Archive for the ‘Electric cars – vehicles’ Category

Part 3: Putting the “E” in EVs

July 20, 2022

How much electricity is currently generated? How is it generated? So what?

In Parts 1 & Part 2, we concluded:

    • The U.S. currently consumes about 4 trillion kWh of electricity per year
    • About 1.5 trillion kWh (about 40% of the total) is consumed in residential use … about 1/2 of that is used by HVAC & hot water heaters
    • A scant amount of electricity is currently being consumed for “transportation” … and, practically all of that is used by public transit systems.
    • If all vehicles currently on the road were to be replaced by EVs, recharging their batteries would consume an additional 1 trillion kWh of electricity.

All of which raises a couple of  central questions: Does the U.S. have the electricity generation capacity to service a full national fleet of EVs?

Short answer: no.

So, where will the additional electricity come from?

Today, we’ll set the context by looking at our current supply of electricity…


According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)….

Total U.S. electricity generation in 2021 was about 4.12 trillion kWh.

There are four fuel “sources” for electricity generation: natural gas (38%), coal (22%), renewables (20%) and nuclear (19%).

in the past 10 years, total electricity generation has stayed virtually constant at around 4 trillion kWh … but the mix of fuel sources has changed.


Coal and nuclear power have declined in the overall mix of fuel sources … coal by a lot, nuclear by a little … natural gas and renewables have increased and are, together, account for about 60% of fuel for electricity.


Digging deeper in the  category of renewable fuel sources….


  • From 2011 to 2021, electricity fueled by renewables increased by over 60% to 826 billion kWh … which is accounts for 20% of the electricity generated.
  • About 2/3s of the increase is attributable to wind power … which provides about half of the renewable fuel used to generate electricity … and about 9% of the total fuel that goes into electricity generation.
  • Almost 1/3rd of the increase is attributable to solar power … which provides about 3% of the total fuel that goes into electricity generation.



  • Electricity generation has stayed practically constant for more than 10 years at around 4 trillion kWh
  • Some area of the country have experienced brown outs (rationed supply of electricity), primarily during periods of hot weather … suggesting that, during daytime hours, the electricity generation capacity is at capacity.

It is commonly assumed  that there is available nighttime capacity.

  • Over the past 10 years, coal usage as an electricity fuel has been cut in half … replace by natural gas (2/3rds) and renewables (1/3rd).
  • But, 20% of electrical generation (899 B kWh) is still being fueled by coal
  • Nuclear power — about 20% of the fuel mix — has been slowly declining as old plants are being retired … and no new plants being built.


Bottom line: To meet Biden’s aggressive climate control objectives, electrical generation will need to be increased by almost half … 1 Trillion kWh for EVs and 899 Billion kWh to totally phase out coal.

Part 2: Putting the “E” in EVs…

July 19, 2022

So, how much electricity will EVs eventually require?

In Part 1, we looked at current demand for electricity and concluded:

  • The U.S. currently consumes about 4 trillion kWh of electricity per year
  • About 1.5 trillion kWh (about 40% of the total) is consumed in residential use
  • A scant amount of electricity is currently being consumed for “transportation” … and, practically all of that is used by public transit systems.

Of course, EV demand for electricity will increase.

By how much?


Let’s look at our prior ballpark estimate:

A full “incredible transition” to EVs would increase consumer / residential electricity demand in the U.S. by over 40% (640 billion kWh / 1.5 trillion kWh = 43%)

Data, sources & calculations

  • in 2019, “there were almost 229 million Americans who have driving licenses
  • The 229 million collectively drove over 3.2 trillion miles.” Source
  • From what I can ascertain,  on average, a Tesla gets about 5 miles per kWh of stored charge. (e.g. a T3, 50 kwh battery gets 250 miles of range).
  • So, 3.2 trillion miles of driving requires 640 billion kWh of additional electricity.

What do other sources day?


The Energy Institute at the University of Texas analyzed the likely additional energy required by state for a full transition to EVs.


The UT-EI conclusion: On average across states, 30.9% more electricity will be needed to electrify EVs … with wide variability across states.

All States’ Data

The 30.9% translates to over 1.25 trillion kWh of added electricity required … almost equal to all of our current residential consumption of electricity.


In August 2021, the NY Times asserted (without attribution or analysis):

If every American switched over to an electric passenger vehicle, analysts have estimated, the United States could end up using roughly 25% more electricity than it does today.

Working the NYT’s estimate …

Their 25% — apparently based on total U.S. electricity consumption —  implies that we’ll need an additional 1 trillion kWh of electricity

The 1 trillion kWh of electricity is roughly equal to  66% of our current residential electrical consumption, (1 trillion / 1.5 trillion = 66%)


The Brattle Group is a research consultancy that “combines state-of-the-art analytical techniques and practical industry experience to answer complex economic, financial, and regulatory questions”.

Brattle analysts did a detailed “assessment of the investments needed across the electric power sector to support the deployment of 20 million EVs in the U.S. by 2030.

Brattle’s conclusion: 20 million EVs will add 60–95 TWh of annual demand and 10–20 GW of peak load to the system.

Taking the low end of Brattle’s range (60 TWH per 20 million vehicles) and scaling that number up to all 239 million vehicles currently on the roads …  717 billion kWh of additional electricity will be needed for a full “incredible transition” to EVs … with a high estimate of 1.135 trillion kWh of electricity required (equal to about about 75% of current residential electricity consumption).

239 million vehicles / 20 million = 11.95

11.95 x 60 TWH = 717 TWh

One Terawatt Hour is equal to 1 billion  Kilowatt Hours. Reference

So, 717 TWh = 717 billion kWh


So, how much electricity will EVs eventually require?

  • UT Energy Institute: 1.25 trillion kWh
  • Brattle Group (high): 1.135 trillion kWh
  • New York Times: 1 trillion kWh
  • Brattle Group (low): 717 billion kWh
  • HomaFiles estimate: 640 billion kWh

Our back-of-the envelop estimate was on the low side.

Looks like 1 trillion kWh is a reasonable (and easy to remember) estimate of the electricity load that an “a full “incredible transition” will add to the system … a 25% to 30% upper to our current levels.


Next up: So, where’s that electricity going to come from?

Kamala: “End dependence on oil tyrants … get an EV”

March 9, 2022

The rub: Our EV future is dependent on batteries from Asia … mostly CHINA!

According to an SNE Research analysis channeled by Statista

At present, the ten manufacturers with the highest market share in terms of battery capacity are all headquartered in Asian countries, mainly China, South Korea and Japan.

The top five manufacturers – CATL, LG, Panasonic, BYD and Samsung – together account for over 80 percent of global automotive battery production.

The Chinese company Contemporary Amperex Technology (CATL) alone controls about 1/3 of the market.

Infographic: Asian Batteries Power Global EV Fleet | Statista

If that isn’t scary enough, consider that about 97% of lithium is currently refined in China. Source

Ditching Russian energy is a great idea … but putting our eggs in China’s basket strikes me as jumping from the pan into the fire.


Tesla collides with “mobility justice”…

December 14, 2021

From the “Had to see this one coming” file.

Two “progressive” causes are on a collision course.

Climate Control and Environmental activists are flooring the accelerator on electric vehicle adoption.

But, Racial Justice activists are concerned that EVs may impede “mobility justice.”

The Washington Post has stepped up to pour fuel to the fire:


Here’s my Cliff Notes version of the WaPo exposé:

This question must be approached from the viewpoint of “environmental justice

While electric vehicle use is growing rapidly in well-to-do, mostly White communities, minority neighborhoods are being left behind.

It’s a question  of “mobility justice.”

“They have put Black and Brown people, the people who can least afford it, at the mercy of the market,”

In urban neighborhoods, residents lack driveways or garages and must rely on street parking.

The question: where and how for residents to charge their electric cars.

Look at any map of charging stations in the United States, and in most of the big cities, what is immediately apparent are big blank spaces coinciding with Black and Latino neighborhoods. Electric vehicle advocates call them charging deserts.

“Chargers are only in the expensive parking garages patronized by doctors and professors.” 

 “It’s a sign of gentrification when you see chargers.”

In the coming age, the lack of charging stations and electric vehicles that depend on them threatens to worsen an already disproportionate exposure to air pollution in minority neighborhoods and relegate Black and Latino drivers to gasoline-powered cars.

Blacks and Hispanics on average bear a ‘pollution burden’ of 56% and 63% excess exposure, respectively.

“This huge investment in electric vehicles just traps minorities in a car-dependent, asphalt-heavy future.”

Pittsburgh, where the worst air pollution closely tracks with historic Black neighborhoods, has produced a “Mobility Vision Plan” that seeks to “advance mobility justice to redress the infrastructure racism of the past.”

A nonprofit organization wants to refashion urban buildings for the coming century, installing co-located coffee shops and EV charging stations. They’ll call them Jolt — get a slug of caffeine while your EV gets an electric charge. 

Save for the cheap shot at professors, we shoulda seen this one coming…



Are people buying in to climate change?

December 4, 2015

How big of a worry is climate change?

According to Gallup, a slim majority of Americans think that climate change is “not a worry at all” or is “a little bit of a worry”.

Hardly hysteria.

The issue ranks #14 on Gallup’s list of top worries … about twice as many people think that the economy and government spending is a big deal.

People are way more concerned about crime & violence, terrorism and the availability & affordability of energy.




And, even more interesting than the polling data is how people are acting in the free market …


Flambé: Tesla hits phantom steel object and does a Dreamliner …

October 4, 2013

Guess what: Big batteries – when subjected to trauma – catch fire … whether in the air  (787) or on the ground (Tesla).

Earlier this week, a Youtube was posted showing a Tesla on fire.

Audio: “Dude, that’s a brand new car … wow”

click to view

Here are some details …


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