• Mon. Aug 2nd, 2021

Study shows that the time you charge your electric vehicle determines its rate of emission


Jan 13, 2021

According to MIT researchers, choosing the right time to charge electric vehicles will improve their emissions reductions. Statistics show that there is an increase in emissions from the transport sector all over the world.  Some of the passenger cars referred to as light-duty vehicles, including minivans, SUVs, and sedans, contribute up to 20% of the United States’ total greenhouse gas. Studies advocate for changing from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles to reduce emissions for a long time now.

However, a new study revolves around reducing emissions from an electricity source charging an electric vehicle. It is already published in Environmental Science and Technology. The findings are deducted from the ambient temperature’s effect on the car fuel economy and various regions’ charging patterns. The MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) concluded that the time of the day an EV is charged impacts its emission significantly. According to the study’s lead author Ian Miller, it is possible to improve emissions reductions by charging your EV at specific times.  After all, given the source of power used, EVs and renewables have increased emissions due to the considerable growth.

One of the factors that determine the time drivers charge their EVs is the time-of-use rates. That’s where the policymakers would make the difference. They should make them the best time possible depending on the renewable sources contributing to the power grid. Since solar energy is at its best during midday, there should be discounts for people charging around that time from a solar source. On the other hand, if the energy source is the wind, it goes without saying that charging overnight is the most suitable choice.

So, since California is solar-heavy, it would be wise to charge the EVs at midday since it is around that time where the solar energy powering the grid is at its highest. Such a move would see the emissions reduced by 70 percent compared to charging overnight. Similarly, since hydro and nuclear power contributes the highest to New York’s grid at night, New Yorkers should prefer charging overnight to reduce the emissions by 20 percent.

Emre Gencer, a researcher and one of the authors at MITEI, said that charging infrastructure will also determine if the charging EVs at particular times is realized. He added that if charging EVs at midday will happen, it is only wise to install many charging stations at the workplaces. Otherwise, people will continue charging overnight in their garages, which might not be the right choice, especially if living in California.