20th June 2022

How Can Smart Charging Accelerate the Energy Transition?

Smart charging

The modern era vehicles aka Electric Vehicles (EVs), tend to solve one of the most intimidating problems of the present time – climate change. A significant benefit of EVs is that they don’t emit pollutants. In fact, drivers of electric vehicles have reduced CO2 emissions by more than 177,758,804 kg! Owing to their advantages, EVs are becoming popular globally. We call this energy transition – moving toward clean energy sources from conventional fossil-fuel sources. 

However, EVs come with some challenges. One of them is the risk of overloading the grid – increased EV adoption adds more electricity load, potentially requiring new investment in grid infrastructure. As utility companies grapple with understanding the rapidly growing EV market, forecasting when and where this power is needed is also an additional challenge. 

Fortunately, we’ve got a solution for this – Smart Charging.

The Challenge: Increased pressure on grids & Demand vs. Supply imbalance

As we just mentioned, the demand for electric vehicles is increasing.

Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) conjointly accounted for 18.9% of new car sales in the European Union (EU) in the third quarter of 2021. BCG data also suggests that EVs will make more than half of the light vehicles sold globally by 2026.

Although this means less pollution, it also implies more pressure on the grid.

At the same time, small-scale electricity generation through renewable sources, like solar or wind power plants is also on the rise. Again, this is a positive thing, but like EVs, this also interferes with the demand vs. supply of electricity.

Note that the proper balance of electricity demand vs. supply is necessary to keep the power system running, or it will result in a blackout.

As per the data available, a household adopting an EV increases its energy consumption. EVs may account for around 10% of our peak energy demand by the end of this decade.

Governments worldwide are also encouraging EV adoption to the masses through subsidies and incentivizing vehicles by providing free charging. And they don’t even mind taking radical methods like a complete ban on fossil-fuel-based vehicles. This will further increase EV sales – again, a good thing but with the aforementioned challenge.

Now, the problem of grip pressure might be tackled by upgrading the grids, especially in the areas where EVs are charged at the same time of the day. But even this solution isn’t completely viable.

Energy Distribution

More than just grid up-gradation, the distribution system operators(DSOs), the operating managers, and sometimes owners of energy distribution networks will have to upgrade their complete circuitry and distribution cables to send electricity from the upgraded grids to the EV charging stations. 

So, who’s going to bear these costs?

Research from BCG suggests that a DSO may need to spend between $1700 to $5800 per EV to improve the existing grids. Needless to say, these costs will be borne by none but the consumers charging their vehicles.

The Solution: Smart Charging

The solution to this problem of grid overloading and supply-demand issue problem is – Smart Charging – where the EV drivers can adjust their charging patterns per the local grid’s real-time constraints.

How does this work?

Smart charging works in two ways: Peak Shaving and Peak Shifting.

Peak Shaving

Peak Shaving involves cutting the power consumption during peak times.

This will require the Charge Point Operators (CPOs) of the intelligent charging points to work with the Energy Distribution Networks to reduce the power consumption at peak times and get the necessary power through renewable energy sources.

This would result in less consumption of fossil-fuel-generated electricity, which means lower CO2 emissions. And at the same time, a well-balanced grid infrastructure.

Peak Shifting

Another way to tackle the problem is – to shift the charging patterns of the EVs. It’s called Peak Shifting.

Here, the EVs will be sent to the charging points where demand is low and renewable energy is available.

The result will be that the price of the charging will get reduced, saving costs for EV owners. And the grid supply will also remain balanced.

Will this will truly encourage the widespread adoption of EVs?

Adopting smart charging for EVs will not just relieve pressure on grids and save money for EV users; it will promote the widespread adoption of EVs.

With the help of smart charging, the number of charge stations at a location can be increased without causing trouble to the grid. In fact, as large as 20 more EV stations can be accommodated in a particular location when compared otherwise.

The incentives from the government in the form of subsidiaries to reduce EV costs and the free charge is already a significant catalyst for EV adoption. Combining this with Smart Charging, we can say that widespread EV adoption will soon be a phenomenon!.

About ION Energy

ION Energy is an advanced battery management and intelligence platform. We’re focused on building technologies that improve the life and performance of lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles and energy storage systems.

Our customers typically choose ION Energy because of its reliability, transparency, commitment to customer success, and innovative business models. OEMs and battery pack manufacturers across the globe choose ION’s integrated battery management solutions to continuously improve the life and performance of the battery.

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