Where Will the Electricity for Electric Cars Come From?

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As the market for electric vehicles (EVs) continues to grow, countries will need to invest in utilities to power them. For EVs to reduce pollution, electric cars need to be powered by renewable energy instead of coal and natural gas.
EVs will likely become more widespread in the next few years. However, without the clean energy capacity to power them, they might just require the U.S. to use up more fossil fuel.
Industries like public transportation and delivery are interested in implementing electric fleets, but are still weighing the costs. What does the U.S. need to do to accelerate the adoption of EVs?
Painted electric car charging sign with green background
More electric cars means more electricity will be needed to fuel them.

What are some obstacles to electric vehicle adoption?

Many public transportation companies are beginning to put more EVs into action across the country. Companies see an opportunity to decrease gas usage and eventually save money. However, the limited power supply will be an obstacle to expanding EV usage.
According to Reuters, California has an aggressive plan to phase out gas and diesel-powered cars by 2035. But, the U.S. power supply relies heavily on coal and natural gas. Electricity needs to come from renewable sources like wind and solar to minimize emissions from powering EVs.
To reduce the strain on the power grid, electricity needs to be stored. This can be done through battery technology. Commercial EVs with large batteries can also feed energy back into the grid during peak demand by using bi-directional chargers.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that the electrification of transportation will require double the electric grid capacity by 2050.

Consumers may face higher energy bills

Boston Consulting Group reported that if 40 million EVs are on the road, a utility company might need up to $200 billion in grid upgrades.
Xcel Energy was approved to spend $110 million on EV charging infrastructure in Colorado, as reported by Reuters. This plan is expected to add 65 cents per month on the utility bill for residents. If these power grid upgrades aren’t managed properly, it can become a heavy financial burden for consumers.
Many automakers, utility companies, and states are investing in charging infrastructure, but a lot more funding will be needed as the demand for EVs grows.

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