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Edison Under the Hood

Can utilities put EV batteries in the rate base?

April 2012

would help ensure that technologies and designs evolve to serve the entire EV value proposition—not all of which necessarily benefits the driver. Utility involvement also could allow this new type of electric infrastructure to be financed in ways that properly account for its full value. And that could make EVs more affordable for drivers, which would accelerate market development and serve the overarching goals of electrifying the transportation industry.

In the process, Thomas Edison’s 19th-century vision of electric transportation could be realized by the 21st-century utility industry that still carries his legacy.



1. See Michael T. Burr, “ EV Hype and Hope ,” Fortnightly’s Spark , March 22, 2012.

2. Example: 2012 Ford Focus BEV has an estimated annual “fuel” cost of $600, vs. $1,850 for a gas-powered Focus with an automatic transmission. Source:

3. A RAND Corp. study estimated that the U.S. oil protection mission cost about $83 billion a year in 2007—not counting war costs. Source: Imported Oil and U.S. National Security , RAND Corp., 2009.

4. See for example: “Advancing Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles via Utility Industry Battery Acquisition and Leasing,” by Peter Fox-Penner et al., The Brattle Group, 2007.