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I'm Ford's global director of sustainability, and I think adopting electric vehicles could strengthen, not strain, the power grid
Image courtesy of Ford.


Ford Says Its EVs Can Help Prevent Grid Collapse

Ford’s global director of sustainability thinks adopting EVs can strengthen, not strain, the power grid.

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One of the most common refrains of the anti-electric set is that the current electrical grid can’t handle the strain of charging millions of electric vehicles in a not-so-distant future, but Ford’s Director of Sustainability believes that Ford is introducing solutions that could help turn this grid anxiety into grid confidence.


Cynthia Williams; courtesy of Ford.

“The biggest mistake the social media keyboard warriors make is the very strange assumption that all cars could be charging at once,” writes Forbes writer James Morris. “In 2020, there were 286.9 million cars registered in America. In 2020, while the US grid had 1,117.5TW of utility electricity capacity and 27.7GW of solar, according to the US Energy Information Administration. If all the cars were EVs charging at 7kW [a home charger], they would need 2,008.3TW — nearly twice the grid capacity. If they charged at 50kW [a DC fast charger], they would need 14,345TW — 12.8 times the capacity … that sounds unworkable, and this is usually the kind of thinking behind those who claim the grid won’t handle EVs.”

The reality is that the odds of all EVs being plugged in at once are effectively zero. EVs don’t need to be constantly pulling electricity from the grid — they can draw energy as needed. And this is nothing new — ICE vehicles don’t all pull up to a gas station at the same time, and “smart grid” technology helps connected grids transmit power from where it’s available to where it’s needed in real time.

Williams believes Ford vehicles can be a part of that smart grid. “We are working on turning every Ford EV into a virtual power plant that can be part of a collective power-grid solution,” she writes in an op-ed she penned for Insider. “Unlike traditional gas-powered vehicles, EVs have massive batteries that store energy for power. But because we don’t drive all day every day, we have an opportunity to connect our customers and public utilities to use the stored energy in EV batteries to help power homes, worksites, and more — and, in time, give power back directly to the grid. […] Ford’s industry-first Intelligent Backup Power, which can connect an F-150 Lightning to a home’s electricity system to provide power for up to 10 days in an outage, is laying the groundwork for new possibilities of energy management.”

We first covered the Blue Oval brand’s Intelligent Backup Power back in 2021, after the company’s F-150 Powerboost hybrid vehicles saved the day for many Texas families in the aftermath of devastating ice storms throughout the state.

You can — and should — check out Williams’ op-ed over at Insider, then let us know what you think of her V2G vision in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

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I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.


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