US utilities companies will need to ensure their distribution systems are ready for electric vehicles as an overwhelming number of drivers estimate they will charge their EVs at home, new Chartwell research shows.

Coinciding with the launch of its EV Customer Strategy Research Council and Electric Vehicle Programmes Summit, information research company Chartwell has conducted a study revealing 89% of consumers would be "likely" or "extremely likely" to charge their plug-in EVs at home.

Its recent survey of 1,500 North American consumers shows 81% of that group would fall into the extremely-likely category. This was a far greater percentage than consumers who foresee external charging stations as the primary means for fuel.

"We've uncovered some interesting findings," said Chartwell senior research analyst Stacey Bailey. "You have the vast majority of consumers believing their home will be the primary charging site and most of those respondents say they will plug in during off-peak, overnight hours, which would be preferable for most utilities.

"Still, we did find a notable percentage of consumers who say they will plug-in during on-peak times, which could potentially stress the distribution system."

Chartwell's EV Council, a group of utilities facilitated by Chartwell, will cover customer-oriented programmes and messaging around EVs and consumer opinions and behaviour.

The council, which includes charter members DTE Energy, FPL and PacificCorp, will also interact and share practices in an exclusive setting.

The Chartwell Electric Vehicle Programme Summit due to take place 15-16 November in San Diego, also highlights these and other integration issues.