Network operator expecting number of electric vehicles to increase

Electric vehicle during charging (picture is illustrative).
Electric vehicle during charging (picture is illustrative). Source: Arvo Meeks/Valgamaalane/Scanpix

The number of electric cars registered in Estonia has recently increased from 1,266 in 2018 to 1,310. Considering Estonia's size, this is a noteworthy change that has prompted network operator Elektrilevi to look into potential developments.

Elektrilevi expects electric cars to become increasingly more popular. Because of that, the company has been carrying out analyses into the effect of charging cars on energy demand and network capabilities.

Potentially greater future demand for energy to operate cars is taken into account in the planning and construction of new network sections as well as in the maintenance and renewal of existing ones, ERR's Estonian-language news wrote on Tuesday.

According to Marko Viiding, in charge of electric transport at Elektrilevi, some 80 percent of electric cars are typically charged either at home, or at work—and not at designated charging stations. This means that owners of such cars will have to take into account their own local networks, including their main fuse and free capacity.

"If for example someone uses their electric hob, oven, washing machine, water heater, and other major appliance, then there probably isn't enough power left to also run the car charger at the same time," Viiding said.

Still, charging vehicles at home is the most practical and often also the cheapest option. Elektrilevi suggests charging vehicles at night, when the number of consumer is the smallest and the exchange price of electricity typically the lowest.

For the network on the whole, electric car owners aren't a big issue, as any sort of problem typically results in knocking out the main fuse, first in the house, but also at the terminal between the house and the network section in question, Viiding said.

Meanwhile, the company will keep trying to keep one step ahead of the market. But should the number of cars suddenly increase, the company can free up appropriate resources for such a development as well, Viiding added.

The total number of electric vehicles registered in Estonia beyond cars also includes 95 electric scooters, 70 trams, 40 light four-wheel vehicles, and 16 vans.

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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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