France’s Power Grid Threatened by an Increase of Electric Vehicles image

France’s power grid might not cope with an increase of electric vehicles.

This month Renault launched in France its long-awaited Zoe EV, the first electric vehicle to have mass-market potential. Although the government has been encouraging the EV technology with substantial subsidies, the country’s power grid might not cope with an increase in demand due to its high reliance on electric heating.

Even if the ides of having hundreds of thousands of EVs on France’s roads seems a far away idea, the country has to find solutions for the moment when households will turn on the heaters, light and electric gadgets at the same time.

“If it’s badly managed, it could prompt power surges, which would cost a lot in peak production, CO2 emissions and would also necessitate the construction of relatively costly infrastructure,” said Olivier Grabette, head of R&D at French power grid RTE.

He added that if a fleet of 2 million EVs would charge at peak times, this could add from 3 to 6 gigawatts of peak demand. As in February 2012 at one point demand surpassed 102 GW and almost pushed the network to its limits, forcing France to import a record 9 GW, the state agencies recommended car chargers that need up to 8 hours to recharge a battery, instead of 30 minutes needed by the quick chargers.

“There could be a problem, if we’re not careful, in terms of peak capacity,” said Bruno Dobrowolski, in charge of the electric vehicle programme at ErDF, the electric distribution arm of state-owned utility EDF. “That’s why smart charging is necessary.”

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France’s power grid might not cope with an increase of electric vehicles.

This month Renault launched in France its long-awaited Zoe EV, the first electric vehicle to have mass-market potential. Although the government has been encouraging the EV technology with substantial subsidies, the country’s power grid might not cope with an increase in demand due to its high reliance on electric heating.

Even if the ides of having hundreds of thousands of EVs on France’s roads seems a far away idea, the country has to find solutions for the moment when households will turn on the heaters, light and electric gadgets at the same time.

“If it’s badly managed, it could prompt power surges, which would cost a lot in peak production, CO2 emissions and would also necessitate the construction of relatively costly infrastructure,” said Olivier Grabette, head of R&D at French power grid RTE.

 

He added that if a fleet of 2 million EVs would charge at peak times, this could add from 3 to 6 gigawatts of peak demand. As in February 2012 at one point demand surpassed 102 GW and almost pushed the network to its limits, forcing France to import a record 9 GW, the state agencies recommended car chargers that need up to 8 hours to recharge a battery, instead of 30 minutes needed by the quick chargers.

 

“There could be a problem, if we’re not careful, in terms of peak capacity,” said Bruno Dobrowolski, in charge of the electric vehicle programme at ErDF, the electric distribution arm of state-owned utility EDF. “That’s why smart charging is necessary.”

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  • jeffk

    This is crazy to think about. I never thought of the power grid being able to sustain an increase in electric cars. It would be nice to be able to not have to worry about any gas cars and all of its interesting car parts but that would only cause another issue that you talk about in this article.