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ELECTRIC VEHICLES (EV)

Any car or truck that can be plugged into the power system to charge up, is a plug-in electric vehicle – whether it uses a hybrid of gasoline and electricity or electricity alone.     A number of new models from major automakers will arrive on the market this year, with boutique EV manufacturers advancing the market further.

As 27 per cent of Canada’s current greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation sector1, the smart grid can help displace fossil fuel sources of energy, migrating more of the province’s transportation sector to electricity would dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is particularly true in Ontario, with the closure of coal plants to be complete by the end of 2014 and an increasingly renewable supply mix.  The implementation of TOU rates, with lower off-peak prices, also encourages electric car owners to charge up overnight and on weekend, lessening the impact during peak hours.

According to a recent study by the University of Waterloo, the immediate impact of EVs on the system won’t be felt for at least three to five years, providing electricity system planners the opportunity to evaluate and prepare for growing numbers of electricity vehicles on Ontario streets.  It is anticipated that the adoption of electric vehicles will cluster in urban areas, and even neighbourhoods, potentially stressing local distribution networks.   The Ontario Smart Grid Forum is recommending closer cooperation between the electricity and transportation sectors in key areas of information gathering and dissemination in order to aid these planning activities. 

Electric Vehicle Facts:

  • In Ontario, rebates of up to $8500 are available for the purchase of PHEV, with the added bonus of green licence plates that provide automatic access to high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. See:  Electric Vehicle Incentive Program
  • Depending on charging levels and timing, charging one electric car can add the demand equivalent of a new house to the block, requiring local distribution companies to plan for additional capacity in areas that may already be congested.  As a result, the Ontario Smart Grid Forum has called on the Ontario government to track the registration of electric vehicles in the province and share that information with electricity sector organizations.
  • A 2010 study by the Waterloo Institute of Sustainable Energy demonstrated that Fuel costs for electric vehicles could be 3 to 5 times lower than for a standard gasoline vehicle. Upfront costs, such as the car itself and charging infrastructure are higher and require significant further development to become competitive.
  • According to a report by the ISO/RTO Council (www.iso-rto.org) of system operators, almost 16,000 electric cars in the City of Toronto would represent 86 MW of load if they charged at the same time, the equivalent amount of energy used by the City of Welland. If these same vehicles staggered their charging over a 12-hour period, load would be reduced to 13 MW.

 

1Source: Environment Canada, Canada's Greenhouse Gas Inventory

 

 

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