Is the Power Grid Ready for Electric Cars?

Senior producer John W. Schoen responds to reader question about impact of electric cars on America's aging power grid.

Published: 20-Jan-2009

What will be the electric companies’ response as thousands of vehicles are being plugged in and being charged? It reminds me of when corn was being harvested at extreme amounts for energy in the last couple of years and farmers could not afford to feed their livestock and everything farm- and corn-related jumped in price. Is our electricity bill going to go up even more? — Jacob F., Denver, Colo.

With all the talk about a new fleet of electric cars coming down the pike, Jacob in Denver is wondering: Is the nation's power grid really ready for all these vehicles?

Despite the breathless hype surrounding the coming wave of electric cars, the shift away from gas-powered transportation is not likely to overwhelm the nation’s power grid — even given the legitimate worries that this critical infrastructure is badly in need of an overhaul. There are a couple of powerful reasons, according to industry researchers.


Earth Policy Institute's Lester Brown offers another way to fuel the cars of the future that doesn't require a switch to natural gas.

Despite Toyota's disapproval of the $500 deposit on future plug-in Prius, one dealer plans to continue accepting them.

Chrysler circulating plug-in hybrid prototypes to dealers more advanced than earlier models. Pictured is the Chrysler EcoVoyager, in one of a trio of electric-drive concept vehicles it debuted at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.


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