GE, ConEd, Columbia U Team Up to Cut Electric Car Charging Costs
Optimistic government officials and automakers want to put millions of electric cars on American roads in the next decade. There are a lot of issues to be solved to make that happen (limited range, insufficient infrastructure, high costs, to name the big three), but if we ever get there, we’ll be faced with a new problem: How to ensure the country’s aging electrical grid can handle the added strain of charging millions of cars every day. We’ve got a while before that becomes a real issue, but it’s something electric companies and their suppliers are already thinking about.
It’s a complicated problem, which is why General Electric, teaming up with Con Edison and researchers Columbia University’s Center for Computational Learning, has picked out one element of the puzzle to address first: How to run EV chargers in New York City buildings without also running up a ginormous bill.
It turns out that in NYC, very large buildings, which often include parking garages and EV chargers, are billed on both their total energy usage and their peak usage, the maximum amount of power used in a 15-minute window during a month. The rationale here is that when a building requires a bunch of extra energy, even for just a few minutes a day, the power company has to deal with the cost of increasing its generating capacity to cover it.
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