2023 Key considerations for electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

2023 Key issues for electrical autos and hydrogen gas cell autos

March 2, 2023 – Totally electrical autos (EVs) and hydrogen gas cell autos will probably be key gamers within the nationwide and industrywide effort to chop emissions. Within the transportation sector, light-duty autos and medium- and heavy-duty autos maintain the highest two proportion shares of present transportation emissions of 49% and 21%, respectively.

The Biden administration has established formidable greenhouse fuel emissions-reduction targets for each forms of transportation, together with deploying 500,000 EV chargers and growing the share of recent medium- and heavy-duty zero-emissions autos offered to 30% by 2030 and 100% by 2040. Reaching these emissions-reduction targets, nonetheless, would require these within the trade to contemplate and tackle quite a lot of business and authorized points.

The US nationwide blueprint for transportation decarbonization

At the beginning of the yr, the Biden administration laid out its technique for decarbonizing the transportation sector to attain the economywide 2030 and 2050 emissions-reduction targets in its US Nationwide Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization (the Blueprint). Developed by the US Division of Power (DOE), Division of Transportation, Environmental Safety Company, and Division of Housing and City Improvement, the Blueprint focuses on the foremost transportation modes, identifies particular decarbonization alternatives and challenges for every, and discusses the position of fresh applied sciences.

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The Blueprint identifies three key methods, together with transitioning to wash choices by deploying zero-emission autos and fuels for all passenger and freight journey modes. This can require the adoption of extremely environment friendly zero-emission EVs, hydrogen gas cell autos, and sustainable fuels produced from biomass and waste feedstocks to decarbonize hard-to-electrify types of transportation corresponding to air transport and long-haul transport. It’s going to additionally require continued growth of EV charging and clean-fuel infrastructure, in addition to continued growth and innovation of clean-energy applied sciences.


Electrification efforts of the US transportation sector are sturdy and rising. Greater than 800,000 EVs had been offered in america in 2022, which was practically 6.0% of all autos offered. Compared to latest years, EV gross sales in 2022 affirm that coverage efforts to encourage EV deployment are taking root and client urge for food for electrified transportation is rising. Nevertheless, to maneuver from the place we’re at the moment with respect to EV deployment to the place policymakers need to be, sure key points have to be confronted. Beneath are three such points.

First, continued emphasis and aggressive pursuit of public EV charging-station growth will stay a key problem in 2023 and past. EV batteries have a finite vary of journey earlier than they must be recharged, both at residence or at a public charging station. Absent a strong community of quick public charging alternatives, client vary anxiousness concerning the recharging want will persist, which is able to hamper EV gross sales to sure market segments (specifically, those who want transport for lengthy distances and/or in underserved areas). Vary anxiousness is the concern that an EV will not have a cost enough to finish its journey and remains to be perceived to be one of many biggest obstacles stopping fleets from going electrical.

Merely put, america at the moment lacks the requisite quantity of public chargers to alleviate client vary anxiousness. What’s extra, latest research reveal {that a} materials proportion of present chargers endure from outages or upkeep points that render them inoperable.

Thus, it’s critically necessary that extra chargers be developed and put into operation and that these chargers provide dependable uptime. To perform these two objects, charger-station growth should happen in a fashion that’s commercially profitable — for the cost level operator (CPO) and the positioning host alike. A commercially profitable growth alternative requires a circumstance whereby the CPO can have an advantageous income stream in addition to decrease danger publicity arising from the siting and operation of the stations themselves.

This raises two points: (a) the easiest way wherein to monetize charging infrastructure; and (b) one of the best sort of contractual protections in infrastructure licensing or site-host agreements. With respect to (a), innovation in utility price design and demand cost utility is more likely to stay a related level of dialogue and/or impediment by way of 2023. With respect to (b), CPOs and website hosts ought to take care to rigorously take into account numerous issues of significance to charging infrastructure, corresponding to (i) exclusivity in set up; (ii) operations and upkeep accountability; (iii) income sharing and leasing funds; (iv) possession of property after termination; (v) indemnification and insurance coverage; and (vi) utility easements and website entry.

Second, charging-station growth is just not the one problem to be tackled in 2023 with regard to EV deployment. Market individuals should proceed to grapple with points referring to the battery part and significant provide chain. That is notably necessary given the Inflation Discount Act’s imposition of home content material necessities for batteries and, in flip, car eligibility for a $7,500 tax credit score.

Third, a key problem in 2023 is whether or not undeveloped cybersecurity and information safety requirements and necessities relevant to EV infrastructure could create vulnerabilities for the protection of client information and alternatives for hackers to use as an entry level in US electrical grid disruption makes an attempt. EV sector individuals ought to rigorously monitor any developments referring to the regulation of information privateness or cybersecurity imposed on CPOs or the regulation of the identical imposed on interconnected utilities or EV producers.

Hydrogen gas cell autos

Hydrogen gas cell autos can function a complement to EVs for transportation modes that require longer ranges and sooner refueling occasions and as an necessary participant in decarbonizing long-haul, heavy-duty vans and different types of transportation. Scaling hydrogen gas cell autos would require continued funding, analysis, growth, and demonstration of hydrogen gas cell applied sciences and the continued growth of a connective hydrogen infrastructure in america.

The Infrastructure Funding and Jobs Act, often known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Legislation, made vital investments within the analysis, growth and demonstration (RD&D) of transportation applied sciences, together with hydrogen gas cell applied sciences, infrastructure deployment, and provide chains for supplies and minerals, and the Inflation Discount Act has made accessible vital tax credit for builders of hydrogen services.

The supply of infrastructure and means to soundly and effectively transport hydrogen are among the many key components that can must be addressed to be able to efficiently scale hydrogen gas cell autos. Though a whole bunch of miles of hydrogen pipelines at the moment exist, extra connective infrastructure that’s able to transferring hydrogen from the manufacturing facility to the tip person in addition to hydrogen storage services are nonetheless below energetic growth.

This growth is being spurred largely by the DOE’s $7 billion program to ascertain regional clear hydrogen hubs throughout america. These hubs will kind the muse of a nationwide clear hydrogen community of hydrogen producers, shoppers, and native connective infrastructure and can assist facilitate the supply, storage, and finish use of hydrogen (for instance, in hydrogen gas cells).

The fee, sturdiness, and comparability of hydrogen gas cell applied sciences can even must be addressed. The DOE has introduced a number of funding alternatives which are focused at these priorities. These alternatives embody the latest earmarking of $47 million to assist the RD&D of hydrogen and gas cell applied sciences, with a give attention to enabling the usage of clear hydrogen in medium- and heavy-duty autos and different heavy-duty transportation purposes.

Though hydrogen gas cell methods can provide lengthy driving ranges, quick refueling occasions, and excessive payload capacities, they require vital portions of hydrogen. The event of liquid hydrogen (LH2) storage vessels and the required balance-of-plant {hardware} is a subject of curiosity as a result of it will probably allow low-cost, energy-dense LH2 storage onboard medium- and heavy-duty transportation purposes.

One other matter of curiosity recognized within the funding alternative is the event of LH2 switch and vehicular fueling applied sciences and approaches to allow high-flow LH2 switch and fueling for medium- and heavy-duty transportation utility. Massive-scale LH2 fueling and switch operations for medium- and heavy-duty finish customers require the event of superior LH2 elements, methods, and applied sciences that tackle the necessity for fueling occasions which are akin to these of liquid fuels in addition to hydrogen losses, compatibility of supplies, and security issues from LH2 fueling and switch operations.

The DOE is anticipated to proceed to problem funding alternatives to additional the event of hydrogen infrastructure and applied sciences. These anticipated alternatives embody $500 million for the event of producing and recycling of fresh hydrogen applied sciences and $1 billion for electrolyzer growth, which is expertise that makes use of electrical energy to interrupt water into hydrogen and oxygen and is a key part in clear hydrogen manufacturing.

Whereas the event of regional clear hydrogen hubs and hydrogen gas cell applied sciences continues, the trade can even want to find out learn how to greatest make the most of and incorporate present infrastructure for hydrogen use. For instance, interstate pure fuel pipelines might want to decide whether or not and the extent to which hydrogen may be blended into and transported on their methods. The trade might want to decide learn how to greatest combine hydrogen with and into present infrastructure, as that may be relied upon, at the very least partly, to maneuver hydrogen from the hydrogen producer to the hydrogen finish person.

There’s additionally a necessity for readability as to which businesses will train jurisdiction over infrastructure that’s used to provide, transport, and retailer hydrogen. For instance, the Federal Power Regulatory Fee (FERC) could assert jurisdiction over pipelines that transport hydrogen and hydrogen storage services. If it does, it’s unclear below which framework (i.e., the Pure Gasoline Act or Interstate Commerce Act) the FERC will regulate such services.

Individually, the Floor Transportation Board has the authority to train financial regulation of pipelines transporting any commodity aside from water, fuel, and oil and subsequently could assert or train jurisdiction over hydrogen pipelines, though it has not but accomplished so. Addressing these regulatory uncertainties will probably be important in facilitating efforts to ascertain a nationwide hydrogen community and make sure the continued growth of hydrogen pipelines and storage services.

Opinions expressed are these of the writer. They don’t mirror the views of Reuters Information, which, below the Belief Ideas, is dedicated to integrity, independence, and freedom from bias. Westlaw At present is owned by Thomson Reuters and operates independently of Reuters Information.

Pamela T. Wu

Pamela T. Wu, an affiliate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, advises purchasers within the pure fuel, oil, and electrical energy industries earlier than the Federal Power Regulatory Fee (FERC), the Commodity Futures Buying and selling Fee (CFTC), the Pipeline and Hazardous Supplies Security Administration (PHMSA) of the U.S. Division of Transportation, and the Texas Railroad Fee on price, regulatory, and transactional issues. She is an energetic member of the agency’s vitality trade crew, hydrogen working group, and vitality buying and selling working group. She is resident within the agency’s Washington, D.C., workplace and may be reached at pamela.wu@morganlewis.com.

Levi McAllister

Levi McAllister, a associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, is head of the agency’s electrical autos working group and focuses on evolving and rising vitality applied sciences. He’s resident within the agency’s Washington, D.C., workplace and may be reached at levi.mcallister@morganlewis.com.

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