Duke Energy in NKY looks at effects of multiple electric cars - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Duke Energy measuring effects of electric cars on grid system

(FOX19) -

Electric cars prove to have less impact on the environment than gas powered vehicles.

However, researchers are questioning how these plug-in electric vehicles, or PEVs, will effect the electric grid when they 'charge'.

Workers at Duke Energy in Northern Kentucky are thinking ahead to the future.

Sally Thelan, Spokesperson for Duke Energy explained how their company could be impacted by electric cars in the coming years.

"We're looking at the future knowing that by the year 2020, we estimate that there could be upwards of 10% of customers actually driving them. So it's important for us as a company to know how they'll impact the grid structure in each of the areas where we think they'll become pretty prominent or popular in certain areas."

A 2008 Energy Department study found that on a national scale, the United States is ready to handle more electric cars.

However, the same study concluded that if a majority of drivers charged their PEVs at home around 5 p.m., up to 160 new large power plants would be needed. If charging happened around 10 p.m., during low demand, new generators would not be needed.

Duke Energy says they're discovering their grids are capable of handling multiple vehicles charging at once.

Some industry leaders believe President Obama's reelection could fuel the production and sale of electric cars. In addition, there's even been talk of boosting the federal tax credit to $10,000.

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