Globally, the use of Electric Vehicles (EV), a key component in the move to achieve overall sustainable urban mobility, is seeing strong growth and reaching record-breaking levels of sales. In anticipation of increasing challenges resulting from climate change and fossil fuel scarcity, utilities are faced with the challenges of decarbonizing electricity generation and meeting the growing energy demand. EVs can play a major role in providing energy-efficient and sustainable solutions for utilities, cities and countries. The Smart Grid, an electricity supply network that uses digital communications technology to detect and react to local changes in usage, is the foundation that will enable the adoption of EVs in the marketplace.
Charging Stations Powered by Smart Grid
The availability of charging stations throughout smart cities, including on the street, in off-street parking and garages, and in buildings, is a must for increasing adoption of EVs.
In cities throughout the United States, a number of entities are building charging stations. For now, many municipalities and private companies offer free recharges to EV owners as an incentive for using these clean vehicles. However, as EVs gain in popularity, these free recharges are likely to end, and charging station owners will be looking for a convenient way to charge EV owners.
Smart Grid technologies offer a potential solution to this problem, allowing EVs to identify themselves to the charging station when they are plugged in and the electricity used can be automatically billed to the owner’s account.
With a Smart Grid recharging infrastructure in place, EVs can also help reduce the strain on the Smart Grid, as EVs can both take power from the grid when they are charging, and give back power when demand is high. This is a concept called “vehicle to grid.” By drawing on a multitude of batteries plugged into the Smart Grid throughout its service territory, a utility can potentially inject extra power into the grid during critical peak times.
Gear Up for the Grid
The Internet of Things is a crucial component to impending Smart Grid technologies. New to the IoT? Start with IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things.
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Holland, Glesni. (1 April 2018). How sustainable tech is transforming Middle East utilities. Tehawul Tech.
What is the Smart Grid? SmartGrid.gov.