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Published on February 9th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan


More Fun With Numbers…

February 9th, 2013 by  

Here’s some more fun with numbers from one of our readers that we thought was worth sharing. The topic is: “if we all drove EVs and got 100% of our EV electricity needs from wind.”

Wind turbine & EV in field via Shutterstock.

First, some key assumptions:

  • Average miles driven per US car in 2010 was 13,476.
  • EVs use roughly 0.3 kWh of electricity per mile.
  • That’s 4,043 kWh needed per year to drive 13,476 miles.
  • That works out to 11 kWh per day.

The DOE estimates that, in 2007, the number of US cars on the road was 254,400,000.

If all our cars were EVs, we would need to generate 2,798,400,000 kWh per day. Rounding up, let’s make that 2,798,500 MWh per day.

The average size of a wind turbine in the US has a power capacity of 3 MW. Using the average size, a wind turbine will produce 30.1 MWh per day (3 MW x 24 hours x 43% capacity).

To power 254.4 million EVs, we would need 92,973 3MW turbines.

At 0.25 acres per turbine, the total land required would be 23,243 acres.

For some perspective, the island of Manhattan contains 15,168 acres; Disney World covers 30,500 acres; and Washington, DC covers 43,712 acres.

Add in some losses for transmission and battery charging and the point is that we could get all the electricity needed to charge every car and light truck in the US with two Manhattans, one Disney World, or less than one Washington, DC. 


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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.

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