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Growth in electric vehicle sales will not strain the power grid, says McKinsey

The growing popularity and sales of electric vehicle will not strain the power grid, according to an analysis by McKinsey, one of the world’s leading management consultancies. 

McKinsey says its analysis suggests “the projected growth in e-mobility will not drive substantial increases in total electrical-grid power demand in the near- to mid-term, limiting the need for new electricity-generation capacity during that period”.

The authors of the report used Germany as an example and found that electric vehicle sales may grow to the extent that five extra gigawatts of power will be required, but that is only 1 percent of total supply. 

The analysts expect an in peak load of “approximately 1 percent by 2030 and about 5 percent by 2050 – increases that the system can likely absorb”.

They do, however, say that the distribution of the cars is likely to be uneven across the country, so some local power grids may see significant increases in demand.

“Geospatial-analytics forecast of zip-code-level EV penetration shows suburban areas will likely become early EV-adoption hot spots,” say the authors.

To address any increase in demand, McKinsey suggests energy providers use several methods.

“They can influence charging behavior: for example, time-of-use electricity tariffs can give incentive to EV owners to charge after midnight instead of in the early evening.

“Analysis shows this could halve the increase in peak load.”

The analysis also looks at battery technology for electric vehicles, which is developing and changing very fast.

McKinsey says: “The cost of batteries continues to decline rapidly, using energy storage to smooth load profiles will become increasingly attractive.

“Other applications include public fast chargers, depot chargers for electric buses and trucks, and residential settings where more EV owners combine rooftop solar panels and home storage.”