China mega city from the sky

RMI’s latest report reveals how we can learn from Shenzhen, China, to effectively provide cities with EV charging infrastructure.

Beijing, China – July 1, 2019

Today Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) launched its latest report which explores Shenzhen’s experience in the deployment of electric logistics vehicles and explores one of the most important questions to accelerating adoption of EVs in urban delivery: how to effectively provide charging infrastructure.

In the A New EV Horizon: Insights from Shenzhen’s path to global leadership in electric logistics vehicles report, RMI uses a unique data set with complete driving records of over 10,000 electric delivery vehicles in the city of Shenzhen, supplemented by dozens of interviews with the companies that own and operate those vehicles, to analyze in unprecedented detail how those vehicles are charging and what can be done to improve the charging system.

“The report serves as a foundation for ongoing, data-driven research to enhance the effectiveness of policymaking regarding commercial EV charging, and to better position the private sector to efficiently invest in the growth of the system,” said Dave Mullaney, report author and manager at Rocky Mountain Institute.

Through an in-depth analysis, RMI has identified several insights for how to create a better charging climate and support further uptake of electric freight delivery vehicles in all global cities. These include:

  • Policy that facilitates a better integration of data into city planning processes could help optimize the location of charging infrastructure around areas of high demand and where the grid has capacity.
  • Current electricity pricing encourages charging practices that are unsustainable for the grid in the long run, as evidenced by the preference for fast charging during peak times of demand. Using insights from existing charging data, smarter strategies in electricity pricing could support a broader distribution of charging in time and space and create a more sustainable pattern of energy usage.
  • Data providers partnering to provide a unified source of information will address current inefficiencies and ease the friction that vehicle operators currently face when charging.

“If policymakers are able to learn from and adopt our report findings to their own environments, they will find much less resistance to electric vehicle adoption,” said Koben Calhoun, principal for RMI’s China program.

In the last three years, nearly 60,000 electric light trucks and vans have been deployed for urban freight movement in Shenzhen, representing approximately 35 percent of the city’s overall fleet of urban delivery vehicles.

Shenzhen has managed to cut carbon emissions by more than 1.35 million tons a year, the equivalent of taking 280,000 passenger cars off the road, according to research by the Washington Post. The city has already shown that it is willing to do what is needed to promote electric vehicle adoption.

RMI hopes that a deeper understanding of Shenzhen’s experience in ELV deployment can be a guidepost for other cities across the world aiming for a cleaner, low-carbon future.

About RMI

Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI)—an independent nonprofit founded in 1982—transforms global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future. It engages businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs to accelerate the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively shift from fossil fuels to efficiency and renewables. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; the San Francisco Bay Area; Washington, D.C.; and in Beijing, People’s Republic of China

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