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article imageUtilities need to invest in more grid capacity to meet EV surge

By Karen Graham     Apr 23, 2019 in Technology
Increasing demand for electric vehicles in the U.S. over the next decade will create revenue opportunities for electric utilities that invest in greater grid capacity and offer EV charging and related services, according to a study released on Tuesday.
The study, Electric Vehicles Are a Multibillion-Dollar Opportunity for Utilities, by Boston Consulting Group, is based on the assumption there will be a big leap in consumer demand for electric vehicles by 2030, with fully one-quarter of light trucks and cars on the highway being EVs.
BCG's estimate that nearly 30 percent of new car sales by 2030 will be electric or hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles is a far cry from the 2 percent of total U.S. car sales in 2018 that were plug-in hybrids and pure EVs, according to the website
Based on BCG's study, and the current interest in charging infrastructure needs already being discussed and addressed in many states, BCG is right in predicting that by 2030, the number of EVs will be stretching “the capacity of the current grid” when charging in certain locations or at certain times of the day.
EVs go mainstream and so must utilities
BMG points out that over the next dozen years, four factors—technology, regulatory mandates, consumer adoption, and autonomous-vehicle and ride sharing—will propel and shape the transition to EVs.
Greenlots successfully installed charging stations for e+ at an event with Mitsubishi at Warsaw  Pol...
Greenlots successfully installed charging stations for e+ at an event with Mitsubishi at Warsaw, Poland in 2011.
Reuters notes that the study suggests that utilities need to look at expanding their services - exploring such options as subscription services that have a flat fee for EV charging and even free home chargers for customers that automatically charge a vehicle overnight and during periods of off-peak demand.
BMG also suggests that utilities make use of consulting services and the software solutions that are readily available today to aid in increasing electrical grid capacity - the amount of energy that can be delivered at one time - rather than increasing overall electricity production.
This is because according to BMG, the increase in the number of EVs on the road will have little impact on total energy demand (including residential, business, and industrial uses) through 2030. "However, significant increases in demand in certain locations or at certain times of the day will stretch the capacity of the current grid," says the study.
The BMG study is interesting because it goes along with a Digital Journal interview with the CEO of mPrest on Monday. mPrest is a software company that has developed smart grid technology. The company's smart grid software platform uses a mix of artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other applications to aid utilities in modernizing their grids.
More about electric utilities, electric vehicles, grid capacity, charging infrastructure, Boston Consulting Group
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