By Lauren Fix, The Car Coach
High temperatures, increased demand for the electric power for air conditioning, computers and electric cars charging; 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 percent on solar and wind and at the same time, reducing nuclear, natural gas and coal usage. I promise this will lead to increased electricity costs.
From a June 18th post on Facebook: “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. The state, though, cannot can’t seem to provide enough electricity for the homes and businesses they already have, yet they are mandating everyone drive more electric cars.
This electric grid issue impacts other states, too.
Areas of Texas this winter, for example, were plunged into darkness for weeks due to cold temperatures. This is a state known for oil and gas. The state’s utilities, though, were not able to keep up with demand and had not really updated its infrastructure. The energy board was humiliated and many stepped down. Many bad decisions impacted many people lives.
New York City, Seattle, and Portland also recently asked people to not charge their electric cars, shut off their air conditioning and unplug any unused electric appliances. The demand has increased and currently the supply isn’t as reliable especially as the country transitions to more wind and solar. Charging at night will not work for everyone.
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 no matter if we put on more electric cars and transition to more solar and wind energy resources. Currently, the grid is far from being able to support basic needs, let alone when everyone needs to charge their vehicle.
The theory is that people will plug in at night when there is less electric demand. In Silicon Valley, however, every office has charging available as an employee benefit. EV owners charge at work for free and then don’t plug in at home. The best conditions are for people to charge at home, but because it’s cheaper and more convenient for employees to charge at work, the day demand rises which taxes the overall grid.
Increasing the supply of energy is not the answer. The grid needs to be upgraded, and to increase the capacity will cost trillions of dollars. The Energy Marketers of America stated that if just 10 percent of America switches to EV’s, the cost will be $147 billion to upgrade. Guest what–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. 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.
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 be informed and policymakers need to take steps to insert consumer protections into each of these measures.
Are we moving too fast with electric vehicles? No matter what, the cost to you will increase and so will the price of gasoline.
They are sure putting the squeeze on us!
If you have additional questions, put them in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer.
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.
Lauren is the CEO of Automotive Aspects and the Editor-in-Chief of Car Coach Reports, a global automotive news outlet. She is an automotive contributor to national and local television news shows, including Fox News, Fox Business, CNN International, The Weather Channel, Inside Edition, Local Now News, Community Digital News, and more. Lauren also co-hosts a regular show on ABC.com with Paul Brian called “His Turn – Her Turn” and hosts regular radio segments on USA Radio – DayBreak.
Lauren is honored to be inducted into the Women’s Transportation Hall of Fame and a Board Member of the Buffalo Motorcar Museum, and Juror / President for the North American Car, Utility & Truck of the Year Awards.
Check her out on Twitter and Instagram @LaurenFix.