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jca2's avatar

How is the electrical grid in the state of California going to handle so many electric cars when they can't handle the electrical demand from very hot weather?

Asked by jca2 (16472points) September 8th, 2022
25 responses
“Great Question” (5points)

As you may know, California is going to outlaw the sale of electric cars within just a few years. This is to benefit the climate, and I get it. As you may also know, it’s been very hot in the west for the past few summers. Right now, parts of California are over 105 degrees – record heat or near record heat. They’re asking residents to please try to minimize use of air conditioners, and some businesses are closing early to help (by being able to shut down their cooling systems).

How is the state going to handle the electrical demand for having to charge vehicles, when they can’t handle the electrical demand right now?

I’m all for electric cars and helping the climate, but I’m not comprehending how this is going to work.

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jca2's avatar

Sorry, too late to edit: California is going to outlaw the sale of gas cars.

elbanditoroso's avatar

In the meantime, they are going to postpone the closing of California’s last nuclear power station (closing it was an idiotically dumb idea in the first place) in order to provide power until that day in the future when all energy is renewable.

The fact is that the anti-nuke environmentalists really screwed California over. And now they’re seeing the results of their misguided and immature policies.

Forever_Free's avatar

Today’s grid may not be able to support it. It all boils down to: Are you charging during the time solar power is on?

I suspect there will be tariffs to move people to charge during certain times of the day.
Here is a study that Stanford did relative to electricity demands from EV

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Without more baseload generation, it can’t. Perhaps if enough people leave and those that remain continue to become homeless at rates we are seeing now the demand will shift below current generation. Ideology has put Cali in a corner.

Demosthenes's avatar

I would also like to know where all that lithium is going to come from. There are concerns that progressive Latin American regimes may no longer sell all their lithium to the U.S. as they’re doing now. In that case, we may have to support some right-wing coups. This time it won’t be over bananas.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

We just don’t have enough lithium at the moment. Supply is expected to start becoming severely stretched in just a couple of years. That’s more of an extraction/supply chain problem though. There are other “conflict minerals” that are in tight supply also.

Demosthenes's avatar

^True. One hopes there might eventually be a different battery technology, but people probably thought there might be an alternative to the internal combustion engine in gas-fueled cars, and that never happened.

Re. charging: one difference between EV charging and AC usage during a heat wave is EV charging doesn’t spike. AC usage spikes during the hottest part of the day when the temperature spikes. EV charing is more predictable. Additionally, many people charge in the evening or overnight when power usage is low otherwise. There may need to be some policies on charging times.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

The way we all live frankly needs to be planned, designed and optimized. Cities and suburbia built in places that require year round climate control, lots of commuting people and goods around and useless or unnecessary infrastructure need to be eliminated or reduced. If people want to live sustainably without nuclear power they’re going to have to give up things like air conditioning, street lights, hot water and shopping centers.

kritiper's avatar

Just another of the issues that will surround the onslaught of electric cars!

jca2's avatar

@Blackwater_Park: Do you think it would be practical to eliminate air conditioning in 105 degree weather? And regardless of the weather, street lights or hot water? Shopping centers, maybe lol.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@jca2 People did it for thousands of years. We can build dwellings that don’t get that hot and we can choose not to live in the friggin desert. We can engineer ways to not need street lights, or much travel. We can easily have “warm” water without using electricity. People just don’t like it. Same people often cry for sustainability. They’re ok with it as long as it does not impact them.

jca2's avatar

@Blackwater_Park: I understand your point, but at this point, the only solution then would be to knock all the buildings down and tell all the people that live south of the middle of the state that they have to move to another part of the country. The buildings are already built, the people already live in them, the desert is already inhabited. It’s not practical the way it is, yes, but on the other hand, the problem is of such a massive scale it wouldn’t be practical to eliminate the buildings or the AC either, or to restrict travel.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@jca2 Yes, so my point: Nuclear power, time to get on board with it.

Demosthenes's avatar

Meh, the desert may need to be vacated anyway when the water runs out.

RocketGuy's avatar

The CA on new ICE cars takes effect in 2035. People can rush to get new ICE in 2034. By that time EV should be more affordable. In the next 13 years CA will have to figure out additional sources for non-CO2 producing power. Probably more wind and solar.

kritiper's avatar

I predict that in California especially, MANY new gasoline powered cars will be sold in 2034.

Zaku's avatar

@Blackwater_Park Oh, I thought your point was there are ways to be less energy-dependent.

RocketGuy's avatar

Nuclear power doesn’t produce CO2, and contrary to popular belief it does not generate as much toxic waste and human death as coal.

WhyNow's avatar

Maybe the 2035 goal is to spur innovation in new energy tech… that could happen.
I see a tech explosion in innovation coming.

But for now it’s a political goal imposed on Californians today by the elites and
America totally tomorrow and the world the next day.

And if something goes wrong… we could always blame trump.

RocketGuy's avatar

A lot of people are really worried about “elites” controlling them. Why don’t they work to become an “elite” and take control of their own lives?

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@Zaku you going to give up ac and hot water?

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@RocketGuy Wind and solar just won’t supply the demand. People claim it will but they’re not living in the same reality. It can supplement it but honestly, nuclear is what we desperately need in a real hurry.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

More powerplants will be built. Even burning gasoline to make electricity would be an improvement, due to economies of scale.

In 1908 when the Ford Model T was introduced, there were people moaning that the rarity of fueling stations would doom the automobile, when stables to feed and water carriage horses were ubiquitous.

RocketGuy's avatar

And gas powered cars will still be around, just as horses are still around.

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