If We All Drive EVs, Would Washington’s Electric Grid Crash?
Now that Governor Jay Inslee has committed Washington State to eventually banning the sale of all new gas powered cars, can the State's electric grid even handle the load? If we all drove EVs, could the Washington State electric infrastructure provide enough energy, or would it crash?
LETS DO THE MATH At first the answer to this question seems simple. In the United States, there were almost 287 million cars registered according to this study. The US electric grid can handle around "1,117.5TW of utility electricity capacity and 27.7GW of solar" according to the US Energy Information Agency. If all the cars in the US at the same time were charging at 7Kw, we would need almost 3 times the energy the grid can provide according to the study.
What people do not think about is having all cars charging at exactly the same time is nearly impossible. The chance of this happening is extremely low according to the study. Think about it this way, do we all try and get gas at the same time? Also the study says "an EV will do somewhere between 2.5 and 4.5 miles per kWh on average" and that Americans drive an average of 13,500 miles per year. That means each EV would take "3,857kWh per year" to charge with that mileage usage. Also all 287 million cars would only take about a "total of 1,106.6TWh, which is 27.6% of what the American grid produced in 2020" according to their calculations. Those percentages would be similar for Washington State, so yes the power grid can handle it.
WHAT IS NEXT? The change from gas powered cars to Evs will happen gradually because it has too. Washington State Governor Jay Inslee is traveling to the Nordic countries this week where new sales of electric powered cars were 77.5% of new cars sold. Hopefully he gets some good ideas on how to solve the problems at hand because there are still lots of hurdles Washington State needs to improve on. One of those improvements is simply having enough charging stations on every street. There are solutions available like installing charges on street lights but that also has added cost. We still have a long way to go before this happens, but you can breath easy knowing at least Washington States grid won't crash when it does.
LOOK: Route 66’s quirkiest and most wonderful attractions state by state