You might have heard a lot about electric cars this year, especially with the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf hitting the market. But how much of a benefit to the environment are EVs? After all, isn’t most electricity from fossil fuels?
Fortunately, eco-friendly charging of electric vehicles is possible and practicable! The U.S. is actually lagging behind other countries when it comes to plug-in vehicles, as well as the power that will drive them. In fact, the very design of EVs lends itself well to reliance on renewable energy and a smart grid. As Dominick Noeren of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE notes, a change from a “push” to a “pull” system on our energy grid is what is required, and that “electric cars are best equipped to meet this challenge.” This is because electric cars are parked up to 20 of 24 hours in a day, which allows ample recharging time over hours during which electricity demand is lower than average.
The new smart charging station designed by Fraunhofer directs consumers as to the ideal time to recharge EVs when system load is low and the share of energy from renewable sources is highest. This allows load peaks to be avoided, while the draws on solar and/or wind power is greatest. Noeren states:
“For us, it is important that end consumers are completely free to decide when they want to recharge. We do not want them to suffer any disadvantages from the controlled recharging of their vehicles’ batteries.”
Eco-friendly charging of electric vehicles is possible when you plug into a smart charging station. You can choose between charging right away, or waiting for a less peak time for recharging. The charging station takes care of everything from calculating the cost and controlling the recharging process.
We’re just helping to minimize the potential reasons you might be thinking an EV is impractical. Truth be told, its actually much more reasonable (and cheaper) than looking around for a gas station and comparing prices around town…. Don’t you think?