Plug-In Hybrids Could Require 160 New Power Plants By 2030 (Or None At All)

  • Published on March 14th, 2008 by
 

Prius, PHEV, EV, plug-in, electricity, hybrid

Plug-in Hybrids (PHEVs) have taken some undeserved heat lately, with the recent hullabaloo over their potential to drain U.S. water supplies. But as some readers pointed out, it all depends when you charge them.

This week’s report from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which evaluated the impact of a substantial increase in PHEV ownership, found that nighttime charging of PHEV’s would not increase electricity demand over baseline levels. In other words, no (or very few) new power plants would need to be constructed if plug-in owners only charged their vehicles at night.





While nighttime charging makes sense, since it can be incentivized by power companies and prices are cheapest after 10 p.m. anyway, there’s no guarantee that the average car owner will wait until then to charge up. The worst case scenario, in which all PHEV owners charged their vehicles at 5pm, could require the construction of up to 160 new power plants.

Obviously, vehicle charging will take place at different times during the day, but it may be important (even vital) that new plug-ins be charged during nighttime hours. Study authors estimated the impact on electricity generation would be greatest by 2030, when PHEVs have become well-established in the U.S. market.

See the press release here.

See the study here.

Related Posts:

100 MPG+ Plug-In Hybrids Already Available (Check ‘em Out)

Could Hybrid Vehicles Hinder Development of More Sustainable Alternatives?

Plug-In Hybrids Use Over 17 Times More Water Than Regular Cars, Researchers Say

[Via] and Photo Credit





About the Author

In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.

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  • Uncle B

    Spain supplies an entire city with solar electricity from a desert region right now. We overlook the vast solar electric/heat potential of desert regions that have up to 95% sunlight daily, just when we need it- in the daytime! We should plant foodstuff in the shade provided by the solar collectors and pump water using some of the solar energy to feed the inevitable cities that will crop up in search of cheaper electricity and heat that a desert solar heat/electric farm would cause. I for one, want to be a pioneer in this new American frontier!

  • Uncle B

    Spain supplies an entire city with solar electricity from a desert region right now. We overlook the vast solar electric/heat potential of desert regions that have up to 95% sunlight daily, just when we need it- in the daytime! We should plant foodstuff in the shade provided by the solar collectors and pump water using some of the solar energy to feed the inevitable cities that will crop up in search of cheaper electricity and heat that a desert solar heat/electric farm would cause. I for one, want to be a pioneer in this new American frontier!

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  • gennette

    A simple solution: equip all plug-in cars with a timer so that they don’t start drawing power until after 10pm, no matter when you plug it in. Of course, there would have to be a way to override this, but it should be something that’s a bit of a pain to change so people would only do it if it was absolutely necessary. Problem. Solved. *bushes hands off*

  • gennette

    A simple solution: equip all plug-in cars with a timer so that they don’t start drawing power until after 10pm, no matter when you plug it in. Of course, there would have to be a way to override this, but it should be something that’s a bit of a pain to change so people would only do it if it was absolutely necessary. Problem. Solved. *bushes hands off*

  • Kenneth Nelan

    Look, it takes me on average 10 minutes to drive to work. It’s mostly city streets, but that shouldn’t be a problem for an electric car that can go 110 miles on a single charge.

    Now, let’s just say I happen to have solar panel on the top of this vehicle. Let’s say it’s nicely incorporated into the roof and sealed properly so it won’t rain inside the car, and delivers a nice trickle charge of 12 volts and who knows about the amps.

    Now let’s say the same car is sitting in the sun in the parking lot for a full 6 hours.

    Um??? DUH?????? Seems like a no-brainer to me. I’ve not had to plug in anywhere and the car is now ready for the next jaunt to the store, mall, movie theater, etc… Going down the road it’ll still produce an insignificant amount of energy, but every drop helps right? Improve the efficiency of solar panels and we may have a real solution here.

    If all I do is drive home then it’ll still have a charge in the morning for me to go back to work, or the store or where ever, and it’ll charge in the parking lot while I’m shopping or working and be ready again for me to go wherever after I’m done.

    If nothing else, it’ll help reduce occurrences of stranded drivers due to no charging facility. All they’d have to do is wait a couple hours to get a partial charge which should get them to the nearest plug in spot.

    It’s something to think about if nothing else. I’m not saying it’s the solution, but I honestly think it could help.

  • Kenneth Nelan

    Look, it takes me on average 10 minutes to drive to work. It’s mostly city streets, but that shouldn’t be a problem for an electric car that can go 110 miles on a single charge.

    Now, let’s just say I happen to have solar panel on the top of this vehicle. Let’s say it’s nicely incorporated into the roof and sealed properly so it won’t rain inside the car, and delivers a nice trickle charge of 12 volts and who knows about the amps.

    Now let’s say the same car is sitting in the sun in the parking lot for a full 6 hours.

    Um??? DUH?????? Seems like a no-brainer to me. I’ve not had to plug in anywhere and the car is now ready for the next jaunt to the store, mall, movie theater, etc… Going down the road it’ll still produce an insignificant amount of energy, but every drop helps right? Improve the efficiency of solar panels and we may have a real solution here.

    If all I do is drive home then it’ll still have a charge in the morning for me to go back to work, or the store or where ever, and it’ll charge in the parking lot while I’m shopping or working and be ready again for me to go wherever after I’m done.

    If nothing else, it’ll help reduce occurrences of stranded drivers due to no charging facility. All they’d have to do is wait a couple hours to get a partial charge which should get them to the nearest plug in spot.

    It’s something to think about if nothing else. I’m not saying it’s the solution, but I honestly think it could help.

  • Lauren@GreenGlobalTrvl

    Considering a great deal of plug in cars would need to be charged more or so than a regular car needs gasoline, this could potentially become a problem for the power plants. Considering the car in question is a hybrid, maybe they would not necessarily need to plug in to charge as often as a purely electric car would have. Thanks for sharing the information and standing by the idea of hybrid cars and a greener future.