Will The US Electrical Grid Limit Growth In Electric Vehicles?

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory recently released a study (15mb PDF) examining the impact that electric vehicle adoption rates could have on the U.S. power grid.

Its major findings were,

2028 resource adequacy is likely to be sufficient for high EV penetration assumption.

Under a high-penetration scenario with national electric fleets of ~24 million LDVs, 200,000 MDVs, 150,000 HDVs for a 2028 time frame, we are not expecting resource adequacy issues in the WECC under normal operating conditions (normal system, weather, and water conditions). The corresponding electric fleet sizes for the WECC footprint are 9 million LDVs, 70,000 MDVs and 94 HDV charging stations.

EV resource adequacy can be doubled with managed charging strategies.

The EV resource adequacy for the entire WECC interconnection was estimated for a likely unmanaged charging scenario under which most LDVs were charging at home starting in the evening (Home High power No Delay: HHND). Unmanaged charging is predicated on arrival time at home in the evening, when we assumed that the charging process begins. The vi maximum number of LDVs when projected to the national fleet was about 30 million (national value) or 9 million for the WECC footprint. Alternatively, if managed charging was applied by hypothesizing a price-minimization scheme, the EV resource adequacy could be expanded to 65 million (national fleet number) or 19.6 million for the WECC.

So by 2028, the United States could accommodate 30 million electric vehicles in a largely unmanaged scenario and upwards of 65 million electric vehicles using a managed system of charging vehicles.

Current projects suggest there will be almost 260 million registered vehicles (cars and light trucks) on U.S. roads in 2030. Clearly, a lot of basic infrastructure work will be required to fully transition to a world without fossil fuel-based cars and trucks.

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