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Energy & Environment

Is the Power Grid Ready For the Electric Car?

Electric Vehicle Conference at UT's Blanton Austin 2.JPG
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News
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Is the electric grid ready for an influx of electric cars?

That’s one of the topics under discussion Tuesday at a discussion on electric vehicles at the University of Texas.

The university’s Electric Vehicle Transportation and Electricity Convergence Center (EV-TEC) is hosting a panel discussion at the Blanton Museum with engineering and electromechanical experts, plus auto industry representatives. (Nissan and General Motors are listed as event sponsors.) The event begins at 4 p.m. this afternoon with a screening of “Revenge of the Electric Car.”

“We’re looking specifically at what is going to happen as we try to get a whole bunch more electric vehicles on the road,” says EV-TEC director Ross Baldick. “What are the implications in terms of charging structure; what are the implications in terms of power generation that we’re going to need; what are the implications in terms of emissions; what are the implications  in terms of paying for roads when people, instead of paying gasoline taxes, are purchasing electricity?”

One potential answer is close to home: Austin’s Pecan Street Project is examining smart energy grid technology, and its impact on vehicle charging, at the Mueller development. “I think there’s a great opportunity for the Mueller area to be a test bed for seeing what happens when we get significant numbers of electric vehicles,” says Baldick. 

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