Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Ontario: Smart Meters and Electric Cars...
With Ontario set to usher in new electricity rates that vary depending on the time of day, I'm puzzled as to what effect those new electric vehicles will have on off-hours usage when electric cars become widely used. Both Chrysler and GM have electric cars set to sell in 2010, as well as some of the import makers like Toyota and Honda. And word has it Magna owner Frank Stronach is seeking federal funds to begin building electric vehicles here.
But here is where I can foresee a major problem. The sole purpose of the smart meters is to get consumers to use electricity during non-peak hours. This isn't as much to do with being green as it is about governments letting our power grid deteriorate over the years, and being unable to supply enough power during peak periods, particularly in the summer months when everyone has the a/c running in the house.
The problem is the lowest price for KwH will be 11:00PM to 7:00Am. Consumers will be running washer/dryers, dishwashers, etc., during this time to take advantage of the cheaper rate. This will also be the time everyone with an electric car will be plugging it in and charging overnight. The vast charging needs of these vehicles will put a huge load on the system. These vehicles require a 6-8 hour charge to be fully powered.
So then what? Will the Ontario government hike the lowest rate (likely), increase the capacity of the grid (unlikely), or will 1000's of Ontarian's wake up late for work with the alarm clock flashing due to a brownout from those electric cars overloading the system (ding, ding, ding, we have a winner).