Sweden’s electric cars causing power shortages

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Words: Nile Bijoux
13 Jun 2019

Sweden wants to drastically cut transport emissions by incentivising electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) cars. However, it may have hit an early speed bump in the form of power generation.

BEVs and PHEVs rely on a well-stocked power grid to keep them moving, shocking we know! So when the grid can’t supply enough juice, there’s a pretty clear issue.

That looks to be the problem in Sweden, where an increase in government grants sent sales of electric cars surging by 253 per cent in the first five months. This is part of a move to make the country carbon neutral by 2045, with industry group, Power Circle, reckoning Sweden needs to add about 2.5 million plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles to its fleet (and scrap a bunch of older cars) by the end of the next decade.

That’s a lot of electric cars feeding off a finite source of power but Power Circle is suggesting incentives for EV owners to not charge during peak times, and for them to instead flow power back to the grid during morning and afternoon hours. If enough cars are willing to share their batteries with the grid, more EVs would help ease the capacity load they reckon.

Energy companies and the Swedish government have to be careful as to how this would work in practice, though. Nobody wants to get into their car to find it has a range in the single digits because it was powering the neighbour’s Netflix binge.


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