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Feasibility of Electric Cars Powered by Renewable Energy

By Andrew William Brunskill


As concerns grow regarding the ever increasing use of fossil fuels, interest in vehicles powered by alternative energy sources continues to develop. This study investigates the feasibility of charging electric cars in Ontario, Canada with electricity generated from renewable sources. Two main implementation methods are considered and analyzed, including charging electric cars directly from a grid with an enhanced renewable power generation capacity, and charging from small isolated off-grid systems powered entirely by renewable sources. In 2006, Ontario used nearly as much energy in the form of gasoline for personal transportation (118.6 TWh) as it used in the form of grid generated electrical energy (151 TWh). However, the much greater thermodynamic efficiency of electric motors compared to internal combustion engines means that the grid would need to provide approximately 28 TWh of additional renewable energy per year to displace all gasoline used for personal transportation. If the majority of electric vehicles are charged during off-peak hours, this new load could be met by Ontario’s existing generation capacity. Alternatively, 28 TWh is equivalent to approximately 5100 2.5 MW wind turbines operating at a capacity factor of 25%. Based on the historical cost of wind energy in Ontario, and the expecte

Year: 2014
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