Cars

Published on May 11th, 2016 | by Michael Barnard

57

Will Electric Cars Break The Grid?

May 11th, 2016 by  

Running our automobiles on electricity instead of gasoline shifts energy requirements from gas pumps to the grid. What’s going to happen when significant numbers of cars are plugged in at night?

model-sGiven the increase in expected delivery of Teslas to 500,000 in 2018 and the announcements by multiple car manufacturers that they would have several fully electric cars in their lineups in the next handful of years, let’s look at a 2021, five-year view as well as a 2040 view.

What’s the net? Electric cars aren’t going to break or even dent the grid. By 2021, global electrical consumption might increase by 0.16% to 1.5%. By 2040, things start to get interesting with 5% to 45% increases in global electrical consumption, but that increased demand is still a lot less than what we are putting in with renewables annually. There is no grid in the world today which will begin to struggle with likely penetration of electric cars by 2021.

In order to play out the scenarios, we need to know how many electric cars will be on the road, how far they will be driven, and how much electricity they will consume.

  • I had already built a two-scenario model with what I believed were aggressive and more aggressive penetration rates. Tesla’s latest announcement merely makes the only aggressive target more likely. I built it to determine when gasoline consumption would start to fall due to electric cars — a long time, unfortunately — but it can also be used to estimate potential demand increases for electricity. According to the model, in 2021, there will be 25 to 50 million electric cars on the road globally of the over one billion cars that will be running at the time. That’s about 2.5% to 5%. Note that there are both less and more aggressive models out there that use different assumptions.
  • Average distances driven vary globally, from the highest in the USA of 21,561 kilometres annually down to the European average which is around 12,800 annually.
  • Electric car gas mileage equivalent ranges from about 22 to 35 kWh / 100 kilometres.
  • Finally, many electric cars will still be second cars in 2021 but many won’t. For the purposes of this assessment, let’s assume from 50% to 90% of annual mileage by owners will be done in electric cars. Obviously, by 2040, the high end is more likely.

Given these assumptions, some simple math tells us that, in 2021, global annual electrical demand from electric cars would range from a low of 35 TWh to a high of about 340 TWh, with an average of 129 TWh.

Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.41.00 AMThat’s a lot of electricity, but it’s worth assessing in terms of the global generation of electricity. Taking the 2012 number of 22,668 TWH, we can see that consumption of electricity from electric cars ranges from 0.16% of total annual electrical generation to 1.5%, with an average of 0.6%.

Well, that’s not going to keep any utility managers up at night worrying about how they will meet the demand in the near term.

But electric car penetration will be uneven, so some locations will see higher numbers — California, Norway, and Japan being obvious examples. Higher penetrations will mean more electrical demand in specific geographies.

california_simpleLet’s take the California example and play out an extreme-case scenario. Let’s assume that 10% of all cars on the road are electric, that they are the primary vehicle of 90% of drivers, and they are all 35 kWh/ 100 km Teslas. In 2014, there were about 28.7 million cars registered in California. Let’s assume that number goes up to 30 million by 2021 for round numbers’ sake, giving about 3 million electric cars on the road. That gives an annual electrical consumption of about 20 TWh.

California currently is generating about 200 TWh of electricity annually and consuming about 260 TWh (it’s a net electricity importer). So California would see about an 8% rise in demand from electric cars in the extreme case. There is a lot of excess capacity on every grid and most of the demand will be at night, when there’s even more excess, so there won’t be any issues due to this at all. Electric cars won’t be increasing peak loads by more than a small fraction.

That increased demand is actually good news, though, as electrical demand is flat or falling outright due to efficiencies and continued shifts to post-industrial economies and rooftop solar in California is cutting into utilities’ revenues. Electrification of transportation is a rare good-news story for utilities, and one of the reasons why buying an electric car is systemically virtuous; decarbonization costs money and this gives utilities more money.

f3e27d02c57d6d6d9185328bb2ec5982What about the Norwegian example? They already have 3% penetration of electric cars and about 40,000 electric vehicles were sold in Norway in 2015 alone. It could conceivably achieve 20% of total vehicles on the road being electric by 2021, or around 520,000 cars. Assuming European average distances driven but 100% of it in Teslas, that would require about 2.3 TWh annually, or about 2% of Norway’s annual demand of 114 TWh. Once again, most of the load is outside of peak, so this isn’t a concern. Norway is an outlier in electrical usage, however, as its massive hydroelectric capacity has led to governmental policies strongly encouraging the use of electricity in many areas where other countries use fossil fuels. Its per capita use of electricity is 3 times that of the rest of Europe.

japan-map-cities-korea-china-russiaWhat about Japan, a country with lots of electric cars — in fact, one of the global leaders — and a challenged electrical grid? There have been over 120,000 plug-in electric cars sold there since 2009, giving it the third-largest fleet in the world, but that’s against a backdrop of roughly 75 million cars on the road over the 127 million residents, or about 1.6% of all cars. Japanese consumption of electricity per capita is much lower than the USA or Norway, about 60% and 34%, respectively, with an annual consumption of about 989 TWh in 2012. Fukushima took a great deal of generation offline, and Japan is only now starting to regain its generation capacity. Let’s assume that Japan achieves 10% of all cars being electric by 2021, that they are used for 100% of kilometres driven, and that European average distances are driven. This would lead to a total demand for electric cars in 2012 of about 34 TWh, or about 3.4% of total generation. Even in the electricity-constrained circumstances of Japan, this level of increase of off-peak demand isn’t an issue.

Projecting out further sees greater impacts. In 2040, the model suggests a 38% to 77% electric car penetration. That would be from 868 to 1,520 million electric vehicles on the road, consuming 1,200 to 10,000 TWh annually and an average of 4,100 TWH. At that point, we would see 5% to 45% of 2012 global electrical consumption flowing to cars, if overall generation stayed flat otherwise. Median penetration of electric cars but as primary vehicles is more likely in 2040, so using the 90% of miles being electric we see about 5,300 TWH or 23%. Those are more serious percentages.

However, it’s going to be fairly easy to keep up to that increased demand, as 115 GW of renewable capacity was put into operation globally in 2015, conservatively representing about 250 TWh of annual generation. If we keep hammering in renewables at exactly the same pace — a very conservative assumption as the growth rate continues to accelerate–, we would see about 6,000 TWh of additional annual generation from renewables by 2040, and the median demand from electric cars would consume about 87% of it. If instead renewables continue to grow, it would be reasonable to see 12,000 TWH or 18,000 TWH of new annual generation. At that top end, electric cars would consume about 30% of the new generation, leaving the remaining 70% to displace coal, which it would easily do with room to spare. Even at 12,000 TWH of new renewable generation, coal could be almost completely shut down with room for the electrification of transportation, an outcome much to be desired.

Electric cars aren’t going to break the grid. Anyone who says so isn’t doing the math.


Mea culpa: an earlier version of this article slipped a decimal place on KWH / 100 KM and understated consumption. 





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About the Author

For the past several years Michael has been analyzing and publishing reports and articles on decarbonization technologies, business models and policies. His pieces on electrical generation transformation and electrification of transportation have been published in CleanTechnica, Newsweek, Slate, Forbes, Huffington Post, Quartz, RenewEconomy, RenewablesInternational and Gizmag, as well as included in textbooks. Third-party articles on his analyses and interviews with Mike have been published in dozens of news sites globally and have reached #1 on Reddit Science. Much of his work originates on Quora.com, where Mike has been a Top Writer annually since 2012. He also has published a climate-fiction novel, Guangzhou Future Tense.



  • hybridbear

    Thanks so much for providing the numbers to debunk this FUD.

  • JonathanMaddox

    The electricity numbers given here are out by almost a factor of ten. The total *electricity* consumed in refining a gallon of petrol is just 0.2-0.3 kWh.

    The energy consumption of the refining process is much higher, up to 6kWh per gallon of product, but most of that energy comes from the crude oil feedstock itself. At most refineries a significant fraction is also contributed from natural gas which is also used mainly as chemical feedstock.

  • super390

    Another variable in this dynamic is everyone else’s electricity use. We didn’t predict that the tiny amounts of electricity used by computerized devices would add up because we’d have computers in everything. Now a lot of those functions are being transferred by consumers to their rechargeable cell phones and tablets: TV & recorded media, music, and the traditional desktop computer uses. Yet we don’t seem to get any electricity savings out of it because we just keep buying more devices and running them at the same time.
    The main place where the benefits of portable technology will show up is where the grid is limited or non-existent. The peoples of the 3rd world got their cheap phones and tablets and can’t afford anything else. In order to recharge, some of them now are having to get small solar panels. So any model of “development” where they end up using electricity like Westerners might be obsolete. The future, for most humans, might be an all-portable environment, a sort of cybernetic nomad hopping from one wi-fi hotspot (or charge port) to another. Of course, in that case they’re not going to own cars either.

  • leafer

    This article is about electric cars, ok, but the grid does not care if the power goes to charge a car or truck. My point is that not only cars will drain electricity from grid. Nr of electric busses and lorries, even ferries will (and does) run electric. The nr of these veichles are ofcourse less than nr of cars, but as they have higher consumption pr distance, they will have some degree of impact to total consumption. Is this something this article should discuss as well? A minor thing regarding EV’s is that since more and more cars will be equipped with the ability for towing (caravans, boats etc) the average consumtion will increase. Not much though.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The US grid has a very large amount of unused generation capacity late at night. It won’t be hard to keep ahead of increased demand created by the electrification of transportation – private and commercial vehicles.

      In fact, we should see demand for non-vehicle use continue to shrink as the stuff we plug in becomes more efficient and as we add solar panels to roofs.

    • There is no need to guess. Looking at the fuel consumption in my country as provided by CBS, heavy trucks and buses consume about half as much motor fuels as cars. Hence, they will also add half as much extra load to the grid as LDV’s.

  • OneHundredbyFifty

    A quick and dirty look at EV impact on demand.

    A Leaf battery is about 25kwhr. A Model 3 will probably be 50kwhr. The current average household electricity use is just under 1000kwhr / month. And residential use is about 37% of total US use*. If we assume a time when many households have 2 EVs and use averages out to 20kwhr per household each day then we are looking at an additional 600kwhr on top of the 1000 kwhr or a 60% increase in residential electricity use. But residential is only 37% of the total. So this works out to a little under 20% increase in demand in a very high penetration scenario.

    Consider that, using crude methods to incentivize load shifting, it has already been shown that EV owners will load shift in response to economic incentives (see graph at the bottom of this piece –
    http://cleantechnica.com/2015/08/21/load-shifting-with-electric-vehicles-is-a-great-match-to-wind-in-many-areas/
    .) In coming years much more sophisticated mechanisms are likely to be deployed so that cars can do some of their charging in response to price signals. Then we will have a situation where the EVs can absorb over production from variable renewables reducing the need for curtailment and bringing additional value to those resources

    When all is said and done, a 20% increase in demand over 15 – 20 years is not going to break anyone’s grid. And in the case of EVs, which are partially dispatchable loads, they will actually make the grid more robust.

    * https://www.epa.gov/energy/electricity-system

  • Are Hansen

    This discussion has already happened in Norway, and those in the know say this will be no problem. In any case we export a lot of electricity, and if we had too little we would just have to export less.
    BTW: the total sales of electric cars in Norway in 2015 was not 40.000, but 25.000. About 17% of all new cars

  • My simple back-of-the envelope calculation has always led to the conclusion that if all LDV’s switched to electricity overnight, that would increase consumption by ~20%. Add heavy trucks and buses, and you’re looking at ~30% (in a developed nation). This change won’t happen overnight, the grid will have ample time to adapt.

    The only place where I can see upgrades necessary is for the trunk lines going into residential neighbourhoods, as the combined power used by vehicles charging collectively might be more than they were designed for.

    Other than that, there will likely be no problem.

    • Bob_Wallace

      If most charging is done after midnight then the feeder lines should be more than adequate. Think about how much power a house can draw when the family turns on TVs, fires up the dishwasher or washing machine, sticks dinner in the oven, and cranks up the AC.

      The weak link, I understand, may be neighborhood transformers which were sized expecting an opportunity to cool down at night. Keeping them hot around the clock could shorten their lifespans.

    • jonesey

      Yep, this is the back of the envelope analysis I did for our local US county of about 300,000 people (and about 300,000 registered vehicles). Converting all of those vehicles to electricity would add about 25% to the average electricity demand. Taken over a ten-year period, for example, this is 2.2% per year, which is no problem for utilities to keep up with. Growth rates were much higher from 1950 through 1980, and they are much higher now for some utilities, especially those where data centers are going in.

      That said, there will be localized hotspots where the neighborhood distribution networks need to be upgraded. This is true whether the load increase is due to EVs, legal indoor marijuana growing, bitcoin mining, or any other new load-intensive activity. The utilities should be happy to do those upgrades, because they will be able to recoup their expenses from the kWh that they will sell over the long term to EV owners. And new electric meters can send data to the utility that tell them exactly which transformers need to be upgraded before they overheat.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Seems like the utility wouldn’t even need new meters. As long as meters are read periodically the utility should see use increases in a neighborhood. Even the ‘meter reader’ numbers are going to be in computers these days.

    • OneHundredbyFifty

      Just did it above before finding your post and we are in agreement. Since EVs can be set to charge at night after demand drops I think it is unlikely that they will need to run more lines.

  • Bob_Wallace

    That’s a very interesting video. 4.5 kWh of grid electricity used to refine a gallon of gasoline. I’d like to know if the UK refineries are generating any electricity on site like the California refineries.

    • Brunel

      They probably have a lot of waste heat that could be used to make electrons. Maybe not viable in small refineries.

      • Bob_Wallace

        California refineries use a lot of the petroleum, natural gas and coal/coke to generate electricity on site. That means that they purchase a lot less electricity from the grid. Taking a CA refinery off the air wouldn’t free up much grid supply. Sounds like UK refineries are more reliant on the grid for energy.

        • super390

          But then you could argue that on-site generation is just a detached, closed-off part of the grid; burning your own byproducts still produces pollution, and those byproducts might have been used for some other purpose, just like the rest of the crude oil. Since refineries are supposed to be flexible and be able to change their product mix, you could hypothetically change it up so that the on-site generation was available to be connected to the grid, at the cost of producing less gasoline.
          Conversely, one could argue that some of that on-site generation already goes into non-gasoline products. The companies aren’t going to give out details that specific because they’re trade secrets.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Refinery onsite generation will not turn into grid generation if the refinery stops operation. Only electricity purchased from the grid by the refinery will show up as demand savings.

    • JonathanMaddox

      It’s just 0.2-0.3 kWh of *electricity* used in refining. Llewellyn conflated electricity and energy. Rookie mistake.

      As far as I know no UK refineries generate electricity on the premises, but several were co-located alongside coal- or gas-fired power stations and bought in not only power but also steam. In many cases those power stations have closed while the oil refinery continues to operate.

  • jeffhre

    “That increased demand is actually good news, though, as electrical demand is flat or falling outright due to efficiencies and continued shifts to post-industrial economies and rooftop solar in California is cutting into utilities’ revenues. Electrification of transportation is a rare good-news story for utilities.”

    Once you begin to eliminate…pumping oil through pipelines to refineries, the electrical load on grids to refine gasoline, the pumping of billions of gallons of water via aqueducts used to refine gasoline, the pumping of gasoline in pipelines to outlying transfer centers, the pumping of gas in customer tanks at retail stores – sorry utilities the news is ultimately not that great.

  • JimBouton

    “There have been over 120,000 plug-in electric cars sold there since 2009, giving it the third-largest fleet in the world, but that’s against a backdrop of roughly 75 million cars on the road over the 127 million residents, or about 1.6% of all cars.”

    I think the number should be .16%, not 1.6%.

    Good article, though!

  • Yeah, I slipped a digit somewhere. Worse, I was citing my own article which had accurate numbers. I’ve asked for it to be taken down for corrections.

    • OneHundredbyFifty

      And this is why you will continue to be a trusted author. Kudos for acknowledging and fixing.

      BTW, in the long run I think it works out pretty optimally. If EVs were negligible that would also make them negligible as distributed storage. But while they won’t break the grid they are non-negligible. With their great load shifting flexibility they can have excellent synergies with renewables and actually strengthen rather than weaken the grid.

  • Bob_Wallace

    Some amount of grid electricity is used by oil extraction, refining and distribution. As we burn a gallon less we free some kWhs that can be used to offset EV draw.

    I’ve tried to nail down the amount. There are people who claim that the electricity in a gallon of gas is quite high, but I think they are including electricity generated from coal and oil inside the refinery.

    This is a good read –

    http://www.hybridcars.com/the-oil-sands-surprising-new-nemesis-plug-in-vehicles/

    I ran the numbers for California refineries and found only 0.16 kWh of purchased electricity per gallon. Total energy use worked out to 3.14 kWh/gallon but most was petroleum and coal/coke sourced.

    • jeffhre

      Yes, for some reason, since the 1990’s oil companies have not wanted to release this information. The days of plant managers bragging that the local utility set up a generation plant just for their needs are over 🙂

  • Adrian

    Y’all are overthinking this. Betteridge’s law of headlines says “No.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge's_law_of_headlines

    Also, 0.4kWh of electric use per gallon of refined gasoline. The US consumes 21 million barrels of oil per day. 70% used for transportation. Roughly 50% of that is gasoline. 21 gallons of gasoline per barrel = 61.7GWh/day for refining gasoline?

    That would enable a few miles of electric driving, no?

  • Freddy D

    Is this fundamentally any different than the rollout of electric cooktops in the 1950s or central air conditioning in the 1970s? Both incremental 5000 watt appliances that necessitated that distribution circuits and homes be re-conductored? Not really. The rewiring was done and all was fine.

    • JamesWimberley

      Fast chargers are on a different scale. Soluble, sure.

      Zach won’t like me saying it, but Tesla’s free supercharging is economically perverse. We want to encourage slow charging at home or workplace, which is benign for the grid. Fast charging imposes grid upgrade costs, which should be paid for.

      • Brunel

        Agree. Electrons do cost money.

        90kWh of electrons = $18.

        People will avoid charging at home to save $18.

        • Bob_Wallace

          You’re using $0.20/kWh electricity. In California, where electricity can be expensive PG&E is offering EV charging (if done late at night) for $0.09/kWh. That brings it down to $8.

          Most people will likely drive their “33” daily mies and plug in rather than having to go to a Supercharger and wait around for a half hour in order to save a few bucks.

          Put the SCs close to donut shops and the old farts will plug in while they have their morning coffee and chat.

          • Brunel

            Waiting 30 mins to recharge is not a bad way to save a few bucks.

            Say a magazine costs $5. Can read the magazine while recharging.

            So basically a free magazine.

        • dogphlap dogphlap

          You cannot get 90kWh into any EV type car, not even in a Tesla even if the battery was down to showing zero range when you started. Anyway how often do you think you would want to fully charge a Tesla battery from flat at home, I’ve never got home with a low state of charge and wanted a 100% charge by morning, could happen but only very rarely.

          • Brunel

            Tesla is about to have a 100kWh car.

            Yes most people do not drive 100 miles per day.

            But 90kWh of electrons cost money.

      • nakedChimp

        na, they just provide long range trips with the least hassle possible and incentivize it with the ‘free’ on top.
        The model 3 won’t get it for free anyway and who cares if the high priced cars will get free charging. They won’t make the bulk of them anyway as it seems.

      • The vast majority of charging will continue to be slow charging. In addition, to avoid high demand charges I thought superchargers increasingly have battery banks that slowly charge off the grid or off of onsite solar? The battery banks can then quickly charge vehicles without straining the grid infrastructure and without incurring high demand charges.

  • EHS

    In addition to the problem that Ian pointed out, the analysis ignores questions of time and location in favor of overall demand and generating supply. It doesn’t address the question of if the grid can handle electric cars, but whether overall generation can keep up with electric-car induced demand.

    To show that the grid will be OK, you need to consider when, where, and at what rates cars will be charged.

    For commuters charging at home, electric cars shift demand to the night time, which is good for the grid, as there is plenty of extra grid capacity at night. However, it might not be great from a generating perspective: although right now there is excess electrical generation at night, as we shift towards more renewable energy sources, places that have more sunshine than wind could see a shortfall in generating capacity, forcing those electric cars to be charged with fossil-fuel generated electricity.

    Another possible problem comes from rapid charging. Tesla superchargers draw a huge amount of power in a short amount of time, often to rural locations where their peak draw is quite large compared to the local baseline. If charging speeds and electric vehicle traffic increase, there could be quite some local strain from 15 cars plugging in at the same time at one freeway exit.

    I’m not saying the grid will be broken by the electric car – in fact, I’m confident that we can strengthen the grid to meet electric car demands where needed. But I don’t think the article proves what it says it does.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Some utilities seem to have recognized the need/usefulness of daytime charging as a dispatchable load that can assist with the integration of solar on the grid. SoCal Edison put up a large amount of money to assist with installing more charging outlets with part of the program aimed at workplace parking lots.

      We have a lot of spare capacity if charging is mainly done at night.

      “The existing electricity infrastructure as a national resource has sufficient available capacity to fuel 84% of the nation’s cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs (198 million) or 73% of the light duty fleet (about 217 million vehicles) for a daily drive of 33 miles on average.”
      http://energytech.pnnl.gov/publications/pdf/PHEV_Feasibility_Analysis_Part1.pdf
      As we move to 200+ mile ranges EVs can be an excellent source of dispatchable load. Cars spend ~90% of the time parked and need to charge (on average) less than 3 hours a day from an ordinary outlet. That creates a situation where, if utilities can determine the actual time of charging, a large amount of demand could be time-shifted in order to use up supply peaks (avoiding curtailing wind and solar) and lowering demand when supply was stretched.

      With lots of people driving less than 40 miles per day it would be possible to skip charging for a day or even a few days during times of very low wind/solar availability.

    • Modok EvilMastermind

      I have owned my car 8 months and have never used a chademo charger. I am not saying they won’t be used but your night time generation point is much more prevalent than the rapid charging point.

      The rural grid issue is interesting to me though. I guess I don’t know how well the grid is laid out for this challenge. Our largest freeways in MN seem to have lots of high power lines close to the freeway?

    • OneHundredbyFifty

      Texas has lots of night time wind. There is already significant progress toward a HVDC line from OK panhandle to points east to bring that night peaking wind power to the grid. That should continue to favor night time chargers.

    • dogphlap dogphlap

      Electric utilities are in the business of selling electricity. EVs are the perfect development for these guys. For years they have seen tube radios and televisions replaced by more energy efficient transistor versions, then the CRT and worse the plasma display replaced by liquid crystal displays and just to add salt to their wounds in come CFL and LED light bulbs to replace incandescent filament ones. Then roof top solar PV.
      Now with EVs they can finally see a load that will start to restore some of that lost income and mostly at a time when they can’t give the stuff away because demand is so low. They may shed some crocodile tears about how hard their lot is but they will be smiling inside. If they do need to eventually puts some uprated substations in that will just be proof that they are coining it and would be no different to infrastructure required to service a new factory (only cheaper and less frequent).

  • Marley

    Totally agree with you Michael that the EVs won’t largly affect the grid but your energy consumption rates are way out, a Tesla consumes far more than 3.5kwh per 100, try 17-21kwh per 100km before charging losses.

    • Agree. Fixed. Thanks for catching.

      • Eric Lukac-Kuruc

        Now that it’s fixed shouldn’t be better to delete all comments telling the math is wrong? Most readers might not go further with comments as soon they read the article is faulty, and leave the place with a negative impression.

  • Ian Fagan

    “Electric car gas mileage equivalent ranges from about 2 to 3.5 kWh / 100 kilometres.”

    This number is wrong, dramatically wrong in fact. Even the link in the middle of the sentence demonstrates that it’s incorrect; the page at that link lists 28 kWh per 100 km in a Chevy Volt, 21 kWh/100 km for a Nissan Leaf, and 14 kWh/100 km for a Tesla.

    I thought perhaps it was an isolated typo, but other sentences later in the post seem to confirm that this is an error in the author’s assumptions, rather than a one-time typo. (E.g., “Let’s assume that 10% of all cars on the road are electric, that they
    are the primary vehicle of 90% of drivers, and they are all 3.5 kWh/ 100
    km Teslas.”)

    This bit also seems to be predicated on the faulty numbers:

    “Assuming European average distances driven but 100% of it in Teslas,
    that would require about 0.23 TWh annually, or about 0.21% of Norway’s
    annual demand of 114 TWh.”

    Actually, if we assume 520,000 electric vehicles in Norway in 2021, with each of them driving 12,800 km annually, and we use the 14 kWh/100 km figure, we come up with 0.93 TWh annually, not 0.23.

    I recommend this article be taken down until all the math can be recalculated, because it’s seriously wrong.

    • JamesWimberley

      Looks convincing. However, multiplying all the demand estimates in the article by 5 does not change the conclusion.

      BTW, electrifying transport also involves trucks, ships and possibly planes, though biofuels and synfuels are currently well ahead in the replacement stakes for aviation. We don’t have worthwhile numbers of electric trucks and ships to give a basis for estimating demand there.

      • nakedChimp

        sounds more like a factor of 10.
        I heard numbers of 0.4-0.3 kWh/km were the norm?

        Robert below confirms that.
        4 miles/kWh = 0.4 kWh/km

    • Robert Pollock

      I average about 3.9 miles/kwh driving our Spark EV, my wife’s less aggressive driving nets here about 4.5 miles/kwh, it goes as high as 7 or 8 sometimes, it depends on how much charging while decelerating the car does. A tail wind makes a difference on the freeway. How can that be calculated?
      I was under the impression that most electricity generated at night goes to ground anyway, no use for it, and, in California, we can always get enough ‘juice’ by putting up more panels. Energy is everywhere.

    • Carl Raymond S

      Agree, figures wrong. Please take down and repair before this gets quoted.

    • vensonata .

      Yes indeed Ian, you have spotted a major error. We all thank you, and I am sure Mike Barnard will be happy to redo and re post. Other than that glitch, it is an article who’s time has come.

    • Marty Weirick

      Ian’s correction is correct. The original article has missed the electrical energy demand of electric cars by a mile…. er, ah …. 1.6 kilometers.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Fix is coming. Mike is away from his computer at the moment. (Too hard to do from the phone.)

      • Brunel

        Sounds like you work in the CleanTechnica office.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Nope I’m combination hall monitor and the guy who shovels out after an elephant rumbles through….

    • Corrected. Thanks much for catching this. My brain lapse.

      • Ian Fagan

        Good to see! Cheers.

  • Excellent analysis, Mike. People have long been asking for something like this, so am happy you did it! 😀

    • Brunel

      I think Mr Shai Agassi said that the demand for electrons would go up by 10% if every car in USA was an EV.

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