The electric future of transportation
Electricity powers nearly every aspect of our lives, and we’re bringing that sustainable energy to transportation, both on and off the road. By offering lower electricity rates and programs for off-peak usage, we help people and businesses reduce costs and environmental impact. Customers save on charging, while commercial businesses increase efficiency by using electricity to transport their goods.
Our involvement in electric transportation includes:
We have been committed to the research, development and marketing of ET since the early 1990s. We're currently:
- Testing EVs and charging technologies for use in our operations.
— Electric bucket trucks
— GM, Ford, Tesla and Nissan vehicles
- Studying the impact of ET on grid reliability and developing mitigation strategies to lessen or eliminate any impacts.
- Helping to develop charging infrastructure standards, including standards for vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid technologies, as well as fast charging and wireless standards.
- Working with vehicle manufacturers so we can maximize the benefits for our customers.
- Working with vehicle manufacturers and EPRI to bring economically and technologically viable on-road ET technologies to the marketplace.
We're promoting a multitude of total electric non-road transportation and charging technologies at airports, seaports, rail yards, mines, manufacturing plants and distribution centers.
We're an industry leader in promoting electric transportation technologies for a very successful non-road program. We're promoting a multitude of total electric non-road transportation and charging technologies at airports, seaports, railyards. More details below.
- Georgia Port Authority - The 4th largest container port in the U.S. converted some of its diesel equipment — ship-to-shore cranes and refrigerated cargo racks — to electric equipment and lowered operating costs and emissions by reducing their diesel usage by more than 4.5 million gallons a year. The port has since converted additional equipment from diesel to electric.
- Electric Lift Truck Fast Charging is available at numerous manufacturing and distribution facilities throughout our service territory.
- Alabama Port Authority — The port electrified a six-month dredging project in Mobile, Ala., and reported a large fuel and emissions savings as well. EPRI estimates that more than 28 tons of emissions of pollutants per day were avoided by using electric equipment, rather than diesel equipment, for this project.
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Delta Air Lines are so satisfied with the results of converting equipment from diesel to electric that a charging infrastructure to support electric equipment was integrated into Hartsfield's new international terminal. The new terminal completes Hartsfield's 40-gate international air travel complex, which is total electric including ground support equipment.
- Coal Mine Customer — The mine installed 5 miles of electric overland conveying for a coal transport route, replacing diesel conveyors. The company used to spend $5 million a year in diesel and now spends less than $1 million on electricity to accomplish the same thing. The mine also uses other electric equipment including underground hauling equipment, drag-lines, rope shovels, continuous miner equipment, and long wall equipment. The company plans to install an 8-mile overland conveyor as the operation expands.
Electric Vehicle Technologies
Electric vehicles come in many forms. PEV, or Plug-in Electric Vehicle, is any vehicle that plugs in to recharge. These vehicles may or may not also have a gasoline engine on board. PEVs come in three types:
- BEV, or Battery Electric Vehicle, is a total electric vehicle that stores electricity in batteries
- PHEV, or Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle, primarily uses gasoline and is supplemented with electricity
- EREV, or Extended-Range Electric Vehicle, primarily uses electricity and is supplemented with gasoline
Electric Vehicle Charging Technologies
Since the majority of electric vehicle drivers commute 40 miles or less each day, home charging satisfies 78 percent of the recharging needs. Additional charging locations - workplace and public locations - may add travel flexibility and build range confidence. Workplace charging accounts for about 12 percent and public charging accounts for about 10 percent of the additional recharging needs.
Why We Advocate Electric Transportation
On-road and non-road electric vehicles and equipment are clean, efficient, economical, quiet, create U.S. jobs and contribute to energy independence.
- Gasoline or diesel engines wear over time leading to higher tailpipe emissions. EVs will get cleaner over time as the generation of electricity continues to get cleaner.
- Southern Company has invested approximately $9 billion to put environmental control equipment to work for customers and, since 1990, our emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides are down more than 80 percent, while electricity generation has increased as much as 40 percent to serve growing demand.
Research and Development
Southern Company is actively involved in research and development in both on-road and non-road electric transportation.
We work with national organizations such as the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), vehicle manufacturers, other utilities, and charging companies to produce the next generation of electric vehicles. We are testing Smart Charging strategies to maximize the number of vehicles that can be charged with our current energy capacities. We are also working with university labs to test new technologies that may maximize range from battery packs and wireless charging equipment that can charge vehicles with no cord and, one day, potentially charge your EV while you drive.
On the non-road side, we work closely with customers to implement electric transportation solutions within their companies and to evaluate the cost savings related to those technologies. We are currently testing a prototype battery unit on trucks within our fleet. This unit is designed to power trucks at customer sites with electricity stored in a battery instead of running truck engines. This will reduce fleet emissions, reduce noise at work sites, and save money on vehicle maintenance.
U.S. Department of Energy Support
Alabama and Georgia were among 24 states to receive a U.S. Department of Energy grant to support community planning for plug-in EVs and charging infrastructure. The $545,400 grant — one of the largest awarded — is benefitting the entire Southeast region. The money was part of the DOE's Clean Cities initiative to help bolster public-private partnerships that advance EV technologies. A total of $8.5 million was spread throughout 16 projects in those 24 states.
The DOE Grand Challenge
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy launched the EV Everywhere Grand Challenge with the goal for the U.S. to be the first nation in the world to produce plug-in electric vehicles that are as affordable and convenient for the average American family as today's gasoline-powered vehicles within the next 10 years. Partnering with industry and national laboratories continues to help expand the plug-in electric vehicle market, according to the DOE.
To see what's going on around our company, check out our System Websites.