One of the biggest concerns about widespread deployment of plug-in vehicles is the effect it will have on electricity generation and distribution capacity. Here in the United States, most officials from utilities have been pretty upbeat and emphasize that there is plenty of capacity for charging vehicles as long as it is mostly done during off-peak hours.

The chief executive of Toronto Hydro, Anthony Haines, however, said recently that the grid can easily fail. Specifically, he told the Toronto Star, "If you connect about 10 percent of the homes on any given street with an electric car, the electricity system fails."

To combat this possibility, Toronto Hydro, Hydro One and the Ontario Power Authority have kicked in $7 million for the new Centre for Urban Energy at Ryerson University in Toronto. The new center will look at what it will take to bolster the grid and produce more power locally in urban areas where most of the plug-in vehicles will be used. Most of the current capacity is outside of the urban areas and there are bottlenecks in the grid to get it to where it is needed.

Current estimates are that around five percent of the vehicles in the province of Ontario will be electrified by the end of the decade. This gives the utilities time to make changes – but not that much.

[Source: Toronto Star]

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