Washington, D.C. – Simply plugging in one million cars could add US$750 million in annual wholesale energy costs unless “smart” charging is adopted, according to a study released by electric car network Better Place.

Consumers who choose to leverage time-of-use pricing would see price relief of less than ten per cent annually and the wholesale energy business would still feel the impact, the study said. Conversely, smart charging one million electric cars via a central network operator would cut the increase in wholesale energy costs in half, compared to simply plugging in or time-of-use pricing, while reducing driving costs by one-fifth.

The joint study, conducted by PJM and Better Place, analyzed the impact of one million electric cars on the grid of the Mid-Atlantic States. The greater Washington-Baltimore area was selected for modelling because it already experiences transmission congestion issues and is a targeted area for electric vehicle adoption.

“Because of the ad hoc nature and unpredictability of when each electric car would be plugged in, the extra $750 million in annual costs would be borne unequally by market participants and consumers,” said Hugh McDermott, vice-president of utility and smart grid alliances for Better Place. “With smart charging, a central network operator is able to leverage dynamic wholesale energy prices to optimize the entire fleet’s charging at the lowest possible cost and impact to the grid and the consumer. Our customers and utility partners around the world stand to benefit from smart charging.”

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