Electric cars – Can the National Grid cope?

Can the UK energy grid really cope with a huge increase in the number of electric vehicles being plugged in for charging?

There are two aspects to whether we have the capacity to manage lots of EVs being plugged in at once – whether we have enough energy and then whether we have sufficient capacity on the wires that carry that energy to where it’s needed.

Enough capacity exists   

Even if the impossible happened and we all switched to EVs overnight, we think demand would only increase by around 10 per cent. So we’d still be using less power as a nation than we did in 2002 and this is well within the range of manageable load fluctuation.

National Grid 2020 – 6 myths about electric vehicles busted

How we’ll balance the grid so that it can cope with 31.3 million electric cars on the UK’s roads.

‘When’ matters, not just ‘how much’

The traditional evening peak of electricity demand is between 6 and 8pm, and this might well coincide with people returning from their commute and plugging in their cars. If we want to provide sufficient infrastructure and energy for EVs as cheaply as possible for consumers, we ideally don’t want to add to that evening peak and need to spread that demand better.

National Grid 2020 – 6 myths about electric vehicles busted

Electricity companies are now starting to offer, not only, cheaper night rates, but also half-hourly pricing. Sometimes, generally during the night, this can be incredibly cheap and even free!

Electric cars can be set to charge at certain times, especially avoiding the evening high demand, and if ‘smart’, can even vary their times based on the price.

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