Electric Vehicle Grid Impacts

NREL is investigating multiple avenues for managing the grid impacts of electric vehicles (EVs) across the site-integrated and distribution system levels using power-hardware-in-the-loop capabilities.

With the market share for longer-range EVs continuing to grow, so does the demand for innovative charging and charge-management solutions. Extreme fast charging of 200 kW can significantly increase recharging speeds, but the ability to address challenges for the local grid infrastructure as well as vehicle-connected charge equipment is vital. Connected and intelligent charge management solutions can enable widespread vehicle electrification without negatively impacting the grid, possibly providing additional benefits.

3-D rendering of a lab filled with various equipment, including an electrochemical battery, ice thermal storage tank, thermal fluid conditioning module, research electric distribution bus, electric vehicles and charging stations, electrochemical battery for behind-the-meter storage, grocery refrigerated case, and a chiller. Outside the lab are solar panels, wind turbines, a power transmission tower, and a rectangular box.
At NREL's Optimization and Control Laboratory, researchers develop optimal strategies for coordinating EVs with buildings, the grid, and other energy systems.

Research in NREL's Optimization and Control Laboratory focuses on enabling greater EV adoption as part of a larger system of electrification. Its core capabilities include:

  • Electrical infrastructure for two individual sites, with each site including 480-V and 208/120-V or 240/120-V breaker panels and integrated circuit-level power meters
  • System performance testing of extreme fast-charging systems with vehicles capable of using ~350-kW charging
  • Connection to grid and PV simulators and other distributed energy resources for grid interactivity research at over 1 MW
  • Hardware-in-the-loop integrated control to enable experiments for DC charging of EVs up to 350 kW so researchers can emulate the vehicle response for different battery chemistry, battery capacity, and battery thermal designs 
  • Connection to the other AC and DC resources via the building's research electrical distribution buses
  • Hardware-in-the-loop integrated control to enable experiments for AC grid dynamics from DC charging of EVs up to 350 kW so researchers can emulate grid response for evaluating how charging equipment controls impact the grid. 


Andrew Meintz

Project Lead, Electric Vehicle Grid Integration