The impact of electric vehicles in household electricity consumption

The impact of electric vehicles in household electricity consumption. Initial US figures as a guidance


18 | 01 | 2022


Understanding the effects of people now charging their vehicles at home as an increase of electricity demand at night for households

Did the increased use of electrical vehicles impact the household’s demand for electricity? In the following text there will be a thorough analysis to answer the question. First of all, a background is necessary to understand the impact of electrical vehicles on the population demographics and what type of consumers were most interested in the purchase. Afterwards, further research has been procured to explore the differences between charging the electric vehicle privately (home, buildings), in comparison to public spaces (city, rural). From the results of the evaluation, the impacts of electricity vehicles on the US grid will surface, which will allow for a better understanding on whether the hypothesis is correct or incorrect. Lastly, along with further real-life evidence and assumptions, an appropriate conclusion to the hypothesis will be confirmed. More electric cars will require both charging infrastructure and much greater electric-grid capacity. The aim of this analysis is to understand the impact of people now charging their vehicles at home as an increase of the demand of electricity at night for households.


The first crude electric vehicle took place in 1832, developed by Robert Anderson. However, it was not until the 1870’s that electric cars became practical. Centuries later electric vehicles became popular, and in 2020 the total sales of electric cars accounted for 2% of the US population. The most frequently bought car is TESLA model 3, created by CEO Elon Musk who co-founded TESLA.

There are a total of three types of electric vehicles available, the first one being BEV, battery electric vehicles, which are 100% powered by electricity. Moreover, there is PHEVs, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which are vehicles that have both electric battery (recharged by a plug) and a combustion engine, and lastly, hybrid, which also have both electric battery and a combustion engine, although the electric battery is recharged by using the combustion engine.

As time passed, electric vehicles sales have exponentially increased and the main factors to take in consideration in the demographics of the typical electric vehicle consumer are the household income, family size, age, driving distance, and geographical location. In 2019, it has been recorded that the top demographic of electric vehicle owners are middle aged white men with a yearly income of more than $100,000. In comparison, combustion engine vehicles consumers have an evenly distributed income that begins less than $50,000 to greater than $100,000 (Figure 1).

However, as time continues to go on, and income is growing, more consumers tend to turn their backs on conventional vehicles and prefer to have a more sustainable lifestyle which leads to higher demand for electric cars. Such results cause an interest in understanding whether the impact on the consumption of electricity has increased overtime. Many electric vehicles need to be plugged into an electricity source in order for them to work, and naturally, just as people do with their phones, it would mean most consumers charge their vehicles at night time, which explains the increase in the peak demand of electricity.

Charging station at home vs charging stations: sustainability and profitability

In the US, as of Sept. 21, there were approximately 122,550 charging ports at more than 47,000 public and private stations, according to the US Department of Energy's Alternative Fuels Data Center. Comparing the US to another region where major efforts are being made in order to stimulate a total switch to EV, Paula Pinho, EU policy chief for the clean energy transition, explains that the implementation of only electrical vehicles by 2035 can’t be completed without close collaboration with the private sector. When traveling for long distances or facing a long commute, EV owners won’t always have the possibility to charge their batteries in their residences.

This is where public EV charging stations reveal themselves to be most important. In Europe, the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation will require member states to expand charging capacity in line with zero-emission car sales, and to install charging and fueling points at regular intervals on major highways – every 60 kilometers for electric charging, and every 150 kilometers for hydrogen refueling in order to offer drives. This raises several questions such as, are the electric grids of the different European countries prepared to keep up with this increasing demand? Will these power stations be free, if not, will the price of charging a car be equivalent to the price of electricity? How will grid operators be able to predict the demand in stations present in highways for example? In rural areas, is the existing infrastructure enough?

Companies such as Siemens are pioneers in the EV industry by offering different solutions to customers such as a series of chargers called VersiCharge AC, which can be used in a variety of applications (Figure 2). They also offer other services such as the mobile E-Car OC app, which localizes your provider’s charging units and benefits from easy payment and roaming options.

Either for residential or public charging stations, an important factor to bear in mind when being installed and used is that charging equipment for PEVs is divided in 3 types by the rate at which the batteries are charged. Charging times vary based on different factors such as how depleted the battery is, how much energy it holds, the type of battery, and the type of charging equipment. The charging time can range from less than 20 minutes to 20 hours or more, depending on these factors.

Impact of EVs in the US electricity grid 

After electric vehicles are connected to the grid, there are implied effects on the electricity grid that provides power, these effects include the increased load on the distribution network, the difficulty of optimization of power grid operation control, new requirements for distribution network planning and the power quality of the electricity distribution grid. In a more general sense, EVs could require between 525 TWh and 860 TWh of electricity globally in 2030, up from 80 TWh in 2020, according to the International Energy Agency.

As seen in Figure 1, the US power capacity will need to double in order to power 186 million light-duty EVs in 2050. But industry experts argue that US energy consumption decreased over the last 20 years, due to efficiency gains in appliances and the transportation sector, mean that the US power system has enoughestablished capacity to support EV growth without the immediate need for big investments. (Figure 3).

In the US, electric utilities will benefit from the federal government incentives, such as Biden's initial $15 billion federal funding proposal for EV charging, part of a $174 billion package of envisioned EV investments to improve the US charging station infrastructure, to build 500,000 chargers across the country. And towards the future, the Edison Electric Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based utility trade group, estimates some 9.6 million charge points will be needed in the US by the end of the decade to support an estimated 18.7 million EVs on the road.

 Siemens recently announced its intention to produce more than 1 million EV chargers in the next four years for US homes and businesses, building on the roughly 75,000 chargers the company has supplied over the past decade, Siemens based its decision to ramp up production partly on the $1 trillion infrastructure bill awaiting a vote in the House of Representatives. The measure would authorize $7.5 billion for alternative fuel corridors and to construct a nationwide network of EV charging stations.

California dreaming: The attempt to use renewable energy to power EV electricity demand

The hope for many is that EV electricity comes from renewable energy generation sources, mostly from solar and wind power, rather than the coal and natural gas that currently dominate the US power supply as seen in Figure 2, in 2019, the majority of the US transportation sector’s energy, that is more than 90% was sourced from fossil fuels, mainly from petroleum-based sources like gasoline (53%) and distillates (22%).

Utilities are embracing EV sales growth as both a promising new source of revenue and an opportunity to use excess wind and solar power generated at very windy or sunny times when supply exceeds demand. A model utility with two to three million customers would need to invest between $1,700 and $5,800 in grid upgrades per EV through 2030, according to Boston Consulting Group. Assuming 40 million EVs on the road, that investment could reach $200 billion.   

Sunny California is a great example of innovative vehicle-grid integration initiatives, as it holds the goal to stop selling new petroleum-powered passenger cars by 2035, it already which hosts 44% of the roughly 2.1 million all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in the nation through the first half of 2021, according to the California Energy Commission, and by September 2021, it holds the largest amount of EV charging ports out of all US states with 39,598 charges, according to data from the US Energy Department.

One company that has approached the issue is Southern California Edison Co., or SCE, an Edison International subsidiary by investing over $436 million in a program aimed to add some 38,000 electric car chargers at businesses, public agencies, and multifamily properties over the next five years. The program is synchronized with time-of-use electric rates to influence charging patterns — a basic example of managed charging, also known as smart charging, that gives EV owners a price signal on when to juice up.


From 1832 to today the evolution of EV has been monumental, and its potential is not even close to being fulfilled. In order to democratize these types of vehicles, manufacturers are trying to bring down costs and governments are putting policies in place such as the Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation that will expand the charging infrastructure for EV in Europe.

The question raised in relation to EV was if the increased use of electrical vehicles impacts the household’s demand for electricity. In order to get a concrete answer we recommend to, first, analyze the effects on the electricity grid that provides power, such as increased load on the distribution network, the difficulty of optimization of power grid operation control, new requirements for distribution network planning and the power quality of the electricity distribution grid. Then, it is necessary to inspect if there is or not a need for an investment in the US power system for it to have the capacity to support EV. A relevant example for this question is how utilities in California are planning to use renewable energy generation sources to power EV charging stations.

Finally, we have analyzed the impact of the electrification of mobility accelerating, and this means that energy producers and distributors will need to understand the potential impact of EVs on electricity demand. As McKinsey data suggests the projected growth in e-mobility will not drive substantial increases in total electrical-grid power demand in the near to midterm, thus limiting the need for new electricity-generation capacity during that period.

Ideas for the future

After large-scale electric vehicles are connected to the distribution network, the load on the distribution network is increased and the power quality of the distribution network is affected. In line with various factors related to the demand for charging power, the charging power of electric vehicles is modeled according to the travel rules of electric vehicle users, and the load changes of the original distribution network caused by different sizes of electric vehicles connected to the distribution network are simulated.

The Monte Carlo method can be used to evaluate the reliability of the power grid. Taking the IEEE-RBTS Bus2 power distribution system as an example, it analyzes and calculates the reliability index of each load point and studies the influence of different scale electric vehicles accessing the distribution network on the reliability index of the distribution network.