The challenge

With natural disasters such as hurricanes, snowstorms, and wildfires occurring more frequently and intensely than ever before, utilities are developing strategies for supporting their EV customers during a disaster-caused outage. In fact, some state regulators are requiring utilities to plan for how they’ll assist EV customers if grid-tied charging stations are deenergized.

The solution

The disaster-preparedness plan E Source crafted included the use of mobile and deployable EV charging technologies. The charging capacities of each potential solution varied significantly—from products as small as a suitcase that could ride in a tow truck to flatbed-sized battery arrays that can charge scores of cars. And some offered additional features like built-in solar capacity that allows the unit to self-charge. We then right-sized the potential solutions and identified preferred deployment locations by examining traffic volume and patterns, local penetration of EVs, and EV sales forecasts for the next several years.

The results

E Source experts analyzed several technology options, including mobile, deployable solutions designed to address a variety of outage durations and driver demand.

chart depicting the variety of options recommended to the utility

We also investigated more-permanent solutions, such as deploying a diesel generator to power EV equipment as well as well as islanding a microgrid that, while not mobile, would include local charging stations.

There are several use cases for EV drivers in an emergency and each required a different solution. Ultimately, E Source’s EV charging resilience strategy included a recommendation to deploy several of the battery-based solutions described above as well as diesel generators. We also strongly advised the client to consider islanding a microgrid for a longer-term solution. The client is conducting additional research and will soon begin implementing E Source’s recommendations.