SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Jeremy Arent, of Southwestern Electric Power Company, says three questions must be answered before we can understand whether the United States is ready for the increased demand electric vehicles would place on the nation’s power grid.
First, how much energy do electric vehicles require? How much power does the United States produce? And lastly, what is the rate of electric vehicle adoption in this country?
How much electricity do EVs use?
In a video released by SWEPCO and posted to Facebook, Arent says the United States Department of Transportation estimates 230 million drivers in the country. He also explains that Car and Driver calculates each American driver registers 13,500 miles annually.
Americans, therefore, drive 3.1 trillion miles a year.
Arent recently drove from Fayetteville, Ar. to Shreveport, La., in an electric vehicle on behalf of SWEPCO, and posted a video about his trip.
He estimates that the amount of electricity needed in our grid system if all American cars were electric would be 1.1 trillion kWh.
How much electricity does the United States produce?
According to Arent, in 1950, the United States produced 350 kWh of electricity, but by 1960 the number had more than doubled to 760 kWh. By 2020 the number had leaped to 4.1 trillion kWh.
He says we’ll need an additional 1.1 trillion kWh to power electric vehicles if we mass adopt them. But we don’t see mass adoption in the United States.
How quickly are we transitioning to EVs?
The current rate of electric vehicle adoption is 2%, but it’s steadily increasing. By 2030, EVs are expected to make up 19% of US auto sales.
“The grid can absolutely handle electric vehicles. Even if 20% of drivers switched to EVs overnight, these EVs would only need a little more than 5% of the country’s electricity output,” says Arent.
In the 1950s, one of the main reasons for doubling electricity needs was the air conditioner’s sudden affordability.
What do AC units have to do with electric cars?
“There were obstacles to overcome with the mass adoption of AC units, just as there are obstacles and hurdles to overcome with the adoption of EVs,” Aren’t says. “But utilities can meet this challenge. Our grid can handle the change, and years down the road, we’ll all be appreciative that utilities and other key stakeholders were up to the challenge.”
For more information on electric vehicles and the grid system, visit SWEPCO.com/Drive.