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Is the power grid and generating capacity in the USA sufficient to handle broad conversion to electric cars?

As new cars of the future are rolled out showing commuters powering up their vehicles overnight at home from a power outlet, is there a need for electrical generating companies in the USA to add capacity or expand the power grid to accomodate the increased demand that may be coming should more commuters switch from gasoline to electricity for their daily transportation needs?

While the auto industry is gearing up to provide more electric cars, are the electric companies prepared to handle increased demand? Or is all of the above moving at such a glacial pace that rapid conversion measures or new capital spending for more plant are not necessary at this time?

Asked by:John S.


  1. Jim Forrster says:

    Given the reality that the possible shift to electric cars will take place gradually, it shouldn’t be a problem.

  2. thescalesofjusticeareonthemeand says:

    John this will not present any problem in the short term. However if we don’t start dealing
    with our power grids Nation wide we are going to be in dire straits in the next 10 to 12 years.

    We lose approximately 27% of the power produced through faults in our grid system. So
    in fairness to your question, Should this not be addressed, we will have serious short falls
    when the cars of the future come on line.

  3. ken k says:

    no/they havent built a power plant conventional or nuke powered in over 40 years/a mass influx of battery cars charged at the house or wherever will disrupt thre whole thing/

  4. Scott Stevenson says:

    While a lot of work needs to be done to our power grid, as another answer pointed out, there actually is quite a lot of excess capacity at night time, and more could be brought on-line if needed (most generating plants are only adding electricity to the grid when they are needed, and the need at night is a fraction of what is needed during the day.

    I’ve included a link for California that shows electrical use during the past day, as well as the amount of capacity that they had on-line. During the summer, the demand is usually twice what you see right now, in late November, and there is spare capacity at night even then.

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