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Pecan Street’s Study Shows Electric Vehicles Won’t Overload the Electric Grid.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen some of the world’s largest automakers release their first mass-market electric vehicles. Models like the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S are popular with consumers looking to reduce their carbon footprint and spend less at the pump. But the vehicles’ rising popularity has raised concerns about the effect they might have on the electric grid, particularly during the hot summer months in Texas.

Electric vehicles are the largest new home electric load in decades. Some suspected that drivers, upon returning home from work, would charge their vehicles during the evening hours (a ‘rush-hour’ time for the wires that carry our energy, which strains the electric grid). They thought that the increased need for energy would overwhelm the electric system, possibly force utilities to fire up more dirty fossil fuel power plants and offset any potential environmental benefits of the gasoline-free car. Thankfully, this line of thinking is now an idea of the past.

A recent report from Pecan Street proves that electric vehicles have less of an impact on the electric grid than anticipated.

Headquartered in Austin, Pecan Street Research Institute has developed the most “connected” network of energy customers in an effort to help utilities, consumer electronic companies and automakers design and test new energy-related products and services.

The data collected is used to understand exactly how new technologies affect the electricity system. In this instance, the team investigated how, exactly, a dense concentration of electric vehicles can impact the local electric grid.
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