140 Million EVs Can Suck on US’ Current Power Grid, Study Says

Pole with electric transformers 1 photo
Photo: pixabay
The electric car market is slowly but surely rising as humanity is trying to get rid of the old combustion engine it served for over 100 years. Tens of millions of gallons of gasoline have been saved by drivers choosing to go electric or hybrid, but this raises another question - will the electric grid hold up to the consumption demand?
Think of it this way: most of the electric vehicles are concentrated in urban areas where people are using them for their daily commute. They finish work, hop in EVs or PHEVs and drive back home were they’ll plug them back to charge the batteries for another day.

But that moment also coincides with an increase of electricity demand, since most people will need hot water, use the microwave, watch TV or cook something after a working day, things that require power of course.

Charge them up at night

Well, in case you were wondering when a grid upgrade is required, a new study conducted by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) says there’s no worry for now.

According to their study, there are just over a quarter-million plug-in hybrid/EVs on the US roads now and the current power grid could sustain the demand of 140 million electric cars if charging is spread throughout the day and 80 million during off-peak hours.

So it could take some years until all your neighbors buy electric cars that could kill the local transformer if all get plugged at once. Replacing the common 50 KVA distribution transformer with a 75 KVA unit costs over $3,000, while replacing a substation transformer could go over $1 million.

At the moment, there is no problem if two or three EV’s are charged simultaneously at night, between 10 p.m and 6 a.m. when households register very low loads, and the risk your local transformer will fail is at a minimum.
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