President & CEO, AddÉnergie | FLO
Switching from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles (EVs) is a bigger shift than simply opting for a high-performance, energy-efficient engine. It’s a complete shift for users and utilities because of the way EVs consume energy and interact with the electrical grid.
EVs can charge anywhere there’s an electricity supply. Any home, building, public site, or curbside can be equipped with a charging port. There’s no need for huge reservoirs and truckloads of fuel — power lines take care of bringing the energy drivers need to their vehicles.
EV charging in Canada
For that reason, EV charging is fundamentally different than stopping at a gas station. If the equipment is available, you can plug in your car whenever it’s parked — 80 to 90 percent of personal EV charging in Canada typically takes place at home or at work. The rest (public charging) tends to happen when people are on longer trips.
As EVs evolve to combine the features of fun-to-drive cars with those of large batteries-on-wheels, the creation of a comprehensive charging infrastructure will make it possible to create value from the significant amount of time cars are parked. Right now, smart charging programs can help vehicles use excess power when there’s extra capacity and electricity is cheap. In the future, many EVs may be able to give power back to the grid when net demand is high.
The ability of EVs to help owners act as flexible, smart energy consumers is exactly the kind of partnership that intermittent renewable energy sources need — capacity to store and, eventually, to make supply more predictable. And clean energy sources are exactly what EVs need to achieve their mission of fully moving our transportation sector off of fossil fuels.
We still have some distance to go before electric (and autonomous) vehicles are fully integrated into our grids. For now, the focus is, rightly, on developing a fully dependable and comprehensive network of smart charging stations that EV drivers can trust, and that can convince more Canadians to drive electric.
The future of smart charging
But even now, the smart charging infrastructure we’re developing can play a positive role in energy management. Connected charging stations — whether residential, commercial, or workplace — can proactively avoid peak electrical charges, share available power between multiple vehicles, and deliver more cost-effective and sustainable ways to consume energy.
We at FLO®, Canada’s leading EV charging network and EV solutions provider, are fully aware of the impacts that a growing number of EVs will create for the electric grid. But rather than seeing that as a problem, we see it as an opportunity to create new value for EV drivers, utilities, and renewable energy generators, and, ultimately, to build a cleaner and more innovative Canada.
In fact, turning energy challenges into world-leading solutions is what drives us every day, and we hope you’ll join us and Lead the Way™.