How Will Utilities Deal with Electric-Vehicle Charging and Stressed Electric Grids?

California and other states are scrambling to find electricity this summer amid record heat, with a growing risk of blackouts. The Texas power grid that failed in February winter storms, leaving millions of homes and business without power and resulting in more than 100 deaths, has already had 1,280 summer outages. If our power grids already can’t handle the extremes being caused by climate change, how are they going to handle the addition of battery-electric vehicles?

A 2019 study by the U.S. Department of Energy estimated that increased demand for electricity — much of that for electric vehicles — could see a 38% increase in energy demand by 2050. And the Biden administration wants to build 500,000 EV chargers and “electrify thousands of school and transit buses across the country.” As Reuters recently reported, the city of Austin, Texas, has budgeted $650 million over 20 years for electric buses and a charging facility for 187 such vehicles.