Electrification of transportation

Transportation is the leading contributor of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. The electrification of transportation (and other end uses) is a key strategy for reducing carbon emissions. MGE works with customers, stakeholders, municipalities and other community partners to grow the use of electric vehicles (EVs) and to facilitate charging options throughout our community and to partner with customers to manage EV charging remotely.

We have been working to advance EVs for nearly 15 years. As the number of EVs on the road continues to grow, MGE is prepared to meet the need with managed charging, our growing public charging network of more than 50 stations—powered by renewable energy—and programs to facilitate charging at home, at work and on the go. Our public charging network features several DC fast chargers, which can provide 60 to 80 miles of range in about 20 minutes.

MGE’s EV fleet goal
MGE continues to add cleaner vehicles to our fleet, where possible. We are targeting a goal of 100% all-electric or plug-in hybrid light-duty vehicles by 2030.

Our fleet includes a plug-in hybrid Ford F-150 pickup truck, Ford F-150 Lightning all-electric pickup trucks, a Ford E Transit, Ford Escapes, Volkswagen ID.4s, Chevy Bolts, a step van and bucket trucks with battery-powered technology, and other all-electric passenger vehicles. We added nine EVs to the fleet in 2022. More vehicles have been ordered and will be added to our fleet as they become available.

MGE EV hub in downtown Madison
Fast-charging hub
One of the first of its kind in Wisconsin, MGE’s EV fast-charging hub in the heart of Madison’s Capitol East District provides convenient EV fast charging—powered by renewable energy—for nearby apartment and condo dwellers, single-family households, commuters, and taxi and ridesharing services as well as electric fleet vehicles.

The hub has been fully operational since December 2022. With power levels up to 350 kilowatts, the hub’s high-speed chargers are some of the most powerful EV chargers in the Midwest. These chargers will support fast charging for EVs with greater driving ranges in the future.

Through a partnership with Tesla, the hub also has eight Superchargers from the electric car maker. Quick and easy EV charging will help enable the growth of more sustainable transportation options. As with all our public chargers, the hub is powered with 100% renewable energy.

National Electric Highway Coalition
MGE is partnering with the Edison Electric Institute and more than 60 other electric utilities across the country in support of the National Electric Highway Coalition (NEHC). The NEHC is committed to quick and convenient EV charging along major U.S. travel corridors by the end of 2023.

Managed charging
Demand for electricity to charge EVs can be unpredictable as customers charge at their convenience. With managed charging, the customer or utility remotely controls vehicle charging to better correspond to the needs of the electric grid. The opportunity to shift EV charging to lower-cost times and when renewable generation is most productive will help us prepare for more EV charging on our distribution grid.

Managed charging also serves to benefit all MGE customers by reducing the need for electrical system upgrades and new generation facilities long term. As more drivers opt for EVs, MGE’s ability to work with customers to manage charging is becoming increasingly important.

Residential charging
Charge@Home, MGE’s home charging program, makes it easy for EV drivers to charge efficiently at their home, which is where more than 80% of charging happens. With Charge@Home, MGE owns, maintains and coordinates the installation of Level 2 charging stations at customers’ homes. With no upfront cost, customers pay a monthly fee plus the cost of electricity. The program gives MGE the ability to study drivers’ charging habits and to explore remote management of charging sessions to better understand the potential impact of EVs on the grid, including how grid management can help to lower costs for all MGE customers by optimizing our use of generation resources.

Charge Ahead
MGE is partnering with EV drivers in our service territory to test how smart charging can save customers money and help plan for the impact of EVs on our grid. Charge Ahead uses a software platform to manage charging through the vehicles’ on-board modems. Participants provide a need-by time for their vehicle and enable smart charging. The software then optimizes charging. Participating customers are assigned to one of three groups that allows MGE to shift 80% of charging to off-peak times or curtail charging during peak times. The pilot includes Charge@Home participants and customers who drive various EV models.

Charging pilots
MGE is further exploring managed charging with several pilots for condo owners, renters, workplaces and fleets. These managed charging pilots will help MGE to evaluate load management strategies, such as shifting charging to lower-cost periods and staggering start times to avoid rebound peaks.

electric vehicles at an event in downtown Madison
MGE also offers an EV Fleet Analysis for businesses. It helps customers compare gas and electric vehicles using data from telematics. It also provides a total cost of ownership summary and recommendations for EVs and charging infrastructure.

Partnerships with local dealerships
Since 2021, MGE has worked with vehicle dealers to support the transition to EVs. MGE has worked to educate dealers on programs available to facilitate charging at home. In addition, MGE works closely with dealerships on their own electrification efforts by providing technical assistance for installing chargers at their facilities.

EV Ambassadors
MGE has long partnered with local EV drivers to help educate customers about EVs and EV charging. In 2022, MGE launched its formal EV Ambassador program. More than 60 drivers already have signed up to showcase their vehicles at community events and talk with interested customers about their experience with EVs.

EV engagement at MGE
MGE seeks to engage our employees in our efforts to grow the use of EVs. We offer five workplace charging stations, each with dual ports, to enable charging for employees while at work. Workplace charging offers many benefits, including employee attraction and retention and support for sustainable initiatives. 

electric bus, electric fire truck, pole-mounted EV charger
Electric buses in Madison
MGE is providing technical assistance to the City of Madison in the development of an all-electric bus rapid transit (BRT) system. The BRT system will include 46 60-foot articulated buses as well as off-hours and en route charging. MGE is working with the City’s Metro Transit (Metro) to plan and install charging capacity at its primary bus storage and maintenance facility. MGE also provided a letter of support for a recently awarded $670,000 grant from the Federal Transit Administration under the Areas of Persistent Poverty grant opportunity.

In 2022, the City of Madison added three all-electric buses to its public transportation fleet with help from MGE. We worked with Metro to secure a $1.3 million federal grant for the zero-emission buses and contributed 100% of the required local matching funds for charging infrastructure for the buses. As part of the ongoing collaboration to electrify the City’s bus fleet, MGE is providing continued in-kind support and expertise to address technological issues and to facilitate charging infrastructure as Metro implements its new BRT system.

All-electric buses are quieter, produce zero tailpipe emissions and will play a key role in efforts to reduce carbon emissions. According to the manufacturer of the first three buses purchased by Metro, each year an electric bus operates in place of a diesel bus, it displaces more than 229,000 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Ongoing partnership with Madison
MGE continues to work with the City of Madison to seek ways to further the electrification of transportation.

  • Fleet. When the City received a Wisconsin Office of Energy Innovation grant to help purchase 20 all-electric Chevy Bolts, MGE partnered with the City to provide charging infrastructure for the new fleet vehicles.
  • Electric fire truck. MGE provided charging equipment for the Madison Fire Department’s first electric fire truck. The fire truck began serving the community in mid-2021 as part of a pilot project. That pilot was extended through the end of 2022. The Madison Fire Department announced plans in early 2023 to purchase an electric fire truck from the manufacturer based in Appleton, Wis.
  • Electric garbage trucks. MGE is assisting the City in procuring and installing a charger for two new electric refuse trucks it is purchasing. MGE will purchase and maintain the charger, eventually turning it over to the City.

Pole-mounted chargers
MGE is exploring ways to reduce the barriers to EV ownership, including the consideration of equity and the availability of charging for multifamily residents. MGE is working with the City of Madison to identify locations well-suited for pole-mounted EV charging technology. The first pole-mounted charger, which is attached to an existing MGE utility pole, was installed in Madison’s Darbo-Worthington neighborhood on the city’s east side. MGE has plans to install additional pole-mounted chargers throughout our service territory in neighborhoods that have been traditionally under resourced and where there is a high prevalence of multifamily buildings.

Federal grant support
MGE worked with a team of local stakeholders, including Dane County, the Greater Madison Metropolitan Planning Organization, the City of Madison, the City of Middleton and the City of Sun Prairie among others, on a grant application for the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure Discretionary Grant Program. If awarded, the grant would provide funding to strategically deploy publicly accessible EV charging infrastructure and other alternative fueling infrastructure in our communities.

Electric food truck
MGE partnered with the University Housing’s Dining and Culinary Services team at the UW-Madison and the UW-Madison Office of Sustainability to bring an all-electric food cart, known as “Electric Eats,” to campus in 2021. “Fuel” costs for the electric food cart are less than a comparable gasoline model, and it’s cleaner and quieter.

The small, rechargeable truck runs on two chargeable batteries: one for the food service equipment and one to power the vehicle. These batteries can be charged in any standard 20-amp power outlet, supply enough energy for the truck to run for 50 miles and provide up to 10 hours of service before needing to be recharged.

electric food truck in Madison
EV charging for local school districts
MGE partnered with the Madison Metropolitan School District to install a charging station to serve its electric fleet vehicles. In addition to ongoing educational partnerships, MGE continues to work with local schools to evaluate charging options for their facilities.

Midcontinent Transportation Electrification Collaborative
As part of the Great Plains Institute’s Midcontinent Transportation Electrification Collaborative (M-TEC), we’re working with other utilities, state governments, automakers, EV charging companies and environmental groups to advance EV infrastructure and to increase the use of EVs. Working together, the group conducts research, develops white papers and policy recommendations, and hosts workshops for stakeholders in the region. In 2021, M-TEC urged Congress to support investments in EV charging infrastructure; to keep the automotive supply chain in the U.S. by supporting EV and EV component manufacturing; and to support EV research, development and demonstration.

Sustainable transportation series
MGE continues to partner annually with Wisconsin Clean Cities, the City of Madison and others to present the Transportation & Innovation Expo. Fleet managers and members of the public have the opportunity to attend panel sessions and get an up-close look at a variety of sustainable vehicles and equipment.

LovEV logo
EV resources and tools for drivers
MGE helps to educate customers, businesses and our community at-large about the benefits of EVs. Our experts have been on hand at many community events with a variety of EVs to share information on driving and charging EVs.

For example, each year, MGE sponsors the National Drive Electric Week event held in Madison. Local EV drivers register to showcase their vehicles to attendees. MGE EV experts are available to share information about EVs and EV charging.

Our LovEV website helps customers discover why “there’s a lot to love” about EVs. LovEV highlights available models, explains charging options, and details potential cost and environmental savings. It is an easy, one-stop online resource at mge.com/LovEV.

The online tool, Explore My EV, gives users the opportunity to compare the costs of plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles to gasoline-powered models. The tool, available at mge.com/exploremyev, considers commute distances, available tax credits and maintenance costs, among other things through its online analysis.

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