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Is the Power Grid Ready For the Electric Car?

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

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. 

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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