A common soundbite against electric vehicles is that our nation’s power grid is already falling over, and we’ll need massive amounts more power to charge electric cars. A common retort is that we already have enough power or that the decrease in power hungry oil refinement will offset the change. As is usually the case, reality is somewhere in the middle.
If everyone switched over to an electric vehicle today, we’d need about a 25% increase in power production. That’s a lot, but it’s not going to happen overnight or even this decade. This article from the New York Times dives into the topic with a good overview and then there’s even more backing data in a reports from University of Texas at Austin’s Energy Institute and the Rocky Mountain Institute.
Power companies have been planning for this for a while and they have a demand curve to work with as consumers switch over when they’re ready. It’s an issue that needs to be carefully planned for and there will be bumps in the road, but it’s not a non-starter for electric vehicles. It will also be interesting to see what kind of benefits we get from the grid of the future when huge numbers of cars are able to feed power back into the grid as needed.