4Q 2020

Optimizing EV Load Profiles to Benefit the Grid

Electricity demand in the US and European Union has been flat or down for several years, threatening the traditional business utility model of greater demand driving higher revenue. However, projected growth in EV adoption and the electricity that EVs use represent a dramatic increase in the amount of power that utilities will likely sell to consumers, buttressing shaky fundamentals. However, intermittent charge times and geographic clustering could exacerbate peak demand issues and threaten transformers.

The evolving EV market, charging infrastructure, and charge times are expected to have a big impact on utility load shapes. These trends are magnified by increases in solar generation, which leads to a greater discrepancy between low midday demand and peak demand when people return home from work. As utilities determine investment strategies and how to incorporate a step-change in demand, they will need consider a range of strategies including price signals and vehicle-to-grid integration. These tools can help utilities and regulators nudge EV charging behavior to minimize disruptive grid impacts, lower consumer costs, and reduce carbon emissions.

This Guidehouse Insights report explores the maturing EV and charging markets, the move from EV grid impacts from theoretical to practical, and potential utility benefits, including demand response, energy storage, and managed charging. The report also explores this question: how are EVs and renewables exacerbating load shape peaks and troughs? Recommendations for utilities and other stakeholders are provided along with instruments in utility and regulator toolbelts that could help shift EV load.

Pages 18
Tables | Charts | Figures 6
  • What are utility risks and opportunities associated with increased EV demand?
  • Will increased demand from EVs cause rolling brownouts?
  • How could price signals and vehicle-grid-integration affect EV impacts on utility load shapes?
  • What are the interrelationships between EVs and solar generation on utility load shapes?
  • What are the hourly grid impacts of different types of charging (e.g., workplace and single unit dwelling)?
  • Utility executives
  • Public utilities commission regulators
  • Electricity demand response program implementers
  • Environmental non-profits
  • Auto manufacturers
  • Charging infrastructure OEMs
  • Investor community




Plug-In Vehicle Adoption and Charging Capacity Are Growing

PEV Adoption Is Racing Ahead

Onboard PEV Charging Capacity Is Ramping

Deployed Charger Capacity Is Ramping in Response

Digital Platforms Are Enabling Smart Charging but Volumes Are Low

Bidirectional Chargers Are on the Way

PEV Grid Impacts Are Moving from Theoretical to Practical

At the System Level, PEVs Might Exacerbate Peaks and Troughs

The Current Pattern Is Ephemeral

T&D Planning Might Struggle to Keep Pace

Low Visibility Might Create Brownouts

Utility Constraints for Fleet Servicing Might Slow Transportation Electrification

Future PEV Demands Are Going to Require Smart Grids

Utilities Need to Improve Visibility of the Grid Internally and with Customers

Adopt Rate Options to Meet Societal Grid Objectives

Lower Costs and Requirements for TOU Residential Deployment

Increase Time-Variable Rate Benefits Toward Grid Objectives with RTP

Use Reward Programs to Implement PEV Load Management Quickly

Ensure Demand Rate Designs Are Not Negatively Affecting PEV Markets

Prepare the Distribution Grid for Prosumers

Get Ahead of the Technology

  • PEV Load Profiles by Location
  • California Independent System Operator Net Load for March 31
  • How PEV Market Maturity Might Shift PEV Load
  • Scenario Impacts of a Residentially-Owned Plug-In Hybrid EV on Load Distribution
  • Charging Profile of PEV Fleet with 170 Vehicles Using a Timed Connection
  • EV Charging with TOU Rates
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