Electric cars: here is the government’s plan to charge in winter

Electric cars: here is the government's plan to charge in winter

The French government held a press conference on Wednesday, September 14, to announce the measures to spend the winter without power cuts, or almost. According to the RTE report, certain measures refer to the electric car.

This winter will be tense in Europe, and more particularly in France. In fact, between the Ukraine war raising fears of gas shortages and the half-closed French nuclear power plants, energy could run out this winter. That is why the government held a press conference on Wednesday, September 14, listing the measures to be taken to avoid suffering power and gas cuts this winter.

Of course, there was talk of the electric car. Whether during the press conference, but also in the report of RTE (the subsidiary of EDF that manages the electricity network). Some media have warned of the risk of power outages at charging stations. But it’s not that simple.

In fact, as the government has pointed out, no coercive measures will be taken to force users to reduce their electricity consumption. In other words, it will be impossible to ban electric car charging in France. However, as RTE points out, charging electric cars can contribute to maximum consumption which should be reduced as much as possible in case of power supply limitation. It is this consumption peak that can cause outages by neighborhoods (rotating load shedding) in the worst case.

Individuals invited to recharge at night

Thus, RTE recommends that individuals move the charge of their electric car as far as possible outside morning (8 am to 1 pm) and evening (6 pm to 8 pm) hours. With this measure, RTE announces a drop in instant consumption of around 0.1 GW between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. This is in case ” of the more than 700,000 electric vehicles in the French fleet in 2021, if 100,000 electric vehicles switched from natural charging to off-peak charging”.

tesla charging 2

By way of comparison, if all French people reduced their heating temperature by one degree on average, the drop in peak consumption would be about 0.7 GW in the morning and 0.8 GW at night.

Professionals could cut off access to their terminals

For professionals, and in particular office buildings, RTE has also proposed a solution. The idea here would be restrict the use of public terminalsinstalled in the parking lot of a commercial building,“for emergency use between 8 am and 1 pm and between 6 pm and 8 pm”.

Of course, this is not a mandatory measure, but rather an idea presented to those responsible for these charging points. Enough to reduce consumption by 0.1 GW between 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

Does the electric car make sense?

During the press conference, a journalist asked the government if it was consistent to push the French to buy an electric car with a constrained electrical system. The answer was very clear, since Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister for the Energy Transition, recalled that the electric car was the The best way to decarbonize the transport sector.. Before remembering that the use of the individual car was carried out mainly in the periods of greatest consumption (therefore, without consequences on the electricity network), while recharging is carried out more at night, outside the periods of greatest consumption.

The Minister also specifies that some operators of fast charging stations for electric cars have storage batteries at the charging sites. These allow you to contribute your energy during the recharging sessions, to reduce the instantaneous demand for energy in the electrical network. They then recharge, either off-peak or during peak periods, but with less power if needed.

Nissan Leaf V2G
Nissan Leaf V2G

Finally, the Minister even mentioned the V2G (vehicle-to-grid) function that allows electric cars plugged into a socket to send the energy stored in their battery back to the grid. We recently saw this with the Nissan Leaf, which allows EDF to supply electricity when the grid needs it. At the moment, this function is very little deployed, but it is the one that will allow electric cars to have a low impact on the electricity grid, such as the virtual power plants of Tesla and Nio.

Electric cars and the low impact on the network

As a reminder, RTE predicts that the development of electric transport (cars, public transport and trucks) between now and 2035 will increase the total electricity consumption in France by between 8 and 10% maximum. It is not, therefore, a matter of concern, since the network will be able to absorb this additional consumption very well, either through its expansion (new plants) but also through sobriety and energy savings in other uses (insulation, more efficient heating, etc.). ).

But be careful, because RTE foresees, in certain extreme cases, voltage drops and rotating load shedding (electricity cuts by districts) that could affect the recharging of private electric cars.

In California, where a heat wave is currently raging, it is currently not recommended to charge electric vehicles between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., in order to decongest the electrical network of this American state.

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