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Charging option other than current scheduled time


Jan 30, 2017
Visalia, California
With ever-increasing number of BEVs, I can't help but think we as a group must be putting a significant strain on the grid at the top of the charging hour. For example, I have mine set to charge at 12AM PST. I'd wager that the majority of BEV owners also set to charge at 12AM. Not counting Alaska/Hawaii, there would be 4 different massive surges at midnight for the 4 different time zones in the US.

Instead of setting a scheduled charging time as above, why not have an option that would somewhat randomize when the car starts charging? One way would be to calculate when to charge, so that the car finishes charging 1 hour before departure time. For example, if I have to leave for work at 8AM and I drove 30 miles the day before, the car would stop charging at 7AM, meaning it would start charging at 5:50AM (assuming 27mph charge rate). The start charge time will be "randomized" as a group based on the amount to be charged.

One caveat to the above scheme is for those who work at a later shift. As an example again, let's say I go to work at 9PM and the worst TOU (time-of-use electricity rate) is 4PM-9PM, obviously it would not be beneficial to use my randomized charging scheme, since the charge time would occur during the worst TOU. For those late shift individuals, the current scheduled charging scheme would make more sense.

What do you guys think? Much ado 'bout nuthin'?


Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
Boise, ID
Interesting thought, but here are a few other thoughts that go with it:

I already did have a similar idea, so I set my start time at 1:05 AM just because.

But also, what you're thinking of doesn't quite happen as a "spike". It's not like a big motor load that has a giant startup surge current, where it overshoots way above the steady state for a second before settling back down. If you watch your car's display when it starts charging, it takes 5-10 seconds to gradually ramp up to what the constant current will be, so it doesn't go higher at startup, and that startup moment at 12:00 AM isn't different from what it will still be at 12:34 AM or another hour or two later.

Also, the electric grid has lots of excess capacity at night, which is why the utilities offer those cheaper rates to try to incentivize people to use it then.

And people who are fans of electric cars do tend to have an optimistic view of how fast adoption by the public will be. But that's not going to massively sweep the country in 2 years. It's going to take 10-20 years. It's a very large and very real factor of people being very comfortable with the way things are, and the way they've been and not liking change. Your location says Visalia, California. Let me tell you--my relatives in the farming small towns in the middle of Missouri (1) don't know anything about electric cars and (2) have no interest in them.

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