Plasma TVs Draw More Juice from Grid than Plug-In Vehicles


Plasma TVs vs. Plug-In Cars
We already wrote about a study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory that shows that plug-in cars might not need new power plants (or few of them), and now we learn that a big screen plasma TV actually drains more power from the grid than a plug-in.

"Plasma TVs, industry officials say, consume about four times the electricity as recharging a plug-in hybrid. Yet utilities have managed to cope with the increased loads as thousands of new televisions came on line."

Transition Rate is What Matters
Mark Duvall from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) says that as long as the transition from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles is gradual, the electric grid will be able to handle it. "We've already added to the grid the equivalent of several years' production of plug-in hybrids," Duvall said at a conference on electric vehicles in San Jose. "The utilities, they stuck with it. They said, 'All right, that's what's happening. This is where the loads are going, and we're going to do this."'


Differences Between TVs and Cars
Some other factors that help cars are that, unlike TV, they aren't usually plugged in during peak hours. In fact, a big part of what defines peak hours is that everybody is watching TV.

You could also make vehicle chargers 'smart' in a way that you can't with TVs. If you want to watch a show now, you want it now. But a 'smart' charger could look at grid load and decide to start charging the car a hour later (when rates are lower, for example). As long as you program the charger to know when you need your car's battery to be charged, there won't be any problems.

No Problem on the Horizon

"We see the vehicle penetration levels coming at a rate that's manageable," said Efrain Ornelas, environmental technical supervisor with Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in San Francisco. "It's not like tomorrow the flood gates are going to open and 100,000 vehicles are going to come into San Francisco or something like that."

We wish there would be 100,000 electric vehicles in San Francisco tomorrow, but realistically, it's not going to happen all at once.

Plug-In Hybrids
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Electric Cars
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More about Plasma TVs vs. Plug-in Cars
Utilities say grid can handle rechargeable cars

Tags: Electric Cars | Electricity | Energy | Transportation

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