Electric Vehicles Get an Oncor

A Texas utility prepares for the EV invasion

Texas’ largest utility, Oncor, just indicated a major preparation in its grid planning that is primarily to compensate for the impending influx of electric vehicles.

Oncor, which serves more than 10 million people in the Dallas area, expects large EVs could be cost competitive with traditional gas-fueled options in the early to mid 2020s, and is preparing for a wave of heightened demand due to large warehouse trucking fleets being electrified.  These large fleets will require substations for constant charging and usage, which Oncor is attempting to account for, UtilityDive’s Gavin Bade reported last week.

The electric distributor expects most large electric vehicles will operate during the day and come back to a central depot to charge at night, creating big pockets of electricity demand that were not there before. A logistics company that recently moved to the area, Oncor calculated, would need charging for all of its 325 fleet vehicles that would add 40 MW to the customer’s power demand — a huge increase over the 0.5 MW load the utility typically sees from a commercial ratepayer.

Other companies are mirroring the trend, as well, and with Dallas as a hotbed, this could be a difficult management scenario for the utility.

Amazon, for instance, bought 100 EV vans from Mercedes for its German operations last year, and this month invested $700 million in the EV startup Rivian. Rivian was covered in EA’s Direct & Current just two weeks ago for their refurbishment of a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Ill.


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