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Smart Grids and Electric Vehicles: Made for Each Other?

Electric vehicles are a potentially significant route towards low-carbon transport but widespread adoption of e-mobility will lead to greater consumption of electricity. Existing electricity systems will need to be reconfigured to meet these needs if reliance on fossil fuels is not to increase. In a paper looking at the potential of Smart Grids and electric vehicles to change and improve electricity systems worldwide, the International Transport Forum found that:

  • Smart Grid technologies make it possible for electric vehicles to proliferate without overloading the electric supply industry and at the same time electric vehicles are driving investment in Smart Grid technologies; 
  • Electric vehicles may be useful for matching intermittent solar and wind power supplies to demand, soaking up excess off-peak power supply and feeding power back into the grid when needed; 
  • Electric cars may be attractive to some home-owners for their capacity to produce some back-up supply in case of power-cuts; 
  • Governments need to change the regulation of electricity prices to encourage the uptake of Smart Grid technologies and the use of cars for supplying power to the grid.