Suggested Citation: Jenn, Alan and Austin Brown (2021) Brief: Smart Charging of Electric Vehicles Will Reduce Emissions and Costs in a 100% Renewable Energy Future in California. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Brief UCD-ITS-RR-21-57
California has goals of achieving 100% renewable energy by 2045 and 100% zero-emission vehicle sales by 2035. Electric vehicles will introduce significant new demand for electricity at the same time the state’s electricity grid is incorporating more intermittent energy sources, raising concerns about grid reliability. However, the flexibility of electric vehicle charging provides a potentially powerful asset in mitigating the challenges of a renewable energybased electricity grid. Smart charging—adapting electric vehicle charging based on the conditions of the power system and the needs of the vehicle user—can take advantage of this flexibility by charging vehicles when renewable energy is readily available. Researchers at UC Davis simulated 100% electric vehicle adoption and a 100% renewable energy-powered electricity grid by 2045 in California. They then compared a scenario of regular electric vehicle charging behavior with a scenario of advanced, flexible, smart charging under which charging is aligned with renewable energy availability, to understand how smart vehicle charging could benefit the electricity grid.
Key words: Decarbonization, electric grids, electric vehicles, electric vehicle charging, emissions, carbon dioxide, policy analysis