The electric utility’s Palo Alto-based research and development arm, the Electric Power Research Institute, EPRI, in July announced that 34 major utilities will work with it and with General Motors “to facilitate integration of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles into the grid.”

EPRI called the partnership research effort “a key step in providing the nation’s drivers an alternative to petroleum fuels” and it pointed to research (pdf) by a leading environmental organization, the Natural Resources Defense Council, NRDC, to help make its case.

Among that study’s key findings:

  • Widespread adoption of PHEVs can reduce GHG emissions from vehicles by more than 450 million metric tons annually in 2050 – the equivalent to removing 82.5 million passenger cars from the road.
  • There is an abundant supply of electricity for transportation; a 60 percent U.S. market share for PHEVs would use 7 percent to 8 percent of grid-supplied electricity in 2050.
  • PHEVs can improve nationwide air quality and reduce petroleum consumption by 3 million to 4 million barrels per day in 2050.

EPRI’s environmental assessment is online as a pdf and in spreadsheet formats.