Could Electric Vehicles Be a Threat To Our Grid?
Electric vehicles (EV) are touted as the solution for all our environmental problems. Governments, public intellectuals, and environmental activists all over the world say that switching from fossil fuel based vehicles to electric vehicles is absolutely essential in the long run.
There is, however, one factor that everyone seems to overlook – either inadvertently or deliberately. EVs require large amounts of electricity and a mass adoption of these vehicles could disrupt our grid.
EV – High Demand for Electricity
A recent study by Wood Mackenzie warns that given the current condition of our grid, a mass adoption of electric vehicles could have adverse consequences. It says that if we were to charge 60,000 EVs simultaneously, we would end up disrupting the Texas grid.
If we assume that each EV has a 100-kilowatt battery and a charging time of five minutes (which is awesome and much better than 6 hours!), the amount of electricity needed to charge 60,000 vehicles at the same time would be around 72 gigawatts, which is humongous. It is equivalent to the peak demand of ERCOT (Electricity Reliability Council of Texas), which should give you an idea as to just how power-intensive the whole process is.
Currently, the scenario is unlikely to happen because there are very few EVs on our streets and even those who own these vehicles tend to charge them at night, when there is a surplus of power. The situation, however, could change if a significant percentage of car owners decide to switch from gasoline-powered cars to electric vehicles.
Going to gas stations is terrible and monotonous but America’s grid needs to be improved before thousands of more people switch over to electric vehicles. Filling up your car with gas is tedious and boring but until car batteries can be charged in about 10 minutes or less for electric cars fuel consumption cars will continue to be the dominate type on the roads.
EVs Depend on Natural Gas Too
What is ironic is that environmental activists say that EVs could reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and create a cleaner environment for our future generations, while the electricity required for these vehicles comes mostly from coal and natural gas.
Of course, other sources such as nuclear and renewables also contribute towards power generation, but coal and natural gas account for nearly 80% of electricity generated in our country. Moreover, there is no way nuclear or renewable energy sources by themselves can fulfill the enormous energy needs of EVs. But America is loaded with coal and natural gas.
Unreliability of Renewables
Renewable energy sources like wind and solar are inherently unstable and unreliable, as weather conditions keep changing frequently. So, unless we set up power plants with gigantic batteries that are capable of storing large amounts of power (these large batteries would have to be charged up somehow as well), we have to rely on coal and natural gas for our electricity needs.
EVs – Not a Panacea for Our Problems
Electric vehicles are golden in the sense that they offer us an alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles. They certainly can lessen our dependence on fossil fuels in the long term. However, a complete and total shift from fossil fuel powered vehicles to electric vehicles – an idea that countries like Norway are experimenting with – might not be possible (or even wanted) in the United States in the foreseeable future.
Our first priority now should be repairing and strengthening our electric grid, which has a direct impact on the lives of millions of Americans. Until we do it, a mass adoption of electric vehicles is not only impossible, but could be downright harmful to our grid and our way of life. It will not be ideal to live in a situation where we can power up our car at the sake of operating the refrigerator, flat screen, computer, oven, and so on in your home!
We do not want to live like those in disgusting communist Cuba! You know the country Hollywood continues to act like it is so wonderful to live in (though Fast 8 was still impressive!)!