Electric Vehicles and the Smart Grid, Part 1

The electric vehicle is not a new idea with 1830 marking the beginning of the invention; even Henry Ford was tinkering with electric powered cars. From competitions such as the Great Electric Car Race in 1968 to the EV1 in 1990, the electric vehicle has seen many iterations and improvements over the years. After giving a brief history of EVs, Stogner introduces a number of fundamental terms for the EV industry such as state of charge, depth of discharge, capacity, energy, specific energy and specific power.

Next, Stogner goes on to explain the benefits of EVs or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). EVs and PHEVs are more efficient with lower fuel costs and emissions. Also, they have a simpler transmission with fewer moving parts. EVs and PHEVs give the consumer a fuel choice and independence from oil/energy. Overall, emissions are improved because it is easier to control at a few large locations than millions of tailpipes. And as the power infrastructure transforms into the smart grid, vehicle to grid (V2G) technology will increase and have more impacts. It will create communication between utilities and vehicles, integrate more renewables and allow for used EV batteries to become stationary batteries for utilities. Also, with so much focus on energy efficiency, reducing electricity sales and expensive renewable energy generation mandates, EVs could be a welcome new segment for utilities.

Stogner also shares some persuasive numbers for electric vehicle benefits. For a gas vehicle, 13% of the energy purchased gets to the vehicle, while electric vehicles get 23% of the energy purchased. Conventional cars cost about 8 cents/mile, while a battery sees 3.3 cents/mile. Now with all these positive findings, you might wonder why there are so few electric cars on the roads. Stogner wraps up the discussion with some of the challenges electric vehicles are facing. Currently, gasoline is almost the perfect fuel; it is easy to produce and can be packaged and handled safely. Batteries must compete in handling and cost, if we want to see widespread adoption. Other challenges the EV market is facing include: limited range, large battery weight/size, long charge times, high initial cost, battery life, consumer acceptance, and grid integration. Engineers are working hard to improve batteries; companies are creating ways to make EVs more affordable by selling the car, but leasing the battery; however, consumer behaviors need to change to accept limited range and adopt optimal driving and charging routines.

Academia, industry, professional societies, and think tanks are joining together to move this industry forward. Stogner ends his presentation with a call to get involved in one of the many IEEE groups such as IEEE Transportation Electrification Initiative, IEEE Power and Energy Society and IEEE Smart Grid, promoting the future of transportation in electrification.


Become a Presenter

If you'd like to be a presenter, please fill out this form.