Quantifying the Grid Impacts from Large Adoption of Electric Vehicles in China
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The widespread adoption of plug-in electric vehicles (PEV) can bring about air quality and climate change benefits. However, the concurrent, unmanaged charging of PEVs will result in surges in power loads and strain power generation, transmissions, and distribution, leading to costly public investments on grid expansions. The study adopts a quantitative model to quantify the impact that unmanaged PEV charging will have on the grid system and to what extent this impact can be minimized by vehicle-grid integration measures. Results based on this model in Beijing and Suzhou reveal that on the city level, the impact of PEVs on the grid could lead to costly investments on expansion of generation and transmission capacities. On the distribution scale, the impact of unmanaged charging is even more urgent. When electrification of private vehicles exceeds 50%, the majority of transformers in residential neighborhoods in the two cities risk being overloaded. Furthermore, the results show that VGI measures such as managed charging and vehicle discharging to grid (vehicle-to-grid, V2G) can effectively eliminate the needs for distribution capacity expansion.