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Off-peak electricity is being gobbled up by electric car owners


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    Thursday, July 3, 2014, 12:59 PM - Off-peak hours, typically running from early evening to early morning and all day on weekends, is the time when power companies encourage us to use our large appliances, like dishwashers and laundry machines, but this is also turning into a time for electric car owners to gobble up electricity, to the tune of around four times what the average household consumes!

    Electric cars are definitely the way to go these days if you still want the convenience of a motorized vehicle but don't want to support the oil and gas industry or directly pump more carbon dioxide (and other pollutants) into the atmosphere. Also, quite frankly, they're pretty cool.

    However, there's still an environmental cost to putting an electric car on the road. Mining the elements that go into making the batteries in each car takes a toll even before the proud new owner takes possession. Also, in the day-to-day operation of the car, charging the battery draws electricity from the same power grid as their house and office. So, wherever the most common source of electric power in the region (hydro, nuclear, coal, etc) goes into providing the car with electricity. A recent analysis by Opower, who look at 'big data' and customer behaviour for utility companies, examined how around 2,000 electric car drivers compared to the non-electric car drivers around them. Their results showed that depending on where the electric car owner lives, this can mean getting the power for their clean car from a dirty source, like coal-burning power plants.

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