Charge! Texans are Poised to Reap Benefits of Electric Vehicles
Electric Vehicles are Leveraging Smart Grid Technologies and Consumers are Poised to Reap the Benefits
Okay. After spending the past year highlighting the financial benefits of using less electricity, encouraging Texans to plug in their cars may seem counter to our energy reduction mission. However, our goal is to get people to change the way they think about energy use and to throw convention out the window in order to reap significant financial and environmental rewards.
While electric vehicles may sound a little space age-ish…electric transportation has been around for decades. Electric powered cars and trains were the wave of the future back in the day – with the goal of creating a better alternative to the hand cranked gas guzzlers of the time. And, while gas powered cars evolved as the lead mode of transportation, car companies and electric providers are currently leveraging the advantages of smart grid technologies to bring EVs back in vogue.
Texas’ Electric Vehicle Leadership
Texas continues to be a leader in developing advanced solutions to address our energy demands – and EVs are a significant part of the equation. As recent headlines show, to support the roll out and acceptance of these vehicles, car companies are working with Texas utilities to make sure the necessary infrastructure and grid capability are ready for mass use. Just some of the EV facts and figures:
- New battery technologies promise a driving range of 100 miles or more.
- Nissan says its battery-power 2011 Leaf, due in December, should cost about $400 to run as far as you’d go on $1,800 worth of $3-per-gallon gas.
- At-home refueling can take a few hours, but charging at most public stations will take about 15 minutes.
- Electric cars have been called the killer application for the smart grid because they are able to both consume and provide energy like no other device can and can really change storage…”It’s an arrangement that could save utilities money, reduce pollution, and potentially save consumers money.”
- EVs are raising the bar for technology in cars. For example, the Chevy Volt’s new On-Star application for smart-phones lets drivers control various aspects of the car, including: charge mode and charge status, lock/unlock, remote start, and remote climate control (heat up your car before you get there).
- Ford has developed an intelligent vehicle-to-grid (V2G) communications and control system that talks to the grid and allows the vehicle owner to program when to charge, for how long and at what utility rate.
- An NRG executive recently highlighted the “beneficial electrification” opportunity’s of EVs:
A Texas home that increases electricity consumption by 20% (about 3,000 KWh per year) to fuel an electric vehicle for 12,000 miles produces a valuable societal result for the environment, the economy, the grid, and the customer, including:
- 2007 study found that using a plug-in electric car charged from electricity generated from a coal plant would result in CO2 emissions that are 25% lower than a conventional gasoline vehicle
- Reduction of the $300B+ U.S. oil import trade deficit
- Less expensive to operate – as low as 2.5 cents per mile instead of 10 cents per mile for an internal combustion vehicle
- Demand comes at night where there is existing renewable and under-utilized generation to serve these incremental EV kilowatt hours
- Click here for a glossary of EV terms.
Electric Vehicles in the Headlines
The Age of the Electric Car is Here
By the end of the year there will be 3-4 EVs in dealer showrooms. These cars have almost no emissions…and they’re real cars you can live with-all the usual features (plus some cool ones!)
Ford on a mission to make Texas an EV leader – Partnerships include Oncor and CenterPoint
Texas is the best place in the world for plug-in electric cars… Preparations now will help curb drivers’ emissions, improving air quality, and will reduce the need for power plants to charge these vehicles.
NRG plans flat-rate deal for unlimited charges for electric cars
Monthly rate will include leasing and installing a home refueling station, charging at stations around town and emergency charging, in case a driver runs out of juice.
TXU Energy to Install Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Dallas and Fort Worth
‘Filling up’ an electric vehicle should be cheaper than gasoline – comparable to paying about 75 cents/gallon of gasoline.
USA Today Review: 2011 Nissan Leaf electric car is a treat to drive
Our favorite gee-whiz feature was “driving range.” Nervous about how far you can go? Push a button and a circle appears on the navi map screen. You can drive straight to anywhere in the circle on the remaining juice.