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Loading... A new report from Pike Research forecasts that 276 million smart grid communications nodes will be shipped worldwide from 2010 to 2016, with annual shipments increasing dramatically from 15 million in 2009 to 55 million by 2016... this will represent a total industry investment of $20.3 billion during the seven-year forecast period, with annual revenues increasing from $1.8 billion in 2009 to $3.1 billion by 2016..."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Smart Grid Markets More EVs on the road = more headaches for utilities?

Quick Take: Despite the complaints, there are also things to like about EVs. In an era when demand growth is disappearing due to energy efficiency and demand response, EVs represent a source of growth. What's more, if utilities are allowed to control when EVs are charged, they will provide a much needed sponge for late night wind power. – Jesse Berst

A new report on a study conducted by Accenture says the majority of consumers would consider buying a plug-in EV (PEV) as their next car. But the report also makes it clear that consumers want to be able to charge their vehicles when and how they want, with no interference from utilities or charging service providers. That and other consumer likes and dislikes could raise the cost and complexity of managing electricity demand and grid congestion, not to mention the charging infrastructure.
Accenture's report, Plug-in Electric Vehicles: changing perceptions, hedging bets, says 67% of consumers are unwilling to allow charging service providers to limit when they can charge their cars, and that another 20% would accept limits only if they coincided with times periods they selected. 62% of the survey respondents don't want battery swapping, which could limit the opportunity for charging at off-peak times when battery swapping companies would be most likely to recharge their batteries.  And a total of 55% would only plug in their cars when they needed to charge them, and not every time they park, a factor that could mean less predictable charging patterns and reduced demand for public charging facilities.
PEV drivers also would need a more "supportive" infrastructure to fully adopt all-electric PEVs, although the report notes that 71% of respondents would prefer plug-in hybrids, which could run on gasoline or diesel when the battery charge is low. That's backed up by findings that 85% say all-electrics don't have the range they need for routine daily driving, and that  most don't think there are enough charging stations and that charging times take too long.
"As drivers get behind the wheel, they may become more open to fully electric vehicles and battery swapping services. But denser charging networks and fast charging units will be required if utilities want to drive up demand for all plug-in electric vehicles," said Matias Alonso, Accenture's global managing director for utilities. "The uncertain demand for plug-in electric vehicles and their impact on the grid means that energy providers must choose between running the risk of network overload and the need for large infrastructure investment, or early deployment of smart technologies that proactively manage local electricity demand and supply."
The Accenture study involved more than 7,000 people in 13 countries.

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