Would electric cars crash the grid?

Widespread adoption of electric cars in New South Wales would increase demand on the power grid by an average of eight per cent, according to new research from the School of Engineering.

Sohaib Rafique and Professor Graham Town used data from the New South Wales Household Travel Survey to determine the demand that electric cars would place on the grid if they were used in 82 per cent of weekday and 81 per cent of weekend commutes, with trips less than 35km in length.

They found that the increase in electricity demand was higher than 10 per cent in only nine out of 35 local government areas (LGAs) surveyed.

However, if these electric cars were recharged nightly the majority would have a substantial excess of electrical energy stored in their batteries.

This surplus energy could feed more than 50 megawatt hours (MWh) of power back into the grid in 46 out of 50 LGAs, thereby meeting the higher demand without increasing the load on the grid.

The study was published in the Australian Journal of Electrical and Electronics Engineering earlier this month.

Banner image credit: Simon_sees.