Electric vehicle charging needs to shift to day to day to help power grid, Stanford study finds

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — The best time of day to charge electric vehicles has just been explored in a Stanford study.

The results surprise even the study authors, but that’s not all they explored when it comes to electric vehicles. Experts say the habits we have developed with them should change.

The deadline to ban sales of new gasoline cars is approaching.

Although the goal is for the ban to begin in 2035, the researchers say attention needs to be paid to the power grid.

“We need more capacity in the network to support this load,” said Ram Rajagopalm, a Stanford professor and one of the authors of this Stanford study.

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It focuses on access to charging infrastructure and the impacts on the already strained electricity grid as more electric vehicles are adopted.

They found that if a third of the households in a neighborhood have electric vehicles and they all charge their cars at 11 p.m., the local grid could become unstable.

“It was a surprise to us, you know, that this daytime recharge could make a significant difference,” Prof Rajagopal said.

But charging vehicles during the day from work or other shared charging infrastructure could help.

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By 2035, the electricity grid will be able to draw on more solar energy, which means that in the morning and early afternoon there will be additional energy.

“What happens in those days, the days when you have extra power that you know could be reduced, because it was useless,” he said.

But one of the main problems with it now is the lack of financial incentive. At present, electricity rates are cheaper in the evening.

The authors of the study say policy makers need to take action to get better daytime fares.

“It also means making this type of charging accessible. Not everyone has access to a charger in the workplace,” he said. “There are people who have small businesses in low- to middle-income communities who may not have a charger they could use for their business, and it will be a daytime charge.”

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ABC7 News reached out to the California Energy Commission, which helped fund the study, to find out what work is being done to come up with rates that would encourage people to charge during the day.

In particular, they said that “State agencies are coordinating to develop and deploy rates, programs, and technologies that better align electric vehicle charging with grid conditions.”

For his part, Rajagopal is encouraged that by 2035 the incentives will be there.

“I’m very confident that we’re on a very good trajectory and things are going well,” he said.

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