MIT study finds workplace charging and delayed home charging can mitigate electricity demand and cost
Large-scale deployment of battery electric vehicle (BEV) and photovoltaic (PV) electricity technologies could raise electricity costs by increasing peak evening electricity demand and causing overgeneration of electricity during midday. A new study by MIT researchers examines these risks and how they amplify or mitigate each other.
The researchers used data collected in two sample cities: New York and Dallas. The data were gathered from, among other sources, anonymized records collected via onboard devices in vehicles, and surveys that carefully sampled populations to cover variable travel behaviors. They showed the times of day cars are used and for how long, and how much time the vehicles spend at different kinds of locations—residential, workplace, shopping, entertainment, and so on.
The researchers modeled hourly electricity demand under BEV and PV adoption in the two cities, and then investigated mitigation strategies that do not require changes in behavior (i.e., travel) or new technologies such as vehicle-to-grid and networked chargers.
In an open-access paper published in Cell Reports Physical Science, the researchers reported that in both locations, delayed home charging nearly eliminated increases in peak demand. Similarly, workplace charging can reduce peak demand while also cutting the curtailment of photovoltaic electricity by half. These two approaches could be combined to suit local conditions and decarbonization plans.
They noted that capturing these benefits would require an acceleration of electric vehicle adoption relative to current rates.<>/p>
I think one of the fascinating things about these findings is that by being strategic you can avoid a lot of physical infrastructure that you would otherwise need. Your electric vehicles can displace some of the need for stationary energy storage, and you can also avoid the need to expand the capacity of power plants, by thinking about the location of chargers as a tool for managing demands—where they occur and when they occur.—Jessika Trancik, corresponding author
The study was supported by the European Regional Development Fund Operational Program for Competitiveness and Internationalization, the Lisbon Portugal Regional Operation Program, and the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology.
Zachary Needell, Wei Wei, Jessika E. Trancik (2023) “Strategies for beneficial electric vehicle charging to reduce peak electricity demand and store solar energy,” Cell Reports Physical Science, doi: 10.1016/j.xcrp.2023.101287