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We’re all familiar with the concept of “hybrid” cars. They use gas and electricity to power themselves, resulting in greater fuel efficiency. The same idea applies to electric cars powered entirely by electricity. The difference is that a hybrid car can be plugged into an outlet at home for charging purposes, whereas an electric car cannot be charged using household outlets. Instead, it must be connected directly to a charging station—either at home or on your daily commute—which uses energy from the grid just like your laptop or smartphone charger.
How Much Electricity is “actually” used to Charge Cars?
As of Today… According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the amount of electricity used to charge cars in the United States annually is 685 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh).
This is equivalent to about 0.3% of total national electricity consumption.
California, the news is doping you, per the usual.
To charge an electric car with the same amount of energy as a standard gasoline-powered vehicle, it takes more electricity. The average fuel economy for a standard American car is 24 miles per gallon. An electric vehicle going that far would require around 1,000-kilowatt hours of electricity—around twice what your home uses during a month. To put that in perspective: That’s enough energy to power 1,130 homes Annually (assuming they’re all using 60-watt bulbs), not as dramatic as the news wants you to believe.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should give up on buying an EV or that the grid is incapable of handling them. It does mean that we need smarter charging infrastructure so people who want to drive EVs can do so without using up too much energy from fossil fuels or during peak demand.
However, batteries on vehicles charge slowly, so they should be charged at off-peak times.
You can save energy by charging your electric vehicle when you don’t need to use it. For example, if you charge a car battery at off-peak times (after 11 p.m.), there will be less demand for electricity from the grid, which means less energy will be used overall and price spikes will be reduced. Using this technique can also help EV owners avoid paying higher rates during peak hours of energy usage—a big benefit for those with tight budgets!
During peak hours, utilities have to switch on environmentally unfriendly “peaker” plants to meet the demand.
When you plug in your car to charge, it takes a few hours for the battery to fill up. When utilities see that a car is plugged in, they assume it’s charging and begin billing accordingly. Utilities will often start charging a premium around 5:00pm when air conditioning peaks. However, if the car isn’t fully charged by 6:00pm (when everyone gets home), utilities must switch on environmentally unfriendly “peaker” plants to meet the demand. These plants can be more expensive than solar or wind power and are not as clean as renewable energy sources like hydro and solar. This is where the future of Data Centers comes into play, specifically Bitcoin Data Centers. Bitcoin Mining Data Centers are quickly replacing “Peaker Plants” as the new energy source to the grid in peak demands. The details of how these works are pretty simple. During Peak demand, Bitcoin Data Centers act as a battery and can almost instantly give energy back to the grid. This solution is a Win, Win, Win, Win. A Win for the Earth, a Win for Renewables, a Win for the pocketbook of energy companies, and a Win for the Energy Grid.
When electric cars are charged during off-peak hours, it helps the environment.
Charging an electric car off-peak can also help the environment. It’s simple: electricity from wind and solar is cheaper during off-peak hours. There are fewer emissions from those sources, which means cleaner air for you to breathe. Electricity from coal is more expensive during off-peak hours because of its higher carbon footprint, so it makes more sense to charge your car at night than during the day if you want to make a difference for the planet.
Electricity from natural gas is also more expensive during off-peak hours because it produces fewer greenhouse gases than other fossil fuels but still produces enough of them that it isn’t as green as wind or solar energy.
You should be aware of your car’s charging impact on the environment. However, if you charge at off-peak times, it balances the Energy Grid, Costs less money, and is the future. Don’t let ignorant FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) or False News give you the impression that Electric car charging has THAT BIG of an impact. Remember, the news’ job is to report at a 1st-grade intellectual level.