Distributed Generation - September 13, 2019
Clean charging exponentially optimizes EV efficiency
Emissions-optimized charging for electric vehicles might improve even further their positive environmental impact, according to a report released by environmental tech nonprofit WattTime on September 10.
The report concluded that charging EVs through a clean electric system can further reduce the associated emissions by nearly 20% annually and up to 90% on individuals days.
The analysis estimated aggregate environmental benefit based on 2030 adoption rates for EVs and considered the grid emissions associated with EV charging. It compared emissions-optimized charging against baseline EV charging within four U.S. grids of varying degrees of transition from fossil fuels to renewable, including grids in California, New York, the Midwest, and the Southwest.
The study conducted on EV charging used real-time marginal emissions data, as opposed to annualized average emissions numbers. The Automated Emissions Reduction software used analyzes past, present, and predictive grid data—combined with sophisticated algorithms and machine learning—to allow any internet-connected smart device to optimize its energy use in order to reduce CO₂ or other pollutants.
WattTime also argued in their findings that in addition to helping decarbonize the transportation sector, emissions-optimized charging can aid renewable energy grid integration, reduce curtailment of surplus wind and solar, and has the potential to decrease pollution regionally on air quality alert days.
“Our research shows that—without ever having to touch the electric powertrain’s efficiency—this smarter method of charging essentially gives an instant ‘MPGe boost’ to EVs,” Christy Lewis, WattTime analyst and lead author of the report, said in a statement. “There’s a lot of talk about how EVs can act as a grid asset… for once, there is an ‘eco easy-button’ that EVs can use to automatically reduce emissions at scale.”
The report concluded that smarter charging would have a significant impact. It suggests that if applied to the New York target of deploying 2 million EVs by 2030, smarter charging would result in the equivalent removal of almost 48,000 gasoline-burning cars.