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Study Finds UK Power Infrastructure Has Capacity for Significant Rise in Use of EVs and PHEVs

According to the results of simulation studies by a consortium including Ricardo, Jaguar-Land Rover, E.ON and Amberjac Projects, a substantial medium-term rise in the number of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles would have a much lower impact on the UK national power grid than has previously been estimated.

The research study has been carried out by the consortium as part of the Range Extended Hybrid Electric Vehicle (REHEV) project, which is led by Jaguar-Land Rover and part-funded by the UK’s Technology Strategy Board.

The study marks completion of the first stage of the REHEV project and has focused on a range of vehicle charging scenarios and levels of market penetration in order to predict the likely increase in national energy usage.

Four vehicle fleet charging scenarios were simulated, comprising uncontrolled domestic charging, uncontrolled off-peak domestic charging, ‘smart’ domestic charging and uncontrolled public charging throughout the day—for example, by commuters who recharge their vehicles while at work. Charging was assumed to be single phase AC as this is the most likely near-term solution, but the study also considered fast charging scenarios as for a large number of vehicles the energy demanded over a time period is likely to be the same and distributed evenly.

Assuming a 10% market penetration of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and pure electric vehicles in the UK vehicle parc (a proportion representing approximately 3 million passenger and light goods vehicles) the study showed a daily peak increase in electricity demand of less than 2% (approximately 1GW) for the scenario of uncontrolled domestic charging—the ‘worst case’ in terms of peak power demand.

Other scenarios are less challenging: off-peak domestic charging, for example, increases electricity consumption throughout the night but has no impact on the peak daily demand. Since it will be a number of years before a 10% level of market penetration is achieved even with the recently announced UK government incentive plans, grid capacity at a national scale should be adequate for this significant electrification of the vehicle fleet.

While the national impact is shown to be manageable, the research team emphasizes that local improvements may nevertheless be necessary—for example, where local network capacity is marginal or where particularly high concentrations of electric or plug-in vehicles occur.

Further work is ongoing to look at the timeline for reduced power station CO2 emissions which is the key enabler for electric and plug-in hybrids to reach true ultra-low carbon status. Future reports of the REHEV project will look at fast charging infrastructure which would offer significant consumer benefits in the use of electric and plug-in hybrids.

The REHEV project consortium is now continuing its work, which will see the development of a modular electric and electric/diesel powertrain, suitable for several different vehicle types. This will initially be tested on a large premium sport utility platform, delivering 120 to 130 g/km and with significant zero emissions potential.

Future passenger and commercial variants could have an all electric range of in excess of 20 miles, meaning that the majority of typical vehicle trips could be completed with zero tailpipe emissions.



We can save enough energy to power a fleet of plug ins just by improving buildings insulation and air tightness.
Retrofit the houses which are still on electric heating with air source heat pumps (typically less than 1 year payback on energy savings)

Commercial heating and lighting can be fitted with demand response and help shave off the peak.

Dual fuel some of the saved natural gas in with the diesel car fleet, (cheaper to import than oil) and make use of biogas for waste disposal.

Build nukes, wind turbines and build some coal fired CHP.



You are absolutely correct. We have done what you suggested + many other changes and managed to reduce our average e-energy consumption from 65 KWh/day to less than 20 KWh/day for an all electric home.

The 45 KWh/day saved could easily supply the e-energy for up to 4 PHEVs or BEVs.

Our new SEER-23 Heat Pump is probabley responsible for up to 35% of the savings. Better insulation, doors, windows etc probaly account for another 40%. Better lights, electronic programmable thermostats and read energy saving appliances do the rest.

It would be rather easy for the average home to reduce e-energy consumption by 10 HWh/day for the PHEV or BEV.


Doesn't matter if we are ready or not. The car companies will NOT be MASS producing affordable plug-in's anytime soon.


It seems like JoT is at least partly right.

Worries about infrastructure, grid capacity and load leveling are like worrying about how silent an electric car will be.



JosephT and Toppatom:

You may be right with regards to USA suppliers but...

Place your orders with four+ Asian suppliers and you will get your PHEVs in 2010.

BYD China is a sure bet at a reasonable price but it will not be the only one.

South Korea and Japan will also have PHEVs on market by late 2010.

You may also have 2 or 3 European suppliers on line.


JosephT $ Toppatom:

Japan has over 70% of the HEV-PHEV-EV patents. It is fair to assume that the first gseneration HEV-PHEV-EV may come from there.

Copy cats will come a few years latter.


Thanks HarveyD, I'm also looking forward to the Japanese / Korean hybrids to be released, they will also be the guys making the heat pumps and solar panels.

Amory Lovins says it best. Do we want to import fuel efficient cars or make them?


Trouble with the Asian products is the Chinese ones suffer from a terrible safety image (crash test failures, lead paint, tainted food.) And North Americans increasingly want to keep their dollars at home. Providing jobs and security for North Americans. Which means people who care as much about their fellow citizens as the environment will buy NA.


"North Americans increasingly want to keep their dollars at home."

Yeah but how many of YOUR dollars are you keeping at home when your ICE car is fueled with Saudi oil?

Tough choice really - buy a foreign BEV or buy foreign oil.


At European petrol costs then given some Government rebates electric vehicles are economic:
In it's wisdom, the UK Government has decided to delay grants, but other countries are likely to be more forward thinking.
Supplies of relatively affordable EV's and plug ins which are fairly reasonable to drive are coming out from now until around 2011, and some from major manufacturer's such as Mitsubishi and Nissan/Renault.
The position for a commuter car in the US would depend on gas prices, which in turn depend on two factors:
How long the World slump continues, and how when the lack of investment means that when the upturn comes shortages occur, as present low prices will ensure restricted supplies regardless of one's position as to when the absolute peak in oil supplies will occur.
Many think this peak has already happened.
Putting the numbers together my own guess would be that 2012 would be perhaps the year in which availability and price would come together.
In Europe there might be opportunities for early models to be adopted economically before this.
I'm betting China will do better yet.


Sorry, forgot to add - there are plans from several manufacturers to provide the battery component on a lease basis, which would reduce the upfront cost considerably and make a lot of use economic with fairly low petrol prices.


I see it that you would buy the car complete with a small battery perhaps only a couple of kWh's. You would then lease a further 10-20kWh of battery pack depending on how much all electric range you where after.

Each kWh of battery pack would save you 5 miles of gas per day saving 50-100 gallons per year, assuming $2 or $4 a gallon $100- $400 per year saving.

If battery cost in $1000/kWh it might take ten years to pay off if gas stays at $2, but more likely if gas goes up to $3 or $4 and you can get the battery for $500/kWh, it would pay for itself within a couple of years.



I'm converting an Audi A4 to electric. The cost of the Lithium Ion battery is actually $500/kwh today. I ordered a 20.4 kWh battery with battery management system for $10,000. This battery pack will last thousands of charge cycles, and give me well over 100,000 miles of service.

The reality is investing in a good quality battery pack is like buying a portion of your fuel in advance. The actual operating expense is about $0.02/mile. So, the electrical fuel to drive 100,000 miles will cost about $2,000. If you add the cost of the battery the cost per mile is about $0.12/mile, however, at 100,000 miles the battery pack should still have over 90% life left.


Sounds like a good project, good news about the price of the batteries. I see slightly depleted batteries finding use in UPS or home solar systems as power / weight doesn't matter in these areas.


I came across a comment on the Volt batteries that they were allowing for aging. They wanted 8kwh after so many years and that was one of the targeted goals.

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