As EV sales continue to skyrocket across the nation, the threat of cities and towns experiencing local energy crises increases too. Our nation’s local electrical utilities in their current state cannot keep up.
The main factor causing this issue is EV charging at home. As high-power home charging grows in popularity, many EV owners are installing Level 2 (240-volt) chargers, which charge six times faster than a standard 120Vac outlet. The hiccup is the average home has a 200-amp electrical panel and your city’s electric utility expects you to use no more than 20% of your home’s total power (48kVA) at a continuous rate, except for running air conditioning units, washing machines, electric stoves, or hot tubs, which are large energy consuming systems.
Now add EV charging. One single EV typically takes up to 50amps of power (that’s 1/4 to 1/2 of a house’s total available power) and is a much longer continuous peak draw, because EV charging runs constantly for an average of four to six hours. All said, home charging puts a heavy strain on your home and local utility transformer.
When multiple households in a neighborhood charge their EVs at the same time (typically in the evening or overnight), this can potentially overload the local power grid, which requires expensive upgrades of neighborhood electrical systems to prevent. Charging at night also causes a surge of power usage for the utility which increases the demand of non-renewable sources of energy, creating the need for “peaker” plants to come online (known as the duck curve).
These plants are the most expensive and highest polluting power systems to run, which, for many EV drivers, negates why they switched to an EV in the first place. Local electric utilities are working tirelessly to prepare for this level of power use in their current infrastructures, but it will cost billions in heavily time-consuming upgrades to accommodate the rapidly growing numbers of EVs.
There is also another hurdle for EV owners to consider. As legislation is pushing for certain high-energy-consuming appliances (stoves, water heaters, dryers) to be fully electric, this will in-turn further increase the energy demand, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
EV owners need a more practical solution, and that solution is home energy storage systems. Home energy storage is an innovative technology that will allow EV owners to transform how they charge their cars and power their homes. By integrating energy storage with the existing grid infrastructure, utilities can also better manage resources and reduce the grid strain caused by EV charging.
The bonus is these systems can also reduce electricity costs by allowing EV owners to charge their vehicles at any time, including on-peak hours when electricity rates are higher. A study by the Rocky Mountain Institute found that deploying energy storage systems in homes could save consumers up to 49% on their electricity bills. Home energy storage systems can also supply backup power during blackouts or other grid disruptions, ensuring a consistent supply of electricity for the home.
Innovative community-based energy storage systems can also serve entire neighborhoods to supply efficient energy management and distribution for multiple homes through one system. By pooling this resource, shared storage systems slash the costs of implementing energy storage technologies, making them accessible to more households and foster a more resilient grid to support a sustainable future.
Nxu, Inc., a sustainable energy solutions company in Mesa, Arizona, is developing this advanced battery technology to revolutionize the energy storage landscape and help mitigate the strain on the grid from EV charging and more.
The Nxu energy storage system stores excess energy that is generated during off-peak hours and discharges it during peak demand periods, stabilizing the grid and reducing the need for costly infrastructure upgrades.
As the electric transportation landscape continues to evolve, the need for grid modernization and innovative solutions such as Nxu's energy storage systems becomes increasingly urgent. Utilities, policymakers, and consumers must collaborate to develop strategies that ensure sustainable EV growth.
By investing in energy storage systems, smart charging technologies, and renewable energy sources, we can ensure a smooth transition for electric transportation and a cleaner, more resilient future for all.