To paraphrase Mark Twain, rumors of the grid’s demise on account of more plug-in vehicles are greatly exaggerated. And, while time is money, when it comes to electric-vehicle charging, more money means less time. At least, less time during peak demand.
Plug-in vehicle owners in a cluster of Austin, Texas homes were used as a charging-behavior test group, and the early returns say that those households didn’t put much of a stress on the local power grid. And that’s even during peak-use summer afternoons when air conditioning units in central Texas tend to be set to full blast…citing a report from Pecan Street Research Institute.
The test included 21 Chevrolet Volts, nine Nissan Leafs and a solitary Tesla Model S. Of course, make ’em all Teslas and we might have a different story.
Additionally, half of those 30 vehicle owners were also part of a test in which the electricity price was adjusted to reflect peak demand times. Not surprisingly, those car owners were about half as likely (~12%) to plug-in during peak hours as the ones whose prices weren’t being adjusted (~22%). Regardless, the average cost of electricity used by those vehicles per month came out to $23.56, or the equivalent to about half a tank of gas. Yee-haw, indeed.
As the economies of scale kick in, I expect more and more folks to convert to straight-up electric vehicles. After all, the average American commute is 40 miles round trip. No range anxiety there unless you’re using a small electric bicycle. Even without a charging station at work, you should be able to make it to work and back to home – and charge overnight easily.
Making sense ain’t bad – especially when you end up saving money.