Electric Mobility – Impact of future electric mobility on the Austrian electricity industry

The following study investigates the possible impact of future electric mobility on the Austrian electricity industry. The first chapter describes the state-of-the-art and possible developments in energy storage technologies for electric mobility. It turns out that the currently available batteries, both economically and technologically, are the main obstacle to a successful market for electric vehicles. Nevertheless, ongoing research and development shows that lithium-based batteries have the potential to reach a higher range while keeping investment costs low in the future. The critical questions regarding the construction of charging infrastructure will be demonstrated regarding the challenge for the distribution system operator. Thereby, relevant factors will be considered for future business decisions.

Factors such as the installation site, geographic distribution of the charging infrastructure and connected load, standardization regarding the charging cable, plug and communication possibilities, and requirements on the safety of the charging station and possible system feedback due to the battery charger converter. In the initial stage of electric mobility in particular, the construction of the charging infrastructure is a critical factor, because it is important that the advantage to electric vehicles of low energy costs is not diminished due to cost intensive charging infrastructure. The same applies to the billing systems at public charging stations. This study will compare different billing systems with each other by investigating the applicability of the logistics and resulting cost structures to electric mobility.

In order to estimate the impact on the electricity system, a simulation model was developed, which allows, considering different market penetration rates from electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles, to calculate the additional hourly electricity demand. The additional need of electrical energy by electric mobility remains in the tested scenarios within single-digit percentage ranges. However, it shows that it is necessary to avoid the load influence at an increase at the load peaks. Furthermore, CO2-emission savings for different possibilities of generating electricity will be shown, considering savings in the field of conventional motors. The scenario with “realistic growth” with around 110,000 electric- and plug-in-hybrid vehicles in 2020 results in an annual power consumption of 0,2% (about 121 GWh). This means that in case of increasing demand in the charging rate by renewable energy sources, there will be a saving potential of about 200,000 t carbon dioxide in 2020. The maximum scenario shows that with 20% electric – and plug-in-hybrid vehicles in the year 2020 (about 900,000 vehicles), the annual power consumption will equal about 1.5% (about 1.072 GWh) with an emission saving potential of about 1.5 Mio. t CO2. The continuation of this scenario results in a vehicle population of about 2.1 million electric- and plug-in-hybrid vehicles in the year 2030mwith a power consumption of about 3% of total power consumption (about 2.471 GWh). Assuming electricity is obtained from green sources, the emissions saving potential for 2030 is around 3.6 million tons CO2.

The implementation of model regions could result in local high densities of electrically powered vehicles. The study will carry out simulations for such extreme scenarions, whereby it is assumed that all households in an estate own an electric vehicle. The results show that an uncontrolled charging can lead to the nominal power of the mains being exceeded. Charging control measures can prevent this from happening.

The possibilities of charging control measures shown in the study demonstrate that the sound frequency control is a useful and low-cost variant for load control in the beginning phase of electro-mobility. For large-scale electro-mobility however, concepts for comprehensive control and communication are still necessary. For this reason, one chapter is dedicated to an overview of contemporary systems. Possibilities for load control via price incentives are also discussed.

The concept of vehicle-to-grid is critically examined. An analysis of the investment costs and the practical use of vehicle-to-grid with its issues results in the view that considering the current technological and economic maturity of batteries for electric vehicles, the expansion of storage power plants is preferable to the vehicle-to-grid concept.

The study concludes with a description of current pilot projects and initiatives in Austria and in Europe, whereby the emphasis is on the topicality of this subject. 


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