As Number of Electric Vehicles Rise, Power Grid would Require Upgrade


Due to the clustering of plug-in electric vehicle charging among homeowners, upgrades to electricity distribution infrastructure may be needed in the future, as commented by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy. An associate at National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has examined and presented how uncoordinated plug-in electric vehicles impact residential distribution transformer.

Uncoordinated Plug-in Electric Vehicle Charging Impacts Residential Power Distribution Transformer, says study

As analyzed by the NREL associate, the uncoordinated charging phenomenon occurs when individuals in a certain geographic area start purchasing plug-in electric vehicle (PEVs), and plug them to recharge upon returning home. The research also examined if households employed less-powerful Level 1 or more-powerful Level 2 charging. Further, the research added that as the number of PEVs in a neighborhood grows along with adoption of higher charging power, the current distribution infrastructure may need to be upgraded. The current distribution infrastructure may not be reliable to support the escalating electricity demand leading to reduced life of a transformer.

As per NREL, prior studies reveal how PEVs might impact the grid assumed utilities, and it may have some control when coordinated charging happens in order to greatly facilitate PEV integration. The finding may or may not be true in the future. Future research should thus be focused to understand consumer behavior to comprehend charging requirements. The full benefits of vehicle electrification can be realized on adopting a systems-level approach that considers buildings, vehicles, and the grid as an integrated network, as stated by an associate at a NREL’s Mechanical and Thermal Engineering Sciences Lab.

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