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USA: SoCal Edison says electric vehicle surge has not overtaxed its grid —yet

Tesla’s Model S has been unexpectedly popular in southern California, says SoCal Edison’s EV readiness leader, Ed Kjaer.

Southern California Edison on Tuesday issued its first report on how the growth in the use of electric vehicles in its territory has affected its grid, and the news — at least according to the investor-owned utility — is good.

Despite initial fears that the popularity of the plug-in vehicles might overtax the utility’s grid, that has not yet happened.

It’s a remarkable finding given that fully 10 percent of the nation’s electric vehicle stock plugs in somewhere in So Cal Edison’s territory.

The conclusions were contained in a white paper titled “Charged Up: Southern California Edison’s Key Learnings about Electric Vehicles, Our Customers and Grid Reliability” (it’s embedded below). Among the key findings:

Edison has made nearly 400 upgrades to circuits in its system since 2010, but the additional power demands of electric vehicles required only 1 percent of those upgrades.
Edison’s grid managed to avoid undue burdens on its system attributable to electric vehicle recharging because vehicle owners used automated timers that randomized the time of recharging, preventing a large number of vehicles from trying to recharge simultaneously and averting power-load spikes.
Electric vehicle users’ behavior was consistent and predictable.

Edison’s Director of Electric Vehicle Readiness, Ed Kjaer, said that most electric cars plug in at night. That’s helped the utility cope with new demand.

The randomized timing was a key finding, Kjaer said.
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