California Asks Residents Not to Charge Electric Vehicles, Days After Announcing Gas Car Ban
With California’s power grid under strain due to extreme heat and high demand, the utility grid operator is asking residents to avoid charging their electric vehicles. This comes days after the state announced a plan to ban the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035.
California asks residents not to charge electric vehicles, days after announcing gas car ban
CALIFORNIA (WTVO) — With California’s power grid under strain due to extreme heat and high demand, the utility grid operator is asking residents to avoid charging their electric vehicles. This comes days after the state announced a plan to ban the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035.
The California Independent System Operator is asking residents for “voluntary energy conservation” over the Labor Day weekend.
According to the National Weather Service, the western United States is facing a “prolonged and record heat wave.”
“The top three conservation actions are to set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, avoid using large appliances and charging electric vehicles, and turn off unnecessary lights,” the American Public Power Association said, asking residents to limit energy usage during 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
“Today, most people charge their electric cars when they come home in the evening — when electricity demand is typically at its peak,” according to Cornell University’s College of Engineering. “If left unmanaged, the power demanded from many electric vehicles charging simultaneously in the evening will amplify existing peak loads, potentially outstripping the grid’s current capacity to meet demand.”
The regulations passed by the California Air Resources Board last week say that 2035 the state will require automakers to sell only cars that run on electricity or hydrogen, though some can be plug-in hybrids that use gas and batteries. People will still be able to buy used cars that run on gas, and car companies will still sell some plug-in hybrids.
The regulation will help California meet clean air standards by cutting emissions, resulting in a 25% reduction in smog-forming emissions from passenger vehicles by 2037.
California already has the nation’s largest electric vehicle market in the country with over 1.1 million vehicles registered. That comprises 43% of the nation’s plug-in vehicles.
Today, though, there are just 80,000 public charging stations around the state, far short of the 1.2 million the state estimates it needs by 2030.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has made $5 billion in federal money available to states for EV charging stations over five years, under President Joe Biden’s infrastructure law. Under Transportation Department requirements, states must submit plans to the federal government and can begin construction by this fall if they focus first on highway routes, rather than neighborhoods and shopping centers.
The law provides an additional $2.5 billion for local grants, planned for later this year, to fill the remaining gaps in the charging network in rural areas and in disadvantaged communities.
Electric vehicles amounted to less than 3% of U.S. new auto sales last year, but forecasters expect big increases in the next decade.
In the U.S., Massachusetts, Washington, and New York are among states that have set goals to transform their car markets or have already committed to following California’s new rules.
Californians Told Not to Charge Electric Cars Days After Gas Car Sales Ban
Californians may need to take measures to conserve energy, including by avoiding charging electric vehicles, to prevent strain to the state’s power grid over the Labor Day weekend, officials said—a week after state regulators voted on a plan to ban the sale of gasoline-powered cars.
The new policy, approved by the California Air Resources Board, will require all new cars sold in California to be free of greenhouse gas emissions by 2035 as part of an effort to fight climate change.
But with a heat wave forecast for the coming days, California’s grid operator on Tuesday warned that the excessive heat would stress the energy grid and conservation may be needed over the holiday weekend to avert power outages.
The California Independent System Operator said it issued an order restricting maintenance operations from August 31 through September 6 to ensure that all generators and transmission lines are in service.
In a news release, the California ISO said it expects that it will issue calls for voluntary conservation of electricity through Flex alerts over the long weekend.
Traffic moves along Highway 101 on August 24, 2022 in Mill Valley, California
“During a Flex Alert, consumers are urged to reduce energy use from 4-9 p.m. when the system is most stressed because demand for electricity remains high and there is less solar energy available,” the release said.
The top conservation actions are to set thermostats to 78 degrees or higher to reduce air conditioner use, avoid using large appliances and charging electric vehicles, and turn off unnecessary lights, it said.
“Lowering electricity use during that time will ease strain on the system, and prevent more drastic measures, including rotating power outages,” it added.
Some on social media pointed out that conflicting messages were being sent to Californians.
“California recently ruled to ban gas powered cars by 2035 but just put out a warning to ‘avoid charging electric vehicles’ due to power grid issues and blackouts,” The Hodgetwins—conservative comedians Keith and Kevin Hodge—wrote in a tweet.
Robby Starbuck, a former Republican congressional candidate in Tennessee, wrote: “This comes days after California became the first state to ban gas cars by 2035 which means massive pain for the grid there when everyone is forced to drive only electric cars. Toddlers could run a state more competently than Democrats.”
California’s Democratic Governor, Gavin Newsom, hailed the new rule requiring all car sales to be zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by 2035 as a “groundbreaking” effort to tackle the climate crisis.
“We can solve this climate crisis if we focus on the big, bold steps necessary to cut pollution,” he said in a statement on August 25.
“This plan’s yearly targets—35 percent ZEV sales by 2026, 68 percent by 2030, and 100 percent by 2035—provide our roadmap to reducing dangerous carbon emissions and moving away from fossil fuels. That’s 915 million oil barrels’ worth of emissions that won’t pollute our communities.”
Newsom said the $10 billion the state was investing in making the transition would make it “easier and cheaper for all Californians to purchase electric cars.”
The California ISO and Newsom’s office have been contacted for further comment.