The importance of effective electric vehicle charging management
June 27, 2018
June 27, 2018
Electric vehicles are better technology than current ICE vehicles and have the potential to dramatically reduce the amount of pollution from fossil fuels. Despite the fact that electric vehicles may not emit carbon dioxide and other noxious gases when in use, they do present another problem. Demand on the electrical grid.
The average electric car uses roughly ten kWh (kilowatt hours) for every fifty to sixty miles it drives. Currently, there are approximately 3.2 million EVs on the roads around the world. 750,000 of these are in the US. So, approximately 7,500,000 kWh of power is used every time the collective total of EVs in America travel 50-60 miles. As EV adoption continues to rise, so will the demand on the grid.
Due to changing consumer demand, and the immense popularity of electric vehicles such as the Tesla Model S, the Chevrolet Bolt, and the Nissan Leaf. The electric vehicle trend is so strong, that by the year 2035, it is projected that more than half of all light-duty vehicle sales will be electric.
So, basically, the growing popularity of electric vehicle is adding new challenges to electric grids in many nations, and utilities are struggling to keep up with it. New and innovative solutions will be required to keep up with the increased demand for electric power.
Proposed solutions to electric vehicle load management
There have been a number of proposed solutions to deal with the increased demand for electricity that long-range BEVs create. One solution is more efficient batteries. This is something that is being worked on extensively by Tesla Motors. In fact, Elon Musk, Tesla’s co-founder, and CEO has stated recently that he believes that Tesla may be able to reach an electric vehicle battery efficiency level of $100 per kWh. This would present a significant step forward for electric vehicle battery efficiency.
Another proposed solution is for utility companies to start adding more pole-top transformers and high voltage wires in residential areas. This could hypothetically increase the amount of electricity that can safely be delivered to homes to charge EVs. Considering the fact that if each home on a block gets an EV, it could double the load on the block’s power grid, such actions may definitely be required by utility companies.
More and more homes are also starting to receive their power from solar panels. The more homes that get their power from solar panels, the less the power companies will be burdened by EV power consumption. So, even though electric vehicles are rapidly increasing the demand for power, the rise of residential solar energy could help to reduce the burden on the power companies, to a certain extent. However, solar still only accounts for a very small percentage of energy use in America and has a long way to go.
SmartCharge Manager by FleetCarma
Smart Charge Manager is another solution that can help utilities, EVSE providers, and fleets to manage electric vehicle charging in an efficient manager. SmartCharge Manager works by having a logger easily installed into the electric vehicle’s diagnostics port (OBD-II). Once the logger is installed, data can be collected regarding the vehicle’s charging information.
With SCM, EV charging can be curtailed in response to periods of high demand loads. This is helpful for utilities because it prevents them from becoming overwhelmed by too many people charging their vehicles at once, and it is helpful for drivers because it enables them to avoid charging during periods of peak demand, which can be more expensive.
SmartCharge Manager allows utilities, EVSE providers, and fleets to gather all the information that they need to keep an eye on EV electricity consumption. This allows them to iron out load curves which will help to keep everything more balanced. With SCM, it is possible to view current load status, view the daily load profile, see a map of all the vehicles currently plugged in, set an auto curtailment threshold, see a charging stations overview, see a vehicle overview, set EV owner preferences, and allow for a 24 hr EV owner opt out.
In short, if you want to have optimal control over your EV charging, SmartCharge Manager can help your organization.
Electric vehicles are the future of transportation and are key to have cleaner cities. With the many benefits of EVs, there are of course issues that arise with new technology. Electric vehicles have begun and will continue to increase demand on the electrical grid. Having one or two EVs on your block charging isn’t a big deal, but what happens when it’s six or eight?
Electric vehicle use is only likely to continue to grow in the next few decades, so solutions are required for this problem. Increasing the number of transformers and high voltage lines to residential areas are two things that can be done to keep up with electricity demand. More efficient batteries and solar panels on roofs are other things that can help to solve this problem. However, when it comes to vehicle charging management, SmartCharge Manager is a more cost-effective and easier solution to implement.
As EV adoption continues to increase, it will be interesting to see how the utility market adapts.
Eric Schmidt is the Marketing Manager of EV Ecosystems at FleetCarma, a division of Geotab. He has over 10 years of experience helping Canadian technology companies tell their stories to the world. His work in marketing, design, communications, public relations, print, video, advertising, data analysis, and research has helped increase the awareness of FleetCarmas unique set of products and services. Prior to becoming interested in business, technology, and new energy Eric graduated with Honors in Graphic Design and Advertising from George Brown College.