When’s the Best Time to Charge an EV?
The widespread adoption of electric vehicles is gaining momentum…
The question we need to be asking here in the U.S. is, are the nation’s power grids up to the task of providing all the needed electricity?
Well, we don’t need more power; we just need it to be provided in a more strategic and efficient way.
Think about it. Your car sits in a garage or a parking lot for probably 20 or more hours every day.
EVs are no different. So there is plenty of time to charge an EV’s battery.
An EV’s charging schedule can be quite flexible. And if a battery is already charged, it stands ready to provide power back onto the grid.
Granted, EVs and utilities don’t talk to each other… yet. But engineers are rapidly working on that technology.
Utilities ideally want EV owners to charge their batteries when the grid has extra capacity. That time frame varies depending on what part of the U.S. they live in.
In the sunny West and Southwest, it’s during the day. That’s when power generated from solar arrays is peaking.
In Texas, it’s nighttime. That’s when the wind picks up and starts spinning thousands of wind turbines.
Where I am in the Northeast, utilities prefer overnight charging. That spreads out the additional electrical load on the grid over eight or more hours.
Utilities will have to appeal to EV owners’ wallets. They’ll make it financially attractive to charge during times of excess power availability.
Some utilities are actually offering customers EV charging rewards.
Con Edison, a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison Inc. (NYSE: ED), is one of the nation’s largest publicly owned utilities. It provides electricity to more than 3 million customers in and around New York City.
Its EV-owning customers can earn up to $500 annually by charging their EVs from midnight to 8 a.m. That’s when Con Edison’s demand is at its lowest.
Similarly, Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is one of the largest electricity providers in the Southeast.
It welcomes all the new EVs coming into its service territory. They only make the utility more money.
Southern Company also encourages its customers to charge their EVs in the middle of the night.
I expect to see more utilities adopt EV incentives that steer car owners to charge during times of excess grid capacity.
This is a relatively easy solution to accommodate the increased electricity demand as EV adoption continues.
You can read more about EVs and their role in what I believe is the coming disruption in energy in my new book, The Energy Disruption Triangle, now available online.