The increasing popularity of electric cars raises fears of blackouts as mass consumerism grows and power lines are increasingly unable to support the demand.
Today, air conditioners are among the main sources of grid overload, but electric cars will quickly join them.
What would happen if all combustion engine cars in Italy became electric? This scenario, which is highly likely in the near future, leads to a situation where the need for electricity would be increased by 30% in the case of a 100% electric car fleet.
30% more energy will be needed in the future
Studies and research have calculated the electricity needed to run cars by considering the number of cars in Italy and the annual mileage in km. The energy required was calculated to be 1 TWh and if everyone had a Tesla Model 3 and travelled on the motorway at 110 km/h, with consumption of 160 Wh/km. with electric cars alone, calculations indicate a need for 116.1 TWh.
Translated in terms of energy production, this means an increase of 38%, considering that Italy’s consumption in 2020 was 302.7 TWh. The problem does not lie in the total energy needed to recharge cars, but in the simultaneous use by multiple users. This requires v2g solutions, which feed energy from batteries into the grid.
Certainly, electrical overload is a problem that plagues Europe, but not only. State officials from the California Independent System Operator, manager of 80 per cent of the state’s electricity infrastructure, have warned that California is likely to experience a shortage of electricity in the summer, equivalent to that needed to power about 1.3 million homes.
There is a blackout risk from electric cars
According to a study by the Energy & Strategy of the Milan Polytechnic, it is assumed that 5 million electric cars will be circulating in Italy in 2030, less than 1/6 of the vehicles that make up the current car fleet of 37 million. Even if there were a boom in electric cars, energy requirements would only rise by 16%, an important but not unsustainable share for the Italian power generation system.
However, if even less than 1 per cent of these were connected simultaneously, 33 per cent more than the current maximum power would be required. Thus, in a future scenario, the danger of overloading may indeed exist. What are the solutions to date? Here are a few.
The role of private or diffuse accumulators
The problem and the risk of blackouts caused by electric cars concerns the stability of the system more than the production of electricity, which must, however, require the increasing use of renewable sources. This is why it is important to work on setting up energy reserves to be replenished at times of lower absorption in order to be exploited when demand is higher.
This is a principle behind many projects of car manufacturers, which supply companies with used batteries to be used as accumulators for energy produced by photovoltaic systems and other ‘green’ resources. For example, Renault recently announced its Advanced Battery Storage programme, a network of accumulators made from used batteries and installed at several sites in Germany and France, which should be completed by 2020: it would guarantee 70 megawatts of power and a capacity of 60 megawatts/hour, enough to power a town with 5,000 households.
Here, then, is how, with the right solutions and precautions, the risk of electricity blackouts will be a remote prospect. Blackouts that don’t even occur at home: at DazeTechnology we have developed an advanced power management system called Dynamic Power Management. This system, by monitoring the load of the consumers in the house, allows the car to always be charged to the maximum possible power without exceeding consumption limits. Once the power limit of our home has been set, Dynamic Power Management automatically adjusts the power output for car charging: switching appliances on or off while the car is charging will never cause blackouts again.
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