By 2035, the chief automakers will have turned away from the internal combustion engine. It’ll be up to the grid to fuel all those new cars, trucks and buses.
Converting the nation’s fleet of automobiles and trucks to electric power is a critical piece of the battle against climate change. The Biden administration wants to see them account for half of all sales by 2030, and New York state has enacted a ban on the sale of internal combustion cars and trucks starting in 2035.
But making America’s cars go electric is no longer primarily a story about building the cars. Against this ambitious backdrop, America’s electric grid will be sorely challenged by the need to deliver clean power to those cars. Today, though, it barely functions in times of ordinary stress, and fails altogether too often for comfort, as widespread blackouts in California, Texas, Louisiana and elsewhere have shown.
By 2030, according to one study, the nation will need to invest as much as $125 billion in the grid to allow it to handle electric vehicles. The current infrastructure bill before Congress puts about $5 billion toward transmission line construction and upgrades.
Sorry, Will. My immediate reaction to your article – necessary as it is to light a fire under the butts of what passes for politicians in the GOUSA – are three rather commonplace aspects of what you fear that aren’t especially scary after all.
First, $125 billion over 9 years or so averages out to less than $14 billion/year. Less than production costs of several F-35s. Not counting cost of flying and maintaining our military pets.
Second, the cost per mile traveled by this conversion from infernal combustion to electric vehicles looks to be continuing to decline over this period – counter to the existing tab for fuel-burners. A cost divided between private and public bill payers.
Third, is my favorite because hardly anyone recognizes that, in practice, most folks will be trickle-charging overnight for next-day use. The lowest possible increase in grid-load. Especially compared to past crashes worrying the author. Most all resulting from millions of folks turning on the least efficient use of electricity there could be. Running air conditioners.