According to the research, IDC Energy Insights forecasts that PEVs will become commercially available in 2011, and by 2015 there will be more than 2.7 million PEVs plugged into the global grid, with 885,000 PEVs in North America and more than 780,000 PEVs in Europe.
Unfortunately, these vehicles will cause havoc on the distribution grid if they start appearing without any preparation by grid managers. The utilities that prepare today for this new reality will be the ones that will win in the long term.
“PEVs represent a significant revenue opportunity for electric utilities”
The report, The Coming Electric Vehicle Rollout Part 2: Challenges and Opportunities for Electric Utilities, provides an overview of the challenges utilities will face, citing the likely requirement of significant upgrades in distribution equipment, from the addition of separate metering apparatus to the installation of advanced transformers that can handle the increased load on a particular line.
Utilities will also need to address the creation of novel rate structures that allow the utility to control how and when the electric vehicles are charged.
"PEVs are coming," says IDC Energy Insights Research Manager Sam Jaffe. "Despite many doubters, this oft-promised technology is finally on the verge of becoming a reality, with more than 540,000 vehicles to be sold globally by 2012. The electric utilities industry does not have the luxury of taking a wait-and-see approach to PEVs: it must begin to prepare for their arrival now."
These cars, or "mobile appliances" as the industry should think of them, also represent a significant new source of revenue and, if handled correctly, profit, as well as the chance to run the night-time generation queue more efficiently.
"PEVs represent a significant revenue opportunity for electric utilities," continues Mr. Jaffe. "But they also bring challenges such as the potential of transformer overload due to PEV clustering and excessive energy borrowing when cars roam outside of their utility region. It is best for utilities to prepare for these potential pitfalls today, instead of waiting for when the trickle of PEVs becomes a flood. We believe the utilities that prepare for this new reality will be the ones that win in the long term."
The companion report, Business Strategy: The Coming Electric Vehicle Rollout: Forecasting the Market, forecasts the size and timing of the PEV rollout in North America, Europe, Asia, and the rest of the world. Included are forecasts of electric vehicle sales from 2011-2015 and PEV penetration scenarios from 2015-2020. The report also provides an overview of soon-to-be-launched PEV models.