• Dec 28, 2012
I would think if you were to draft a list of the top three "fear factors" impinging mass adoption of electric vehicles, it might look something like this...
  1. The battery pack pooping out miles away from home
  2. Electric shock
  3. Power outages
Trip Doggett, CEO of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (the group that oversees the state's electric grid), has updated Texas lawmakers serving on the Senate Natural Resources Committee on the potential negative impact of widespread adoption of EV on the state's electricity transmission system. A big question that worried the committee: if the numbers of EV owners shot up at some point, would the state's power grid collapse? Probably not, Doggett said.

There could be localized disruption in certain neighborhoods where EV ownership becomes popular, but it's not anything to be concerned about in the short-term future, he said. "In the long term there could be some impact to our resource adequacy challenge, but my belief is that's not a significant issue in the near term," he said to the committee.

If the electric vehicle population continues to grow, Doggett says, there is one challenge ahead: managing peak electric use hours. EV owners will need education and incentives to avoid charging during peak hours, such as a hot summer afternoon. It may not be that much of a problem in areas where time-of-use electricity rates are used, which make it a lot cheaper to charge off-peak, and if chargers come equipped with pre-programmed timers.

While Texas may not be the first place you think of when the issue of overusing the grid to charge comes up, EVs are growing in popularity in the state, especially Houston. Installing charging stations is a priority for a coalition of utilities, municipalities, Clean Cities coalitions and community groups. They'll be watching closely to see how the state's power grid can handle it.


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  • 23 Comments
      raktmn
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is the most debunked FUD about EV's. EV buyers tend to also buy Solar panels. Owning both an EV and solar panels decreases peak grid demand. For every EV charged in the middle of a hot sunny Texas day when the grid is most stressed, there will be multiple solar panels reducing grid demand by even more. Most EV's will be charged at night, and will increase the efficiency of the grid by keeping electricity generation steady. Shutting off power generation at night reduces grid utilization and efficiency. It takes electricity to refine oil. EV's will reduce the amount of electricity going through the grid that would otherwise be consumed by refining oil to run a gas car. In fact, EV's in Kentucky or Nevada will reduce Texas's electrical grid demand because Texas refines their oil for them. The grid in Texas will be in great shape. It is FUD to imply anything else.
        sirvixisvexed
        • 2 Years Ago
        @raktmn
        I'm eatin' the FUD you're cookin'!
        Ford Future
        • 2 Years Ago
        @raktmn
        Yes, and the Profit stays in AMERICA. The electric grid is more profitable, can be upgraded and the utility can hire American electricians to do the upgrades. American Citizens get richer, spending more money in America. With a cleaner environment, as solar panels and wind do not produce Cancer Spikes, the Fracking industry doesn't want you to know about, Americans can live a longer healthier existance. And we can do something, anything, about global warming, and slow down it damage to America: Super storms, bug infestations, record North American Drought, and a future for our offspring.
          raktmn
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Ford Future
          I agree, any money spent improving the Grid would be much better spent than building pipelines to other countries that just guarantees a huge trade deficit for as long as the pipeline is in operation. International Pipelines==Massive Trade Deficits People need to understand that when they vote for pipelines, they are voting that they want trade deficits. The two cannot be unlinked.
      Generic
      • 2 Years Ago
      Regarding #3. Gas stations need electricity to pump fuel from the tanks to the cars. If power is out for everyone, it doesn't matter what you drive. Unless maybe you can cook up your own biodiesel.
        Actionable Mango
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Generic
        If only there was something a gas station could use to convert their gas into electricity in order to run their pumps. Something small enough they could store on site. Something that cost less than a couple of thousand dollars. Hmmmm... Seriously though, whenever there is a power outage around here, the one or two gas stations with generators end up with a monopoly. Makes me wonder why they don't all do it. It's not like they don't have a ready supply of fuel on site!
          Actionable Mango
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          Yeah, that makes perfect sense.
          Ford Future
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          I think the Monopoly control of Name Brand gas station profit margins are the issue. If you're only making 10 cents a gallon "profit" and it doesn't cover your costs, then you cannot afford a backup system.
          raktmn
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          If every gas station had generator backup, then none of the gas stations would be able to recoup their costs for having generator backup. Because the monopoly that brings them profits to pay for the generators would be broken. If gas stations didn't see any financial benefit in having generator backup, many would choose not to bother buying something that is just a drag on the bottom line and wouldn't generate profit if too many gas stations had them. Thus we are where we are today, and will always be where we are today. Some gas stations will have generator backup because they've been able to make profits on the rare occasion of a power outage. Other gas stations might have tried generators, but found they weren't worth it in the long run with too many gas stations chasing blackout profits. Thus equilibrium is maintained in the market.
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          "The free market brings with it lots of positives, but not all free market results are positive." Sometimes its difficult to tell. In this case, for example, we may be better off without the generators. When the traffic lights aren't working, we're probably safer with fewer cars on the road.
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          Generators are mandatory in FL and being considered elsewhere. http://statepolitics.lohudblogs.com/2012/11/03/new-bill-would-require-gas-stations-to-have-generators/ "With Superstorm Sandy leaving motorists stuck with long waits for fuel in the lower Hudson Valley for the third day in a row, a new bill in Albany would require all gas stations to have backup power in case of a storm. The bill, which is set to be introduced by Sen. David Carlucci, D-Clarkstown, Rockland County, is modeled on a 2007 law passed in Florida, which requires all gas stations and wholesalers to have a generator that is capable of supplying at least 72 hours of power in case of an emergency."
          Dave
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          http://www.cga.ct.gov/2011/rpt/2011-R-0389.htm Apparently, also mandatory for new construction or rehab gas stations in Louisiana. "Louisiana imposes essentially the same wiring, installation, and reporting as requirements as Florida on full-service, self-service, and combination stations, including those located on the property of, or owned by, retail businesses not in the business of selling motor fuel. It exempts automobile dealers, vehicle fleet operators, and those who sell fuel exclusively to these fleets. But the Louisiana law, (Louisiana Rev. Stat. § 2195.12) affects only newly built or completely rebuilt service stations for which a certificate of occupancy was issued on or after October 1, 2009 in the parishes of Beauregard, Allen, Evangeline, St. Landry, Pointe Coupee, West Feliciana, East Feliciana, St. Helena, Tangipahoa or Washington, and any parish south of them."
          raktmn
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Actionable Mango
          Three cheers to legislators who understand the free market will always lead to profiteering in cases of emergency, unless legislation is enacted for when the free market cannot solve a problem itself. The free market brings with it lots of positives, but not all free market results are positive.
        Dave D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Generic
        We say that in spades in New Jersey in November. By the way, where was Rush Limbaugh? He should have been screaming about how cars couldn't get gas out of the ground at the gas stations for lack of power! He should have told everyone how an Electric vehicle with a generator running on natural gas could have been running the whole time with no problem. Oh, that's right, Rush is the worlds largest douchebag and only screams when it's AGAINST EVs.
          Dave D
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Dave D
          we 'SAW that in spades". Sigh, still waiting on that edit button guys.
        JPWhite
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Generic
        I found it interesting that during Hurricane Sandy in the NE that gas car drivers saw long lines thanks to panic buying. EV drivers went on record driving up to 300 miles per day ferrying stranded friends and family (gas car drivers) around. It got me thinking. If there are 100 gas stations in your local area and 50 of them get taken out of commission due to storm damage, you have a crisis. Picture the same area with 10 of millions of electrical outlets. If half of them get taken out of commission due to a major storm event, you still have millions to choose from. (Yes your neighbor WILL let you use their electrical outlet during a major calamity, people help each other during a crisis. Your neighbor can't pump gas for you though.)
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      "In the long term there could be some impact to our resource adequacy challenge, but my belief is that's not a significant issue in the near term,"
      Actionable Mango
      • 2 Years Ago
      Does anyone really worry about #2 and #3? I would think the list would be more like this: 1. Range anxiety. 2. Cost. 3. How ugly current models look (with the exception of Tesla). Leaf, MiEV, Coda? C'mon guys, you can do better.
        Dave D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        Have to agree with that, espcecially #3. That seems to simply be lack of effort and/or good sense. Who the hell wants to buy a butt-ugly car guys, come on!
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        "How ugly current models look... Leaf, MiEV, Coda? " Japanese, Japanese, Chinese Don't be a stereotypical American please. Asian styling usually is NOT appealing to Americans in the first model year. It takes a while before import automakers design an American marketed EV. For now, these are Japanese market cars (Coda being an exception, they thought they could get that body style cheapest).
          Actionable Mango
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          I would also expect that Japanese people to think certain American cars are ugly too, and if that were a problem that prevents such American cars from being sold in Japan, that people there could discuss that fact in their blogs. Meanwhile, this is an article about Texas, which is in the United States. The article's topic relates to adoption of EVs in the American market. It is an American blog which has a separate International version, and the author is probably American too, considering most of the stories he has written. So if I want to talk about how a car is perceived as ugly in the United States, and how that is preventing adoption, I damn well think it is relevant.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        For #2... Cost [to the consumer] is the resultant of all other factors.
      mehul_kamdar
      • 2 Years Ago
      While Houston is going strong with electric cars, don;t forget Austin where Austin Energy is working on its flat $ 25 for 6 months (including sales tax) "Plug-in everywhere" unlimited charging program for electric vehicles. There is also a very successful ongoing electric vehicle friendly housing program at the development at the old Mueller Airport . Perhaps, the fact that Texas is the only state that has its own grid gives it the opportunity to develop an electric vehicle charging infrastructure and to anticipate and engineer solutions to potential problems better than other states. I hope the state works hard to refine the technology and encourages more solar roofs and similar. Heck, let them compete with California in this! No matter which state moves faster, the competition will give other states in the sun belt an incentive to develop their own electric vehicle charging networks, and that has to be a good thing.
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