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FEATURE ARTICLE
Collaborations Pave The Way For A Greener Tomorrow
December 2020

Newly funded projects will contribute to innovative, advanced electric vehicle charging.

The path is being paved to make electric vehicles (EVs) more appealing to more customers. Researchers across multiple disciplines at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are leading new collaborations that will discover how to deploy innovative charging capabilities in new projects.

According to information, Argonne scientists received funding from DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Vehicle Technologies Office, which recently awarded $139 million for 55 projects throughout the United States to advance innovative vehicle technologies. Argonne’s projects involve close partnerships with state agencies, university researchers and electric utilities.

“Our projects focus on transportation electrification and electric vehicle charging in a broad, multi-disciplinary way,” said Yan (Joann) Zhou, principal analyst and group leader of Vehicle and Energy Technology & Mobility Analysis in the Energy Systems division.

One project will test a particular set of smart charging devices and approaches, and quantify potential benefits to electric vehicle (EV) owners and distribution grid operators in the Maryland area. Led by Exelon Corporation, with Argonne and other partners, this four-year project received $5 million in funding. Scientists will test smart charging equipment, create models of charging infrastructure demand, study how demand affects the grid, and analyze cybersecurity needs and implications.

Since most current EV charging stations lack networks that directly communicate between the vehicle and utility, researchers will install 1,000 Argonne-developed Smart Charge Adapters (a finalist for an R&D 100 award in 2017) at locations to be determined by their infrastructure modeling.

Another project will develop an “electrification ecosystem” for intermodal and intercity travel, and is a partnership led by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy. Other partners include Clean Cities Coalitions, electric utilities, transportation network companies, and intermodal hubs — locations that centralize different transportation modes for easy exchange between types. Awarded $6 million in funding, this four-year project seeks to connect major cities and transportation hubs, including rail terminals, airports and seaports, with EV charging and promote EV adoption in the area.

“We hope to start a regional ecosystem for Virginia, the District of Columbia, Maryland and West Virginia, allowing all sizes of EVs to be used by fleets, transportation network companies and consumers,” said Marcy Rood, principal analyst and Argonne’s Technology Integration/Clean Cities team lead. “This ecosystem will connect the Capital Region’s cities with EV corridors, permit charging at multimodal hubs and logistics centers, and increase the attractiveness and profile of electric transportation. It will also address social equity issues in neighborhoods near these hubs and within cities and towns.”

Argonne energy scientists will analyze costs and emissions to quantify expected benefits from electric chargers and vehicles and help promote the “electrification ecosystem.” They will also collaborate with Argonne environmental scientists to model energy resources in the study area, Zhou said.

Another project, with $350,000 in funding, is a partnership led by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. For this project, Argonne will analyze techno-economic aspects of EV community charging hubs.


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