Electric vehicles – SCE’s experience


Ed Kjaer,
Director of
Rosemead, CA, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 8, 2013 – With more than 1 million miles travelled by its more than 300 strong fleet of plug-in electric vehicles since 2009, and with its customers owning or leasing about 10 percent of national EV sales (more than 12,000 vehicles), Southern California Edison (SCE) can claim some significant insights on these vehicles and their operation.

This is now shared in a new white paper, Charged Up: Southern California Edison’s Key Learnings about Electric Vehicles, Our Customers and Grid Reliability.

The white paper presents six major learnings:

  1. SCE’s approach to managing PEV grid impact is meeting its customers’ needs
    Rather than upgrade all its circuits SCE opted to upgrade them as needed – as a result since 2010, of all the nearly 400 upgrades that were made to (or identified for) circuits that serve PEV customers, only 1 percent of that work was required due to additional power demands from PEVs. The rest was required under the regular infrastructure upgrade and maintenance schedule.
  2. Using the “end charge” time programing feature is good for EV customers and their neighbors
    It’s better for grid reliability and neighborhood circuits when drivers program their charging to be complete by a specific time. This randomizes the start time of their charging, which prevents a large number of vehicles from coming online at the same time – avoiding power load spikes that potentially could affect the local distribution system.
  3. What SCE customers want to know most about EVs
    Almost half of the 15,000 customer visits to the EV website monthly make their first stop with the Plug-In Car Rate Assistant Tool, which helps estimate charging costs. Customers also click to find out more about public charging station locations, watch videos on EVs and read background materials on environmental benefits and home electric infrastructure requirements.
  4. Initial findings show early adopters of battery electric vehicle (BEV) technology demonstrate consistent and predictable behavior
    A sample of Nissan Leaf owners have indicated that any “range anxiety” had been eliminated after driving their new BEV over time. Most reported their overnight charging at 240 V was sufficient to support their daily driving patterns.
  5. Multi-unit residents may face complex challenges
    Despite high interest in EVs from condominium and apartment dwellers, fewer than 5 percent of building owners or condominium associations are considering installing the necessary charging infrastructure. There are multiple rebates and incentives in the works to improve the situation.
  6. SCE and the cities we serve are charged up and ready to go
    Virtually all of the 180 cities in SCE’s service territory are committed to helping their residents plug in by streamlining permitting and inspection processes.

“The Southern California region and SCE’s service territory in particular is seeing significant uptick of early plug-in vehicle adoption” said Ed Kjaer, SCE director of Transportation Electrification. “SCE is partnering with auto makers, dealers and the communities we serve to help educate our customers on ways to seamlessly connect their new EVs to an ever changing electrical system.”