There should be as many as 3 million or more electric vehicles plying the world’s roadways by 2015, according to a new study by Pike Research, and that will create a major headache for utilities around the globe creating a likely need for as much as a $5.1 billion investment in a smart grid/smart charging infrastructure.
The challenge is to not just make sure there’s enough electricity to charge all those vehicles, says Pike, but to ensure that tomorrow’s battery cars are recharged in the most efficient manner. In the U.S., for example, the Department of Energy has estimated that there’s enough power to supply millions of EVs – but only during off-peak hours.
“Electric vehicle IT systems are necessary since utilities will face an immediate impact from EV charging on their localized power distribution equipment,” says John Gartner, a senior analyst with Pike Research, based in Boulder, Colorado.
He stresses that, “During the early part of the decade, EV charging will not interfere with utilities’ overall ability to keep up with total electricity demand, but certain neighborhood transformers and other distribution assets could be quickly overwhelmed in areas with rapid EV adoption.”