California Pleaded Residents Not To Charge EVs During a Busy Holiday Weekend

California asked residents to limit unnecessary electricity consumption as a heat wave threatened to strain the state's power grid to the breaking point.
Written by Andrew Kidd
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Sep 23, 2022
With the effects of
climate change
manifesting via more frequent severe weather events, heat waves, and cold snaps, governments around the world—like
California
—are finding ways to ensure their utility services remain functional.

Conserving power to save the grid

By
Fox Business’
account, you'd think that California's power grid was about ready to implode after a recent heat wave caused officials to urge residents to cut back on unnecessary electricity usage over the Labor Day weekend. 
Specifically, the government requested residents limit their thermostats to 78 degrees, as well as turn off large appliances and unplug their electric vehicles.

Did California lose power?

In California's case, however, the power grid was held over the holiday weekend. 
The state avoided ordering rolling blackouts to ease the load on the grid, with Gov. Gavin Newsom criticizing anti-environmentalists for claiming the state's power grid would fail because of its increasing reliance on renewable energy.

Will electric vehicles doom power grids?

While charging an electric vehicle will up your electric bill, fears that mass adoption of electric vehicles would royally screw over power grids around the nation might be unfounded;
Axios
reports that California's 680,000 registered electric vehicles make up just 1 percent of the state's total power demand.
And
more electric vehicles
on the grid could ultimately reduce the strain placed on it during peak hours by pumping electricity back into the network. 
California has already banned the sale of new gas-powered cars starting in
2035
, meaning the transition to more electric vehicles is a done deal unless another career politician reverses the order for clout among their constituents.
It's not a much different scenario than Texas, which, despite having just 80,000 electric vehicles registered in the state per the
Department of Energy
, faced its own power crisis in 2021 after several severe winter storms swept the state. 
These unprecedented storms strained the Texan power grid due to a lack of cold-hardy equipment, with some areas seeing lengthy blackouts amid freezing temperatures as the grid failed under the strain.

How could electric vehicles have prevented that?

Some automakers have already touted the capabilities of bidirectional charging, and the Department of Energy asserts that bidirectional electric vehicles could be employed as mobile battery storage to make smaller buildings more resilient by providing backup power through vehicle-to-grid charging. 
The same general strategy can be employed on a larger scale by utilities once electric vehicles are more widely adopted.
While electric vehicle owners in Texas and California would likely not be able to charge their vehicles in the event of a blackout, they'd still be able to power their own homes if their vehicles were so equipped.
That means if the power grid fails, they could be sitting relatively comfortably for a while instead of cleaning spoiled food out the fridge—or, you know, freezing to death.

Save where you can

With the wider adoption of electric vehicles in the future, you'll likely see the associated costs go down, including insurance. But until then, electric cars can be a little more expensive to cover.
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