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The Car Coach: Will All These New Electric Cars Crash the Power Grid?

Written By | Jul 9, 2021
Electric Cars, Charging Stations, Power Grid

High temperatures, increased demand for electric power for air conditioning, computers, and now, electric cars. Will all these new electric cars crash the grid? The latest dose of reality came this week when California, facing triple digit temperatures, began to worry about the pressure on the state’s power grid as a result of everybody charging their electric vehicles all at once. This is not a California problem, it impacts the entire United States and we are starting to see the results of relying 100% on solar and wind and reducing nuclear, natural gas and coal usage. I promise this will lead to increased electricity costs.

I’ll explain.

“California literally just told everyone to not charge their electric cars due to power shortage.”

This year, the scorching temperatures arrived early, prompting the first power conservation advisory of the summer on June 17 and setting off speculation on social media about how the heat could impact electric car owners. This sparked discussion on social media about whether California has the resources to continue to move toward electric vehicles in pursuit of a greener future. Currently, California is planning to only sell electric cars by 2035.

However, California can’t provide enough electricity for the homes and businesses they have. And yet they are mandating everyone drive more electric cars.




Electric Cars, Charging Stations, Power Grid

 

But this electric grid issue impacts other states, look at Texas who recently was in darkness for weeks.

This is a state known for oil and gas. They tried changing their baseload power to wind and solar and reducing the load from natural gas and coal. The energy board was humiliated and many stepped down. This was a bad decision that impacted many people’s lives.

New York City, Seattle, and Portland, are asking people to not charge their electric cars, shut off their air conditioning and unplug any electric appliances. The demand has increased and the supply isn’t as reliable if you rely on wind and solar. Charging at night doesn’t work for everyone.  What about those drivers in the city who park on the street?

So what is the impact to you and your wallet?

The grid has problems that are greater than electric cars. The grid needs to be upgraded but adding on the load from electric cars and powering it with solar and wind is far from being able to support all the draw required to charge every car and all of the other electric needs.

There is a theory that people plug in at night. In Silicone Valley, every office has charging stations in the parking lot. People charge at work for free and don’t plug in at home. Which is more convenient. However, now the cost of charging those vehicles is being born by the employer. The best conditions for charging are for people to charge at home.  However, it may be easier to charge at work. Yet a parking lot of charging cars will add to the system draws against the baseload power. Further taxing the system.

Companies, homes, and universities use quite a bit of power during the day too.  Will they all be able to afford to create charging stations for every employee?

Increasing the supply of energy is not the answer.

The grid needs to be upgraded, and increasing the capacity will cost trillions of dollars. The Energy Marketers of America stated that if 10% of America goes to EV’s, the cost will be $147 billion, that cost will be passed down to you.

Electric companies are calling us “Rate-Payers”, and they are charging us for this subsidy whether you use it or not. We are all paying in on the increased prices. Utility companies are seeking approval to charge rate-payers additional money to pay for the build-out of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure, even though this same infrastructure is going to become a source of revenue for utilities down the road.

According to a recent EMA study, building out the EV charging infrastructure (just the charging port, not the additional electric grid capacity or weatherizing) will cost more than $5,000 for every electric vehicle, charging prices not included.



There are some other options to reduce the carbon footprint but it’s not part of the Green New Deal. Nuclear power is clean and sustainable, nuclear is a zero-emission clean energy source but it’s not subsidized and removing it from our grid will cause brownouts. This is already happening all over California. There are also new fracking techniques that could be used to generate energy with no carbon emissions.  If we really care about “green” we will add the fact that creating electricity in the quantity we need will require fossil fuels – the burning of coal.  Wind, solar, and turbine energy are not there yet.

Here’s the Bottom line:

In the nation’s capital and in state capitols around the country, laws and regulations are being pursued with the ultimate goal of getting rid of gas- and diesel-fueled cars and trucks. These policies come in many different packages with many different names (infrastructure bills, “zero emission vehicle” mandates, fuel economy standards, clean car and truck rules, low carbon fuel standards).  But they share the central goals of making it more expensive to own any vehicle that isn’t electric and requiring the public, rather than private companies, to pay for EV charging.

Already, these government approaches are hitting American drivers. Consumers need to educate themselves before they are paying the EV bill. Policymakers need to take steps to insert consumer protections into each of these measures. There is a push for electric vehicles. Are we moving too fast and the cost to you is going to increase and so will the price gasoline. They are putting the squeeze on us!  

If you have additional questions, put them in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer.

 

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Lauren Fix

Lauren Fix, The Car Coach®, is a nationally recognized automotive expert, analyst, author, and television host. A trusted car expert, Lauren provides an insider’s perspective on a wide range of automotive topics and aspects, energy, industry, consumer news and safety issues.