2011 Chevrolet Volt plugged into Coulomb Technologies 240V wall charging unitEnlarge Photo
On the list of reasons to dislike electric cars, arguments about electricity grids being unable to cope with demand are often fairly near the top.
You'll have heard it before: The concept that, as everyone drives home after work and plugs in their electric vehicle, electricity grids fail under the strain and cities are plunged into darkness.
According to one grid CEO, Trip Doggett of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, it's unlikely to be a problem.
“The localized distribution companies may have some localized challenges as electric vehicles are located within neighborhoods,” explained Doggett.
“In the long term there could be some impact to our resource adequacy challenge, but my belief is that’s not a significant issue in the near term.”
With slow electric car adoption rates, and ownership in most cities fairly diffuse, it's unlikely to be an issue for some time--and then, only if drivers all plug in during peak times--an unlikely scenario, according to Doggett.
He suggests that most owners will make best use of time-of-use electricity rates--saving charging for when the electricity is cheapest.
That means peak times shouldn't see much disruption, allowing grids to handle the usual TVs, ovens, air conditioning and lights. And, like many electric cars are aware, life will simply carry on as normal--just a little cleaner than before...