As more cities pursue low-carbon strategies, our transportation sector will become increasingly electric – from passenger cars to buses and shuttles. That means utilities, researchers and policy-makers need a better understanding of how our grid will be impacted and what steps we should take to prepare for this shift. Through public-private partnerships, Pecan Street conducts research of residential EV adoption, vehicle-to-grid integration, and the electrification of public transit.

Spotlight – Sparking Austin’s Electric (Half) Mile

In 2012, Pecan Street’s research sparked the purchase of 80 electric vehicles within a half-square-mile area – that’s the highest concentration of consumer electric vehicles in the world. Since then, we have collected one-minute interval data on home EV charging and publish it through our Dataport website, where it is used by leading researchers from around the world. The data has led to insights on behavioral economics, the elasticity of EV charging profiles, grid system impacts from dense concentrations of private EV adoption, and aggregated charge management.

Other Pecan Street Transportation Initiatives

Smart Charging & Charge Management

In April 2021, Pecan Street conducted an analysis and developed policy recommendations to help utilities plan for the coming transition to high-power residential EV charging. The analysis explores the opportunity for smart EV charging to serve as a significant grid management resource rather than a more expensive and less predictable load to service. Download the Smart Charging whitepaper.

The Smart Charging whitepaper built on previous analysis from Pecan Street’s 2014 CCET Charge Management project. The CCET project provided critical insights into consumer behavior, EV and EV charging optimization opportunities, and opportunities to knit together the seams of smart grids and smart homes through simple utility programs and procedures. We are releasing the results of this project as a case study in 2021 to inform the development of policies that support recent EV goals and climate commitments announced by the Biden Administration. Download the CCET Charge Management Case Study.

Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G)

With a 2018 grant from the Department of Energy and Austin Energy, Pecan Street built a world-class vehicle-to-grid research center at its lab in Austin to identify opportunities for EVs to support overall grid reliability and resilience. Download a case study of the center’s first V2G project.

Electric Last Mile

In October 2017, Pecan Street Inc. was awarded $1 million from DOE’s Vehicle Technology Program to implement the Electric Last Mile (ELM) Project. We worked with Capital Metro and Electric Cab of North America to test all-electric, zero emissions, low-speed shuttle circulators in three Austin neighborhoods. We also experimented with autonomous vehicle technology to improve access to public transportation in residential and mixed-use neighborhoods. Learn more here.

EVs as Grid Stabilizer

Pecan Street developed a model to demonstrate how EVs could provide grid stabilization to prevent solar energy curtailment. The platform identified “excess” solar generation for specific homes and allowed that energy to flow directly to neighbors that needed power. This reduced overall grid demand, while providing solar customers full credit under Austin Energy’s net-metering agreement.


Dive Deeper: Pecan Street’s Transportation Research