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N1 Opportunity assessment: electric vehicles and the grid - final report 2021

Electricity grid Electric vehicles Regulatory impact analysis Electric vehicle charging stations Urban planning Australia

The Reliable Affordable Clean Energy for 2030 Cooperative Research Centre (RACE for 2030 CRC) is a 10-year, $350 million Australian research collaboration involving industry, research, government, and other stakeholders. Its mission is to drive innovation for a secure, affordable, clean energy future.

Executive Summary

Uptake of Electric Vehicles (EVs) will very likely accelerate over the coming years, with upper end projections of share of new sales of all vehicles in 2030 in Australia approaching 80%, implying a fleet share of around 20-25%. This would lead to an additional load on the electricity grid of 20 GWh per day. If this additional load was spread evenly over the day, it represents a modest increase in demand of 3 to 4%. However, if all EVs were to be plugged in during the evening peak, when most people return home, with each drawing 7kW, the instantaneous load could be over 30 GW, virtually doubling peak electricity demand. Clearly this would be very expensive to accommodate. For this reason, ways to ensure EVs are charged in ways that not only avoid significant detrimental impacts on the grid but can in fact improve the performance of the grid are vital.

This report has been compiled with the expertise of multiple experts across a broad range of disciplines relating to EVs, including vehicle and charging infrastructure, distribution and transmission networks, as well as social science areas of human interactions with technology and urban planning and design. The project assembled an industry reference group representing a wide cross section of stakeholders who provided their expert opinions of the key areas of research required to overcome a long list of potential barriers to successful integration of EVs into the grid and compiled a roadmap of research opportunities to address those barriers.

The key areas of targeted research identified are:

  • data collection to better understand current trends and behaviours,
  • business model design (including tariff structures) to incentive beneficial charging patterns,
  • better understanding of consumer behaviour in relation to EV changing,
  • impacts of EV adoption on mobility and urban design, and
  • design of standards and protocols for EV charging equipment and communication devices between EVs, chargers and distribution networks, retailers or other third parties.

This report provides a comprehensive literature review which sets the basis for a detailed barrier analysis. The review is reported in the following four areas:

  1. Techno-economic assessment of market and technology trends/practices
  2. EV grid impact assessments, policy, regulatory framework, and standardisation
  3. Urban design and distributed grid management
  4. Social science research for EVs

The output of an industry reference group workshop led to the creation of a list of opportunities that were then collated into the research roadmap.

The main body of the report contains the essential information that leads to the research roadmap. The literature review provides the links to the state-of-the-art research, and the appendices contain the output from the workshops.

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