The Calgary electricity supplier expects a massive increase in the number of electric vehicles on city streets over the next few years and has launched a pilot project to start tracking charging trends.
Jana Mosley, president of ENMAX Power, says there are currently around 3,000 electric vehicles (EVs) in the city, but that number could reach 200,000 by 2035, and now is the time to start formulating an approach.
“We really see this, at this point, as an opportunity as we move forward towards our goals of achieving net zero and moving towards a cleaner energy future,” Mosley said. “But there’s no doubt that we’re going to see our system taxed more if we see EVs plugging in and charging, say in the same localized area. And this research and some of our other studies on uptake. electric vehicles help educate ‘how do we stay ahead of the game?’
Charge Up, ENMAX’s smart electric vehicle charging pilot, is looking for 250 electric vehicle owners to participate in the one-year study.
“I think we’ll need to upgrade the infrastructure, especially the local transformers, part of the conductor in some homes, depending on what kind of chargers people decide to install. But our job is to figure out how to maximize the network that is in place today, and minimize those investments where possible. “
According to Mosley, preliminary data indicates that electric vehicle charging patterns are compatible with the conventional end of the workday.
“We find that they tend to do this at 5 p.m., when our system is already at its peak based on everyone coming home and turning on the lights, appliances and TVs as they start. to cook dinner, ”Mosley said. “What we want to do in this second phase of our pilot is see if we can monitor these charging behaviors as they move around town, and understand what motivates people to charge – how, when. , how long – and then work with clients to see if we can influence that behavior to have them bill at a different time of day, so that we don’t bill at the peak of the system and therefore can avoid additional investments in some of these neighborhood infrastructures. ”
Blake Shaffer, an economist and researcher who also owns a Tesla, is encouraged by ENMAX’s proactive approach as it also predicts a boon in the prevalence of electric vehicles in Alberta after an initial period of apprehension.
“We know it’s going to be huge,” Shaffer said. “Alberta will undoubtedly lag behind most other regions of the world. Our gasoline is cheap here, maybe people aren’t as excited about EVs as other parts of the world. “
He cites Germany as an example of a country that has embraced electric vehicles and the savings of an efficient electric motor that costs nearly a fifth of the amount for “fuel,” despite their known love for “diesel cars.” powerful and muscular ”.
“Electric vehicles accounted for around three percent of new sales (in Germany) two years ago. Last month they were 30 percent. Growth is therefore really accelerating. Alberta will probably be behind that curve, but I have no doubts about my remembering that this is where we are heading for transportation. “
Shaffer believes that getting EV owners to charge during times of declining grid demand is the best way forward.
“Either we’re going to build the network to support that, and that will come at a cost, or we can do smart things like encourage people to charge during off-peak hours or at different times, or coordinated charging, where we We can use the distribution network we have quite a lot if we just use it smarter. “
Mosley says program participants will be compensated.
“There is a financial incentive to enroll in the program, a $ 20 enrollment reward, and there is a thank you gift at the end of the program. And then for some people participating in the program, depending on the charging behavior, there will be other incentives will be offered throughout the program. The program will start here this week, and we expect it to run for a year. So, at the end of December 2022, we will close it. “
For more details on the program, including app information, visit ENMAX Charge Up.
With files from CTV’s Kevin Green