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Southern California Edison Is EV-Ready

January 14, 2012 in Electric Drive, Fleet Order by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

“It’s all about choices,” says Ed Kjaer, director of plug-in vehicle readiness at Southern California Edison.

Unlike gasoline or diesel, with drivers beholden to public fueling stations, “You’re completely in control” with electric vehicles, he says.

Smart meters are helping Southern California Edison get ready for electric vehicles and are helping the utility reduce the size of its own fleet -- including its electric vehicles, on which it's logged more than 21 million miles.

Charge at night for cheaper power, or pay for daytime convenience. Charge at home, or use the growing network of public chargers. Charge fast, or charge slow.

Southern California Edison has made steady progress in educating customers and suppliers about the complexities of EVs, Kjaer says, noting that in addition to manufacturers, learning and preparation are necessary for car dealers, consumers, city officials like building inspectors, electricians, and the local utility.

“We have significantly reduced the amount of time it takes for the utility piece,” he says.

Meters by the Millions

Part of EV readiness is the installation of smart meters that connect with both EVs and the grid. SoCal Edison is installing a staggering 8,000 per day and as of January 6 had replaced some 3.7 million out of 5 million meters in its service area.

Ironically, that means fewer light EVs for SoCal Edison itself, as the meter-reader function is phased out. The utility logged more than 21 million miles on an EV fleet comprised mostly of Toyota RAV4-EVs, but now is turning its attention to larger electric vehicles, like battery trucks.

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