating market-based integration, and in some cases non-market integration. Furthermore, it appears that challenges must be addressed before market-based services will be feasible. This includes improving metering and visibility of EVs and EVSE loads (or supply) and deploying the capability to aggregate and manage EV loads (or supply) for grid use. Furthermore, in some cases, grid operators are unsure or skeptical of what prices will appropriately incent EV owners to broadly participate in markets and what prices or participation levels will achieve reliable or consistent performance. That said, commercial software programs today are successful supporting EV grid integration or even renewable integration with EVs. However, their use is not yet widespread, and they generally do not use market-based approaches. Finally, efforts to integrate DERs into wholesale markets are a significant pathway for enabling EV-based services via wholesale markets.


[1]     International Energy Agency, “Global EV Outlook 2023,” April 2023. Available online at https://www.iea.org/reports/global-ev-outlook-2023

[2]     Ibid.

[3]     Ibid

[4]     Ibid

[5]     See for example, proposed changes to Energy Performance Buildings Directive for new and majorly renovated buildings that would require charging points to be capable of smart charging.  Available online at https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/TA-9-2023-0068_EN.pdf

[6]     See article, “New EU law requires fast-charging stations at every 60 kilometers by the end of 2025” published July 27, 2023 on the World Economic Forum website. Available online at https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2023/07/eus-law-mandates-fast-charging-stations-every-60-kilometers-along-highways-2025/

[7]     See for example, Independent System Operators and Regional Transmission Organization (ISO/RTO) wholesale market rules specific to DERs in response to  FERC Order 2222.  A FERC Order 2222 Fact Sheet is available online at https://ferc.gov/media/ferc-order-no-2222-fact-sheet.