Utilities prepare for a bumpy road.
Ed May is Itron’s director of business development and Stephen Johnson is a product line manager for Itron.
Electric cars are expected to account for 64 percent of U.S. light vehicle sales by 2030, according to a study commissioned by the University of California-Berkeley. It’s safe to say that in the next 20 years the odds are high that a typical electric customer will maneuver an electric car into the garage and plug it into the nearest outlet. As a result, customers’ reliance on the electric grid will double.
Along with this promise of electric transportation widely disbursed across the electric distribution system comes a significant new load that our grid wasn’t designed to accommodate. The act of simply plugging-in might seem to be a benign routine, but beneath the surface is a complex problem that hasn’t yet been solved.
The electric vehicle (EV) is far from a simple plug-in electrical appliance. But to promote adoption and drive our society to transform long-lived addictions to fossil-fueled transportation, the act of charging will have to appear as simple as plugging in a toaster. With new market forces at work, the EV paradigm will demand that significant change occurs within the utility, automotive supplier, car manufacturer and investor communities, requiring a clear vision, unprecedented collaboration—and a sense of reality.