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Monday, September 4, 2023

Helping the switch to Electric Vehicles

Accelerating the uptake of electric vehicles in Australia is needed to reduce transport emissions that are increasing since the end of COVID19 restrictions. 

This could however add to concerns about the reliability of electricity supplies: 

  • AEMO has expressed the concern that new generation capacity may not be brought online fast enough to replace the planned retirement of aging coal-fired generation, and
  • Additional electric vehicles will transfer demand for imported petrol and diesel transport fuels onto the electricity grid - further increasing the pressure to bring new generation capacity online more quickly.

There are two programs that can accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles and ease any concerns about increased demand on the electricity grid. 

Any workplace where say 6 or more employees drive to work each morning and leave their cars parked all day at the workplace could have their vehicles recharge from a solar PV system installed just for the needs of vehicles parked at the workplace. 

Any school where at least half a dozen teachers drive to school would be a suitable example. 

In the case of a school car-park for teachers vehicles, a large carport covered with a solar PV system would provide additional generation capacity that would avoid extra demand on the grid to supply electricity for these electric vehicles. 

See some example by "Solar Carpark Shade Structures". 

Solar PV Carpark Shade
by Solar Carpark Shade Structures

Because the cars are expected to be parked for many hours, there is no need to install a costly recharge unit for each vehicle. A single recharge module with 6 ports - one port for each vehicle to be charged would be sufficient. It would need to have software to rotate charging between the plugged-in vehicles so that each battery was charged by the end of the day.

The above facility would avoid these electric vehicles adding to demand on the electricity grid. 

A further facility would allow these electric vehicles to REDUCE demand on the electricity grid, alleviating AEMO's concerns about the pace of introduction of new generation capacity.

Suppose each of the electric vehicles leaves the school parking area each evening with a fully-charge 40 kWh battery and uses about 5 kWh for the commute home and back the following morning. 

It would be practical to use 10 - 20 kWh from the battery to power the teacher's home with renewable energy overnight. 

See the Electric Vehicle Council's web page where a similar idea is discussed: "BATTERY ON WHEELS – ROLE OF EVS IN SHAPING THE ENERGY GRID OF THE FUTURE – EV Summit 2022 panel"