How electric vehicles would cause power grid improvement?

According to the study run last year by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, by 2040 EVs are very probable to account for half of all new cars sold globally. The question of how would constant increasing of vehicle electrification impact our power grid rise. Not only existing utilities’ efficiency is considered, but also the costs of grids’ development are estimated, as well as new technological solutions are searched.

The Energy Institute at UT Austin researchers has analyzed the future electricity requirements, which will be an obvious result of EVs popularisation. Tabulating the current gasoline consumption and electricity consumption in the USA has, assuming that the electric vehicles penetration will amount 100% in the country in the future, they create the following prognosis. Some states, like California and Maine, may require 47% and 55% more electricity, while some other states, like Texas may need only 28% more electricity. What are the determinants of this differentiation? Existing power grid robustness and its extension. Texas has a more advanced power grid, comparing to California and Main, due to a greater demand for air conditioning in this state. All electric car transport in the United States would require the equivalent of 29% increase in electricity consumption.

This conclusion is, same time, obvious and extraordinarily useful. The idea that to fulfill higher demand for something, the bigger supply is needed is not a mystery to any reasonable person. The usefulness lays on the possibility to carefully plan how to sustainably develop the power grid to reach the measured level.

The solutions, which are currently researched, concern technologies meant to smartly use the demand curve, lightening the grid on the high demand hours (3pm – 8pm) and use the peak demand hours for charging EVs. Moreover, solutions aimed to balance out the amount of energy supplied locally not to overload the grid. Additionally, the vehicle-to-grid technology, which is search by Nissan and Ovo in UK, is working on utilizing EVs to benefit the power grid. Parked vehicles may release power into the grid and provide the owners with money return, what cuts the charging costs. The vehicle-to-grid technology may make the existing utility grid do more using fewer resources. This is considered a twist for more sustainable energy usage, also due to making a use of renewable energy and lowering the carbon dioxide emission.

The rise of a number of EVs on the roads is a process, which will be distended for many years. Increasing demand for electricity is expected to bring the ROI to unity companies and make it possible to develop the grid simultaneously with the EVs popularity growth.

Some of the smart grid technologies has been already adopted among the whole US, e.g. sensors and other mechanisms, which provide the real-time feedback about demand and allow flexible adjustment. Summing up, according to the experts’ analysis, the only scenario, in which EVs impair the power grid is the one where big energy suppliers take their eyes of the road. The possibilities of making an advantage of EVs are endless.