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Can the French Power Grid Handle All the Electric Vehicles?

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Power Grid Substation in France - Can it Meet the Demand of Electric Vehicles?
Power Grid Substation in France – Can it Meet the Demand of Electric Vehicles?

Since electric vehicles don’t fill up at a pump but instead at an outlet, concerns over power grid stability are rising in France.

Renault has launched the ZOE electric vehicle in France just recently. While it isn’t the first electric vehicle in France, its more reasonable price could make it much more appealing to the general public. Market analysts estimate that by 2020 there could be as many as two million electric vehicles in France and that total electricity consumption might increase by up to 3%.

This may not seem like a big increase, but 3% doesn’t speak for the exact hour when electric vehicles would be charging. If two million electric vehicles find their way home after rush hour and plug in, France’s aging power grid could possibly fail. The power grid in France is already at the edge of failure, experiencing higher-than-usual electricity demand, especially in the winter [read: electric heating].

Adding electric vehicles to the mix and it could be a recipe for disaster. All is not lost though, and smart charging systems could make it easier to charge electric vehicles when peak demand is lowest. Since electric vehicle chargers are getting faster, charging overnight really isn’t necessary. Instead, a smart charger could automatically charge the vehicle during the early morning hours when demand is lowest. Some vehicles already have such technology installed and charging can be controlled and monitored via smartphone app.

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