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Evolving EV Market and Charging Infrastructure Are Expected to Greatly Impact Utility Load Shapes

Electricity demand in the US and European Union has been flat or down for several years, threatening the traditional business utility model of greater demand driving higher revenue. However, projected growth in EV adoption and the electricity that EVs use represent a dramatic increase in the amount of power that utilities will likely sell to consumers, yet, intermittent charge times and geographic clustering could exacerbate peak demand issues and threaten transformers.

According to a new report, the evolving EV market, charging infrastructure, and charge times are expected to have a significant impact on utility load shapes.

“As utilities determine investment strategies and how to incorporate a step-change in demand, they will need to consider a range of strategies including price signals and vehicle-to-grid integration,” says Scott Shepard, senior research analyst with Guidehouse Insights. “These tools can help utilities and regulators nudge EV charging behavior to minimize disruptive grid impacts, lower consumer costs, and reduce carbon emissions.”

To position for success as the EV market evolves, Guidehouse Insights recommends utilities and regulators consider shifting electricity customers to time-of-use (TOU) rates. Utilities should work with fleets and firms to foster workplace charging, partner with charging companies to run vehicle-to-grid pilots, and collaborate with automakers to reduce friction for smart charging.

The report, Optimizing EV Load Profiles to Benefit the Grid, explores the maturing EV and charging markets, the move from EV grid impacts from theoretical to practical, and potential utility benefits, including demand response, energy storage, and managed charging. The report also explores this question: how are EVs and renewables exacerbating load shape peaks and troughs? Recommendations for utilities and other stakeholders are provided along with instruments in utility and regulator toolbelts that could help shift EV load.

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