Impact assessment of electric car charging on LV grids

OData support
Dr. Farkas Csaba
Department of Electric Power Engineering

Abstract-The body of scientific evidence relating climate change and man-made greenhouse gas emissions is well documented, for example [1] and [2].

The European Commission states that transport is the second largest greenhouse gas-emitting sector and accounts for 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union (EU). Light duty vehicles including cars and vans produce around 15% of the EU’s emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), which is the main greenhouse gas [3].

The introduction of mass produced highway capable electric vehicles (EV’s), also referred to as electric cars, to the retail market since 2014 [4] will contribute to the mix of initiatives and incentives aimed at achieving the key targets of the 2020 Climate and Energy package, which was legislated in 2009 to ensure the EU meets its climate and energy targets in 2020 [5].

As the uptake of electric cars intensifies, electricity grid infrastructure will require reinforcement and upgrading. Distribution service operators (DSO’s) will need to understand and prepare in advance for the impact electric vehicles will have on the low voltage grid.

This thesis presents the current state of electric car technology based on literature review; and investigates the possible impact of electric car charging on low voltage grids.

As a case study, the low voltage grid of a localised district of Budapest is modeled using DIgSILENT, which is a power system analysis software tool. With the aid of this model, the impact of electric cars is analysed. The aforementioned district is characterised by predominately low to medium density residential dwellings, where private off-street parking is available to facilitate the charging of electric cars from a conventional single-phase household power outlet.

The modeling indicates that with uncontrolled charging and at a level of 20% uptake of electric cars among household consumers, the low voltage grid infrastructure will operate well within the normal operating limits.

The implication of this thesis work suggests that at least up to 20% penetration, the impact of uncontrolled charging of electric cars on the low voltage grid will not present any significant consequences; and that DSO’s have time to thoughtfully plan and implement strategies that will facilitate a more intensive and widespread roll-out of electric cars in the future.

Key words – Electric car, electric vehicle, charging, low voltage grid, impact assessment, DIgSILENT,


[1] NASA. 2015. Global Climate Change : Vital Signs of the Planet. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 11 October 15].

[2] Oreskes, Naomi 2007. “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change: How Do We Know We’re Not Wrong?”. In DiMento, J.F.; Doughman, P M 2007. Climate Change: What it Means for Us, our Children and our Grandchildren. 1st ed. Massachusetts: MIT Press. pp. 65-66

[3] European Commission. 2015. Road Transport: Reducing CO2 Emmissions From Vehicles. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 11 October 15].

[4] Union of Concerned Scientists. 2015. Electric Vehicle Timeline. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 11 October 15].

[5] European Commission. 2015. 2020 Climate and Energy Package. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 11 October 15].


Please sign in to download the files of this thesis.