Electric vehicle owners often find themselves charging their vehicles overnight, when usage rates are cheaper and power demand is lower. According to a recent study from Stanford University, this behavior could have catastrophic consequences, causing overloaded power grids in the future if no changes are made.
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Rapid adoption of EV ownership could increase power requirements by up to 25 percent in a decade if owners charge their vehicles at home overnight. Researchers used computer models to analyze how the infrastructure of home and public charging stations affected electricity demand.
To resolve these issues, charge more in the afternoon, using public or workstations if possible. During this time, solar and wind power both produce maximum output, and it’s possible that some of that energy will be wasted – so cheap power would be used instead of wasted by EV owners.
Siobhan Powell, lead author of the Stanford study, had this to say:
“We looked at the entire western region of the US, because California relies heavily on electricity imports from the other western states. Electric vehicle charging plus all other electricity consumption impacts the entire western region, given the interconnectedness. character of our electricity grid.”
The car market is already moving from combustion engines to electric, although that comes with many unresolved questions. For example, several US states plan to ban the sale of traditional gasoline cars in the next 15-30 years, which will likely force car buyers to opt for electric.
California and other western states are not alone, as this could be a nationwide challenge to rethink electric pricing and infrastructure based on EV charging needs. The energy network must be equipped to support increased demand based on cost and reliability – or how much energy costs will increase as a result of increased demand.