If you know me well, you probably know that the State of California and I don’t always agree on things. But, whatever differences we may have over the contents of my purse on road trips, I am not one of those people who seek to denigrate the state at every opportunity. People who are like this have been sharing a lot of memes and news articles recently that look something like the following semi-literate screed:
HEY,,,,,,, HAVE YOU HEARD BOUT COMMIEFORNIA TELL PEOPLE THEY HAVE TO HAVE AN ELECTRIC CAR,,,,,, BY 2035??? NOW THEIR PEOPLE TELLIN,,,,,,THEY CAN’T CHARGE THEIR TELSA HEY,,,,HOW R YA GONNA GET PEOPLE IN ELECTRIC CARS WHEN THE NETWORKS ARE OVERLOADED, HUH? CHECK MATE,,,,,, LIBS!
Yeah, that’s probably not entirely accurate. My spelling and punctuation were way too good, but you get the idea. Recent power problems during record-breaking heat in the Golden State led power companies to tell people not to charge their electric vehicles. Worse, it’s not good optics to see this news happening soon after major news networks have published stories about the electric car’s next term.
But, as usual, the devil is in the details, and the details don’t make great memes and political messages about old Farcebark.
The next EV mandate is distorted
Before we get into the electric grid, let’s look at the mandate of electric vehicles. Yes, it requires electric vehicles to be sold instead of combustion engines. There is also a date attached to this mandate. But, there is much more than that.
You can get all the details here, but let’s look at a few things the FUDsters don’t share regarding the upcoming term:
- The mandate doesn’t come into full effect until 2025, leaving more than a decade for network providers to make upgrades.
- Even in 2035, the mandate only applies to new vehicles sold as-is. Used thermal cars will exist for a long time, even after 2035.
- It does not appear that a dealership in Yuma, Vegas or Reno is prohibited from selling a gas-powered car to Californians and registering it. Only cars delivered in California are subject to this requirement.
- Up to 20% of deliveries may be plug-in hybrids in 2035 and beyond, and these may run on gas or grid electricity.
Any thoughtful person who looks at the facts above will understand pretty quickly that there is no magic date in 2035 when all cars today will be hit with some sort of magic spell that will turn them all into electric vehicles. , which would quickly overload the 2022 power grid. The change between now and 2035 and after 2035 will be gradual.
But, the grid is already overloaded!
Let’s also add some more facts to this part of the argument, shall we?
First, let’s look at what it took for California authorities to ask people not to charge their electric vehicles. It took a record-breaking heat wave that produced record-breaking temperatures, prompting many people to turn on the air conditioning. In other words, it took the hottest temperatures parts of the state have ever seen for this to happen. Any grid (
But, even then, the request not to charge electric vehicles did not last for days or weeks. The time when the network was overloaded lasted only a few hours. Anti-renewables like to remind us that “the sun doesn’t always shine,” and when it comes to logging heat, all that heat comes from the sun. When the sun goes down, so does the heat. When the heat decreases, the demand for air conditioning also decreases. When all AC compressors are not working, the pressure on the network also decreases.
Ask any EV driver when they’re charging, and most of them will give you the same answer: at night. It doesn’t make much sense to charge an EV during peak hours when it costs more per kWh to charge it. Instead, people like to charge their car during off-peak hours, or even “super off-peak” hours to save money. It also makes sense for the car to stay still and charge when you’re sitting up and resting in bed.
So even if the record heat returned, it wouldn’t affect most EV drivers much. The few people who absolutely need to recharge during peak hours can still do so because everyone is doing the right thing and reducing power consumption or waiting until it makes sense to recharge from anyway.
Also, it is important to keep in mind that the network is always quite busy during peak hours, and always has been. It makes almost no sense for power companies to spend money building electricity infrastructure that their customers don’t demand. Thus, the market provides what we want when we want it.
The grid has grown and will continue to grow
If we deferred today’s electricity demand to the year 2000 power grid, that grid would fail dramatically. If we place the power demand of 2000 on the network of 1990, this network would also fail.
You see, the grid is not a static, monolithic abstract concept that magically moves electrical energy from its sources to its destinations. It has continued to grow, expand and modernize to meet new demands as they arose. To claim that the 2022 power grid is all there will ever be is not only foolish, but ignorant of history and industry.
When people want to buy more power, generators and grid providers will take that money and give you the power in all but the most extreme circumstances that you wouldn’t be willing to pay more to cover anyway. .
And all of that before considering the impact of home solar power, battery storage, and other semi-grid-independent technologies you can get today. There is also V2G (vehicle-to-grid) technology that can not only ensure that electric vehicles are not a burden on the grid, but also restore power to the grid during emergency demand peaks for the keep afloat (and their owners will also be compensated).
So the sky does not fall. Green ‘libs’ aren’t simultaneously destroying the auto industry and the power grid, and the answer (as usual) isn’t to go back to the 1950s and bring back baby boomer childhood. Things move forward, even if they don’t work out in the worst case scenario, once a century, which lasts a few hours over a few days.
Featured image by Jennifer Sensiba.
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