Electric vehicle integration: 6 best practices for utilities

Author: Davide Savenije

Electric vehicles—are they something utilities should even care about?

Southern California Edison (SCE) certainly does. The utility recently announced it’s preparing itself for the integration projected 350,000 electric vehicles (EV) into its service territory by 2020. SCE studied 12,000 early EV adopters currently in its territory and released a report, “Charged Up: Southern California Edison’s Key Learnings about Electric Vehicles, Customers and Grid Reliability,” detailing the best practices it has developed on the road towards EV grid integration.

Here is what utilities need to know:

1. INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS TO BE UPGRADED

SCE’s report found that grid infrastructure needs to be upgraded to meet EV-owning customer’s needs and support EV integration:

Since “PEVs can draw as much as another household’s electricity load,” SCE “integrated the expected load from PEVs into its standards” for circuit sizing.

Only 1% of SCE’s transformer upgrades since 2010 have been due to plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs).

​SCE upgraded “as needed,” whenever they were notified about a new EV charging station.

Anytime SCE replaced a transformer for other, non-PEV-related reasons, they made sure it met new sizing standards to allow for PEV load.

2. DATA SHOWS MINIMAL GRID IMPACT—FOR NOW

Read the full article at http://www.utilitydive.com/news/electric-vehicle-integration-6-best-practices-for-utilities/161411.

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Driverless Cars Before Electric Ones

Author: John DeCicco

Pushing electric cars into the market before we have driverless cars is putting the cart before the horse. Those concerned with sustainable transportation should turn on to the promise of intelligent connectivity and help overcome the regulatory, insurance and institutional barriers that can inhibit the rapid evolution of “tuned in” autonomous mobility. That will be more productive than attempts to mandate or subsidize plug-in cars, which lack a scalable business case in an unconnected transportation world.

In spite of so much breathless advocacy from electric vehicle (EV) proponents, electrification itself is not a game changer for mobility. Putting a plug-in powertrain into the 19th century machine that had such a profound impact on the 20th century doesn’t make it a 21st century breakthrough. It just makes it a more expensive car.

Certainly the electric car has its passionate believers who are jazzed about the technology. Some consumers very much want to get off of oil or cut their carbon footprints. EVs can do both, no doubt about that, though at very high cost. Individuals who feel strongly about those issues and are willing and able to pay the added price are much to be admired.

But private passion does not justify public subsidy. As long as there are less expensive ways of reducing oil use and cutting carbon, neither taxpayers nor automakers nor consumers at large should be asked to absorb the high costs of electrification. Given the urgency of the climate problem, the focus should be on the most cost-effective options available today, which EVs are not. And given current fiscal constraints, public resources are best reserved for basic research to seek better batteries, advanced materials and other enabling technologies that can be used in a variety of products.

Read the full article at http://theenergycollective.com/john-m-decicco/190761/tune-sooner-plug-later.

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Portland Plans for Transit All Powered by Electricity

Author: Ken Belson

To drivers passing by on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, the structure rising above the parking lot is mostly unremarkable. But to the eco-elites who gathered in this green-leaning city in June for its unveiling, it represented a blueprint for the filling station of the future.

The roof of the 12-foot-tall steel canopy, built by EV4 Oregon, is covered with solar cells that generate power for a pair of ECOtality Blink Level 2 electric-vehicle chargers at the base. The facility is connected to the electrical grid, so any excess electricity from the solar cells can be sent to the local utility.

The canopy is more than just a sunny-day design: other installations will include an underground bank of batteries to store electricity for distribution after dark. As the electric vehicle population grows, more canopies can be added to create a covered parking lot.

“This is the future, my friends, and it will make a difference,” said Jeff Cogen, chairman of the Multnomah County Commission and one of several dignitaries to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “Hopefully, in 20 years, we can look back and say, ‘I remember when these were introduced.’ ”

Read the full article at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/28/automobiles/portland-plans-for-transit-all-powered-by-electricity.html.

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Electrical Vehicle Charging Stations Installed

The first charging station for electric vehicles has been installed. It’s on the grounds of NextEnergy, the business incubator in Detroit. Michigan Now’s Chris McCarus reports on how this new device could become part of a larger industry.

Richard Lowenthal was once the mayor of a small California town. Then about ten years ago, he figured there’s money to be made in the electric car business. He’s now the CEO of Coulomb Technologies. They make charging stations. They’re a key link in the electric vehicle chain.

“One of the things we know about the ev world is that if you can’t fuel your vehicle you won’t buy one.”

President Obama has pledged to put 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. Each car owner will need a charger at home and at work. The 900 chargers have been installed in other states. But this is the first one in Michigan. Says Lowenthal.

“Detroit’s high on our list because this is the heartbeat of the automotive world..”

Read the full article at http://www.michigannow.org/2010/09/03/electrical-vehicle-charging-stations-installed/

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Hertz To Offer Electric Vehicles By The Hour

Author: Lora Kolodny

Hertz Rent A Car is set to offer electric vehicles at an hourly rate starting December 15th in New York City, with expansion of the service to San Francisco, Washington D.C., London, up to 50 college campuses in North America, and markets in Texas and China by the end of 2011.

For what it calls the ConnectByHertz “car sharing” service in Manhattan, the company aims to make 20 electric vehicles (EVs) available by the second quarter of 2011. In total throughout the U.S. next year, Hertz plans to have 500 to 1,000 all-electric cars available.

The number of EVs that Hertz purchases for its rent-by-the-hour fleets will depend upon the availability of the cars, many of which have not begun to ship yet the company’s head of communications, Rich Broome, said Sunday.

Hertz has committed to purchase: the Nissan Leaf, the Mistubishi i-MiEV, the Chevy Volt, and electric cars from Coda and Smart, Broome verified.

Read the full article at http://techcrunch.com/2010/12/05/hertz-ev-plans-2011/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+hackernewsyc+%28Hacker+News+YC%29

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The first mass-market electric cars are arriving in showrooms. They represent a big gamble for carmakers.

THE star of this week’s Paris Motor Show was a Jaguar supercar. The C-X75 can accelerate to 100kph (62mph) in just 3.4 seconds and has a top speed of 330kph. It is powered by batteries that are recharged by miniature diesel-sipping jet turbines. Although it is a mere experimental vehicle, the excited response shows that carmakers have come to see electric vehicles as part of their future. How large a part will depend on how drivers react to the rather less racy electric offerings from big producers such as General Motors (GM), Mitsubishi, Nissan and Renault.

The first mass-market electric cars are now arriving in showrooms in America, Europe and Japan (see table). They come in three flavours. Pure electric vehicles like Nissan’s Leaf can be driven for 150km or so before they need to be recharged for six to eight hours. Range-extenders like GM’s Volt (the Ampera in Europe) are powered by an electric motor that can be recharged either from the mains or by an on-board internal-combustion engine. Then there are familiar hybrids like the Toyota Prius, now being adapted to take a charging cord and with a longer electric-only range.

Mitsubishi was one of the first away, launching its electric i-MiEV in Japan in April. Production of European models began on October 6th, including versions for France’s PSA group, which will sell the cars as a Peugeot iOn or Citroën C-ZERO. But GM and the Renault-Nissan alliance are making the biggest push into the mass market. The latter will launch four Nissan and four Renault electric models in the next two years. Carlos Ghosn, head of Renault-Nissan, believes that by 2020 one in ten new cars in Europe will be electric, while hybrids, such as the Prius, will have a similar share of the market.

Read the full article at: http://www.economist.com/node/17202405?story_id=17202405&CFID=151618799&CFTOKEN=16723345

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