Monday, 21 February 2011

Electric cars need a smarter grid

the environmental and economic benefits of these cars will be stunted if their cords don’t plug into a smarter electrical grid.
Car manufacturers are currently producing plug-in electric vehicles that are safe, affordable and fun to drive.

State and federal governments are encouraging consumer adoption of EVs through generous tax rebates.

the Obama administration has earmarked $400 million in grants to electrify the transportation sector. One goal is to get 20,000 charging stations up and running by the end of 2013.

as of yet, in the UK, you have to run and extention lead out of your garage :(

next stage is a smart electrical grid

Charging infrastructure is in early development. The novelty of a few electric cars can be absorbed by the current power system. But as more EVs appear, they could overburden the current power grid if they don’t charge at off-peak times. During peak periods – the time when most people are either getting ready for work or coming home and turning on their biggest appliances – utilities are forced to activate additional, more expensive “peaker plants” to meet demand spikes and deliver the power levels we’ve come to expect. Add in EV charging to peak periods, and it’s possible the existing grid won’t be able to handle the overwhelming demand.

With a smart grid and “time of use” pricing in place, plug-in owners will have incentive to charge car batteries during off-peak hours, when there is more power available and when power is cheaper. It’s more economical for EV drivers to recharge when the power is “on sale” during off-peak periods – as defined by “time-of-use” pricing models, which are enabled by regulation and powered by smart meters.

Smart grid-enabled electric vehicles/charging makes transportation a cleaner, smarter, more efficient part of the future energy equation.

If 10,000 petrol-powered passenger vehicles were switched to electric vehicles, more than 33,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions could be avoided annually, according to GE research.

Only then will we get the most out of an electrified transportation network.

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