We have all heard about how we must rid ourselves of our fossil fuel vehicles and move to electric vehicles. I used to hate the thought of this, but now Tesla, headed by Elon Musk, has redefined what an EV can be. Elon has changed my mind and the minds of millions of others. You see, what Elon Musk did was not simply make an electric vehicle; what he did do is that he made some bloody awesome-high-performance vehicles with mind-blowing performance, with the added bonus of almost A.I. technology, that just happens to be an EV.
With electric vehicles literally embarrass their gas-guzzling snarling-brethren with names like AMG, GTO, and SVJ by gapping them on the drag strip and doing so while having four seats, a spacious trunk and more gadgetry than the USS enterprise.
But there is one thing that seems to have been missed by everyone and could end up killing the entire EV industry unless something is done.
To explain, we need to turn the clock back to 2006, which went on record when there was a peak draw on the power grid of over 27,500 megawatts, with only a reserve of 5000 from Quebec. Based on this fact, we could very be facing some serious power grid issues if the plan is to change the landscape of cars parked in driveways. Currently, in Ontario, only about 3% of all cars sold are electric, which is about 38 thousand EVs, with over 2.4 million fossil fuel vehicles being sold each year. The government wishes to have 50% of all new vehicles purchased in 2030 be electric. From an environmental and political view, all is well in good, but this is where it becomes a problem.
When we had unusually hot summers here in Ontario, we had to rely on rolling brownouts to take the load off the power grid. This was due to air conditioners drawing massive amounts of power from the grid during these heat spells. Decades ago, not everyone had the luxury of AC units, but now, they are the de facto must-have, whereby some people have more than one in their homes and in garages, AKA Man Caves.
The average AC unit draws about 3.1 kilowatts, whereby a stage 2 charging station for an electric vehicle draws at least 17 kilowatts. Now I have to be honest, depending on where you look, the stats on EV draw on power is all over the map, some say more, and some say less; I found it very difficult to find numbers that correlated with one another. I would see a number in one place, then published elsewhere with completely different numbers. So I made an educated calculation to select a reasonable and conservative number.
Suppose by 2030, we are to have 60% (raised from 50%) of all vehicles sold in Canada. In that case, basic maths tells us using approximately 3.5 percent of EV vehicles on the road today as our setpoint, the addition of these new EVs year over year, accounting for missed quota targets, that I am sure will happen, we can then extrapolate a very conservative estimate of the potential load on our power grid. I honestly do not feel we will hit these targets, so my formulas are adjusted accordingly, as I have clawed back the impact based on missed quotas. Even with that, tempering my calculations, the results are profoundly devastating.
What the calculations show is that we will need, continually, around 25 thousand megawatts. We can’t really enforce that these loads be staggered since the majority of people will be charging their cars at the same time.
This potential draw on the power grid will far exceed the existing power grid’s capacity many times over, even when you include the reserved power from Quebec.
How will we accommodate this without massive controls when you are permitted to recharge your vehicle? Doesn’t that sound so convenient and efficient.
The next concern is how some homes will be retrofitted with stage two charging stations? With the sheer numbers dictated by these newly revised quotas, I would fully expect that upgrades on existing electrical power grid infrastructure be needed to enable it to handle the increased loads of now hundreds of thousands of homes. I would fully expect it would take billions upon billions of dollars, year over year to retrofit much of our existing infrastructure.
I am not trying to rain on the efforts of moving into more sustainable choices, but we will need to assess these requirements that will be placed increasing demands on our electrical grid.
One thing to consider is something more nefarious things that could result in all this. Could the government impose carbon credits whereby once one reaches a predetermined carbon credit score, one could be blocked from recharging their vehicle?
- Will travel restrictions be put in place?
- Will the price of electricity skyrocket?
- Will there be a Power Grid tax?
- Will the use of a car be restricted to essential needs only?
- Will battery disposal taxes be added to the purchase of the car’s price?
- Have there been any studies to see if there are any health risks from being so close to these high-powered batteries?
Delusional: There are some who feel there will not be any impact, and some actually believe electric vehicles could actually add power to the grid, but the scenarios they provide are pie-in-the-sky, utopian views in a perfect world. I have done quite a bit of research, so either I am missing something, or some are simply delusional. Some have said things like while the electrification of mobility is definitely accelerating, a massive power-demand crisis due to electric vehicles simply won’t happen overnight. This is an evolution that spans decades, not a sudden revolution. This gives utility companies plenty of time to plan ahead. What are Trudeau and his government thinking?
It seems our leaders are not thinking decades; in fact thinking more like an EV revolution indeed. Here in Canada, our current dictator Justin Trudeau has given us eight short years to go from 3.5 percent of EV cars sold to 60 percent, this is no small goal, and I fully expect this goal to be missed by miles. With the economy being clobbered by the mismanagement of COVID, interest rates for new cars are rising all the time, pushing the idea of purchasing a new car down the list of wants.
I have also researched and shared my concerns with my MPP over how we do not come even close to sufficiently budget for our existing infrastructure; instead, we prefer to budget for new and shiny things like buildings, LRTs, and green virtuous things like parks. Not many politicians are willing to hang their hat on something as low profile as sewer upgrades or, more relevant to our topic, power grid upgrades. Projects like that usually span longer than their term and as well are more or less ignored. Topics like this become hot potatoes during elections unless, of course, the issue becomes a forced issue, which usually, by then, it’s too late and will cost several times more.
Think of it, in eight short years, I would genuinely expect massive power grid upgrades, which will take years, if not decades, to complete. Not only that, the privately owned businesses and residential areas will also need massive upgrades.
I have heard recently of homes being upgraded to 400-amp service so they can have their three AC units running 24/7 and their pool filter, and hot tub running along with the many other electrical devices and appliances. We are a population of serious power consumption, so imagine if everyone started lining up for 400-amp service upgrades. It’s time we take off our rose-coloured glasses and do some seriously detailed modelling to see the true impacts of having potentially millions of level-two charging stations hooked up to the power grid.
Luckily in Ontario in 2018, the building code was upgraded to ensure all new homes are fitted with 200-amp service. For homes part of subdivisions that are permitted after January 2018, the Ontario Building Code has been updated to include 200-amp service as a minimum requirement due to electric vehicle charging. This new requirement could add an additional $500 per new construction home in Ontario. The problem is many rural homes are 100 amp service and depending on where you live, 200 amp service may not be available. Depending on your local electrical delivery infrastructure, the costs can range from $2500 per upgrade to much more. Many older homes are currently 60- or 100-amp service, so these situations need to be remedied.
The Calculations: If we use the baseline of 3.5% of current new cars being electric, with current sales of approximately 2.3 million each year, if we model a very conservative yearly increase over the eight years, bring us to the quota of 60% of all car sales being electric, and using 17 kilowatts draw from the grid for each level two charger, we come up with the following numbers. The additional draw on the power grid would be in the neighbourhood of 23,000 megawatts, noting 27,000 megawatts, a record set in 2006 when the summer was a record-setting summer with temperatures over 40C.
The calculations are conservative since the model did not add year-over-year linear sales increases. Using a more linear model, the power grid draw could easily reach 60,000 to 75,000 megawatts. This is significant and far exceeds the capacity of our existing power grid. Currently, the draw on the power grid for all-electric vehicles is at most 1.4 megawatts, and that would be under the assumption most customers have their own chargers.
It seems we are too optimistic in thinking we will simply be okay. We have excluded all those who own older homes pretty much the equation. If we are to fully adopt electric vehicles, should we not start dealing with these situations now? If history has taught us anything, we will undoubtedly screw this up, resulting in massive power outages and complete power-grid failures across the country. The trillions it will cost to repair it will push our already over-spent financial system into a recession that we have not seen since the great depression. Think of it, Trudeau is printing money; before COVID, financial experts were predicting 2019 to be a very lean and tough year financially; since COVID, Trudeau has tried to spend our way out of this, which has failed. With inflation as we see it now, the rising prices of goods and services, and with this will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
And now, with Trudeau’s farming restrictions on our farmers, we are getting closer to becoming a socialist state since he is destroying the private sector. So with this latest push for more EVs, it is like bringing candy to a diabetic convention.
A Final thought, until we replace existing power generation with renewable energy, the EV does not move the needle to reduce emissions; it simply exports them. I talk more about this in my book POST – Surviving the Social Media Battle Ground. If you want to learn more about the climate crisis and the reality that it is not, get my book from Amazon called False Alarm – Climate Crisis. There you will find every article I have written about climate change.