In keeping with our determination to be prepared for new technologies affecting the electricity grid, we have leased two Mitsubishi i-MiEVs (plug-in electric cars).
Electric vehicles (EVs) have been around since the 1830s. Of course we all know that subsequently they were replaced by internal combustion vehicles (ICVs). However, due to their potential advantages, EVs are making a comeback.
EVs present exciting potential solutions for our energy future. Rather than from petrol in a tank, EVs get their energy from rechargeable, on-board batteries.
Compared to ICVs, EVs produce much less greenhouse gas emissions even if charged by coal-fired electricity. If powered by wind or solar generated electricity, the benefits are even greater.
The batteries in EVs are a form of energy storage. If aggregated, the benefit of this storage has enormous potential for the improved economic and environmental efficiency of the electricity system as a whole.
With these exciting benefits, however, come some serious potential challenges for the management of the electricity system. The biggest of these is the potentially significant extra demand that EVs could place on the system during the evening peak period if large numbers of them were to be charged at this time.
By studying the interactions of these cars with the grid, Western Power is working hard to ensure we are well positioned to take advantage of their benefits while addressing their challenges so that we are all better prepared for an EV future.
For more technical information, please refer to EV Policy Statement document (PDF 170kb).
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