As automakers add electrically-powered vehicles to their product lines, we are working closely with the public and private sectors to build awareness of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) and ease their transition into the Manitoba marketplace.
Although hybrid electric vehicles have been available to Manitobans for a number of years, PEVs have the added convenience and functionality of being able to draw power directly from the grid.
By literally "plugging in" to Manitoba Hydro's system, PEV owners will help reduce provincial greenhouse gas emissions by powering their vehicles with clean, renewable hydroelectricity, instead of burning fossil fuels in traditional internal combustion engine-powered vehicles.
At Manitoba Hydro, we are actively planning for the anticipated adoption of plug-in electric vehicles in Manitoba. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles have been a part of our fleet since 2006, and we are continuing to take a leading role in evaluating PEVs through participation in trials with various manufacturers to ensure that we are prepared to meet the demands of PEVs and their owners.
Through our memberships in national and international PEV industry organizations such as the Electric Power Research Institute, Electric Mobility Canada and the Centre for Energy Advancement through Technological Innovation, we have gained access to valuable research regarding common PEV standards and industry practices. The knowledge gained has allowed us to model the potential impacts of PEV charging on our system and has led to a better understanding of the requirements needed to support PEVs.
In addition to our work related to standard electric passenger vehicles, we are also collaborating with the Province of Manitoba, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, New Flyer Industries, and Red River College to develop an all-electric transit bus and charging system that will be tested during a 2-year trial commencing in 2012. We are pleased to be part of such an exciting opportunity to influence the future of mass transportation and ensure that Manitoba businesses play an important role in that future.
Manitobans' experience with cold weather and plugging in their vehicles will help ease the transition to adopting PEVs. In some circumstances, the existing infrastructure used to power vehicle block heaters in the winter can also be used to provide limited charging for PEVs.
However, some existing electrical outlets may not be suitable for PEV charging. Residential outlets can be part of a circuit used to power multiple lights and other electrical devices, and could become overloaded if used to charge a PEV. A dedicated circuit for PEV charging may need to be installed by a licensed electrician in these situations.
Also, some commercial parking lot outlets operate in a load restricted or cycled manner and using them may result in your PEV receiving a lower charge than expected or no charge at all. If a parking stall is not specifically designated for PEV use, we recommend that you consult with the parking lot or building manager to ensure it can provide adequate power to your vehicle.
Depending on the wiring of your home or business, additional wiring and/or a larger electrical panel may need to be installed by a licensed electrician. Before purchasing a Level 2 AC charging system, it is recommended that you consult with a licensed electrician regarding the equipment’s electrical requirements and the potential cost of upgrading your electrical system (if required).
Note: Charging times are highly variable due to a variety of factors including battery size, the amount of remaining energy in the battery when it is plugged in, temperature, and the type of charging equipment used. For information regarding charging systems, charging times, and expected ranges for specific vehicles, refer to the manufacturer's website or consult your local dealer.
Information on vehicle efficiencies and charging costs can be found at the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy website.