How the grid will handle all cars being electric

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When California announced it will ban the sale of new gasoline cars in 2035, a lot of people wondered how the electric grid would handle all that new electrical demand.

The answer is (almost) "easy-peasy" thanks to solar being cheap if you have storage tech, and cars all have storage.

I outline why in a new Forbes.com article at The grid will handle it

Comments

I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of charging continues to happen at night for a very long time. At night you can easily own the charging equipment, and owning your own equipment tends to be much more efficient than renting it out.

Maybe California will be an exception to that. Politicians can always force things to be done in an inefficient way, after all, and California is notorious for that.

No question that night is the natural time to do it. But if we have an all electric fleet, the demand at night will get high, and the price will go up until it pushes more people not to charge at night.

In a grid that's all renewable, night power will be only nukes and storage. But it's unclear how many more nukes we will build. (Hydro is a combination of renewable power with "built in" storage in that you can choose when you release it but you want to release as much energy as nature gave you so you might release at night.) And the night wind definitely wants somewhere to put its energy. But California still pulls around 19gw at night without very many electric cars.

On the other hand electricity is a pretty cheap way to power cars. So if storage is cheap and can be built, and it costs a small amount to put energy into the storage and get it out, some people will pay that for the convenience. But most cars, other than taxis, stay parked most of the day, just not as reliably as the night.

Will we have an all-electric fleet? Will we have a grid that is 100% "renewable"?

Maybe we will, but costs are going to go up a lot to support that.

Right now solar is the cheapest form of power to install -- if you can sell it when it's sunny. Many things point to it getting even cheaper than that. Cheaper even than the fracked natural gas to put in an existing gas plant, even if you don't make them pay for the externalities of that plant.

So why does that make costs go up?

Read your post right above mine.

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