As prices for electric vehicles (EVs) come down and the number of public charging stations goes up, it seems that the electric car’s moment may have finally arrived.
But according to Xiaoyu Wang, associate professor in the Department of Electronics, there’s one more piece in the puzzle: transforming the power grid so that it can accommodate the increased demand.
“User data shows that most EV owners charge their car at home overnight,” says Wang, who has expertise in the integration of small energy resources, such as wind and solar, into the power grid.
“Right now, if 10 to 15 households in the average urban neighbourhood each tried to charge their cars when they arrived home from work, the neighbourhood transformer wouldn’t be able to handle it on top of regular electricity use. Increasing the transformer size is an expensive option. Another solution is to create a smart tool that can determine an optimal charging schedule for each household.”
Wang is hoping that the award will attract more researchers to his team so that he can build on a current partnership with Hydro Ottawa with an eye to developing commercial products for predicting, analyzing and managing EV usage impacts for widespread use.
“There is a lot of interest in this work from industry, and as EV technology increases across the United States, China and other countries, we have a great opportunity to become a leader in energy management for Ontario and Canada.”