Calgary’s energy utility is looking to better understand how, when and where electric vehicle (EV) owners are charging their cars.
Enmax hopes to be able to collect data while there are still around 3,000 EVs in the city. Internal modeling shows up to 200,000 electric vehicles could be operating in the city by 2035.
It’s part of Enmax Power’s Charge Up program that was started in 2019 to investigate when and how long people charge their electric cars. It found four in five EV owners plug their cars in at 5 p.m., at the same time the energy grid is under peak demand.
The second phase of the program aims to pilot how to shift charging to off-peak times.
Enmax is looking for 250 local EV owners to participate in the research, sharing charging data through an automated device while earning rewards.
The latest study will also provide Enmax with data on how to optimize the grid for increased charging demand from electric vehicles. Since 2018, EVs have seen 60 per cent growth in Calgary.
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“Enmax Power is preparing for the growth of electric vehicles to ensure we can meet customer demand in the years ahead,” president Jana Mosley said in a statement.
The pilot will run until the end of 2022 and Calgary-based EV owners can sign up online, regardless of who their energy retailer is.
“As an electric vehicle owner, I’m flexible around when I charge, and if there’s a better time for the system, and that leads to a financial benefit for customers like me, that sounds like a win-win,” Blake Shaffer, EV driver and economics professor, said in a statement. “As an economist, we know that EVs are growing in popularity, and integrating them into the grid in a cost-effective way, is the right thing to do.
“Pilots like this are a good example of how we can prepare smartly.”