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New load source - Car Dealers

Doug Houseman's picture
Visionary and innovator in the utility industry and grid modernization Burns & McDonnell

I have a broad background in utilities and energy. I worked for Capgemini in the Energy Practice for more than 15 years. During that time I rose to the position of CTO of the 12,000 person...

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  • Jun 30, 2022
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There are 17,500 new car dealers and 139,000 used car dealers in the US. Electric vehicles are coming.

Based on brand guidelines (Ford, et.al.) new car dealers will need at least 1 public fast charger and 1 fast charger for their own use, in addition there needs to be between 6 and 150 20KW level 2 chargers.

With 17 million new cars sold each year an average dealer sells 1,000 cars a year (the largest sell over 1,000 a month, the smallest 2 or 3 a month). An average dealer has 5 new vehicles a working day to prep and hand over a day, cars arrive with between 0 and 20 percent charge.

An F-150 lightning needs over 130 KWH and approximately 14 hours on a 20KW charger to charge to 100 percent and dealers have to deliver vehicles at 100% charge.

For an average dealer that is about 300 KWH per day, plus keeping all the inventory(when they have it) at a safe state of charge which is likely 200 KWH per day. Then there is service load to top up cars. All new load. Then add in the public fast charger, and what people stop to get 24/366.

Because of the fast chargers they will require 480V 3 phase power and likely a 1 MVA transformer - major upgrades for many dealers.

Auto Malls tend to have 10 plus dealers clustered (likely on the same circuit). Which means 10 MVA or more of new load all operating to the same schedule on the circuit.

In a few years the used car dealers will need chargers too, not to the same level as new car dealers, but it will be significant for the larger lots.

If you are a planner are you thinking about it?

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Jim Stack's picture
Jim Stack on Jul 1, 2022

I think you are over estimating this power requirement. Most dealers in my area of Phoenix only have a few 2 to 4 Level 2 at 6 kW charging spots. They are seldom used. The few that do have a DC Fast charge down rate them at 15 to 20 kW. They chase anyone away that are not their direct brand of car or even their direct customer. One Porsche dealer near me in Gilbert AZ has 2 of the 800 volt 350 kW Porsche chargers. I have only seen them in use once in 3 months time. I go by there twice a day and always check to see if anyone is parked there .

    At the Tesla dealers near me they only have 4 to 6 of the Destination chargers at 20 kW. Most are also not used very much and only for serviced vehicles.  Yet the big Super Charger locations are very busy with 10 to 20 Super Chargers. A few have Solar panels over them for shade and are set to get MegaPacks of batteries to help offset the loads. They are a problem for the GRID. I wish we could require all of them by Tesla, Electrify America and others always have Solar PV shade and Battery Storage to cover the loads. The Demand charges and Peak Loads have to cost a lot. 

    So dealers are not the problem. Large DC Fast charging areas are the big loads. Dealer are tiny loads in comparison.      

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