Pathway to 2030: Transform the Light-Duty Transportation Sector Through Electrification

Aug 22, 2018 12:20 PM ET

Posted from National Grid's 80x50 Pathway report

In contrast to the electricity and heat sectors, emissions from transportation are effectively unchanged since 1990. Vehicle electrification provides a promising pathway, as cost and performance of the underlying battery technology has seen step-change improvements in recent years. The automotive industry is responding with scores of plug-in vehicle models arriving in the showrooms of most every manufacturer in the next few years. The good news is that, even with the current power generation mix in the Northeast, replacing a passenger car with an electric version reduces its carbon footprint on the order of 50%. This only improves as the grid becomes cleaner.

Achieving the 2030 target implies realizing a steep climb to nearly 10 million electric passenger cars and light trucks (known as light-duty vehicles or LDV), which is equivalent to 50% electrification by 2030. This penetration far exceeds adoption forecasts, and effectively requires 100% electric vehicle (EV) sales of LDV by 2028. Tapping opportunities to transition medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to lower-carbon alternatives will also be crucial, for example electric school and city bus fleets. 

In the Pathway, annual electric use from all EVs will reach 8% of total electricity demand by 2030, significant but manageable. Maximizing the utilization of existing grids and keeping them in balance as more renewable generation gets added to the mix will be crucial to ensuring a cost-effective transition to an electrified transportation fleet. For example, a modernized and digitized network can support intelligent management of EV charging so that it doesn’t overload the grid. Making electric rates more dynamic and transparent will facilitate this intelligent charging, and will increase savings for consumers opting to drive electric.

To see the full version of National Grid’s Northeast 80x50 Pathway, please visit  

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