New Report Investigates EV Impact on the Grid

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In five years, there could be 3.8 million electric vehicles on the road. Photo: ECOtality

GTM Research announced the publication of a first-of-its-kind report on how widespread electric vehicle adoption will impact the grid, a subject that is still not well known.

“The Networked EV: The Convergence of Smart Grids and Electric Vehicles” forecasts that by 2016 the sale of EVs will increase five-fold to 3.8 million. This type of market penetration will have a significant drain on electric power and utilities.

Currently, the big push on the EV front is ensuring consumers have charging stations and convenient places to charge their vehicles, but that’s just one side of the charging coin.

“…as more public stations and Level 2 home chargers pop up, investment in a new generation of dynamic grid devices will be imperative. Smart grid technologies such as next generation tap changers, voltage regulators, capacitor banks and reclosers, and the communication networks to support these smart devices, will bring a new level of grid optimization and control, enabling EVs to safely scale into the tens and hundreds of millions,” report author and GTM Research’s Senior Manager of Smart Grid, David J. Leeds, said in a statement.

The report outlines five areas where the group suggests utilities have to incorporate smart grid technologies to make the transition successful: communications platform, sensors, analytics, controls and security and dynamic devices.

It also analyzes known issues like transformer build-out, charging infrastructure and advanced metering and suggests solutions that can be found within a communications platform and self-correcting sensors.

If new technologies aren’t utilized, EVs could prove to be more harmful than positive when it comes to electricity use.

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