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Electric vehicle charging. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Roughly 20% of Electric Vehicle Owners in California Replaced Cars with Gas Ones, New Study Shows

As rolling blackouts become a way of life in California, how will EVs charge?

By Katy Grimes, May 4, 2021 2:12 am

With California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mandated phase-out of gas-powered automobiles, we learn that one in five plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) owners switched back to owning gas-powered cars, because charging the batteries was a hassle, new research reports.

Business Insider reported on the research published in the journal Nature Energy by University of California Davis researchers Scott Hardman and Gil Tal that surveyed Californians who purchased an electric vehicle between 2012 and 2018, that 20% of EV car owners say charging the battery takes too long and is a hassle. They also discovered nearly two-thirds of PEV drivers in the survey said they didn’t use Public charging stations, the electric version of the gas station.

Gov. Newsom’s Executive Order  requires sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035 and “additional measures to eliminate harmful emissions from the transportation sector.” 

The Governor’s Executive Order also addresses “closure and remediation of former oil extraction sites.”

Newsom announced last fall he will aggressively move the state further away from its reliance on “climate change-causing” fossil fuels. Newsom plans to abolish the use of natural gas and propane appliances.

He hasn’t addressed coal-powered electric vehicles, however. Coal is primarily used as fuel to generate electric power in the United States, according to the USGS, which also reports the largest coal deposit in the U.S. by volume is the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana, which the USGS estimated to have 1.07 trillion short tons of in-place coal resources, 162 billion short tons of recoverable coal resources, and 25 billion short tons of economic coal resources (also called reserves) in 2013.

Californians may not accept the mandate away from natural gas and propane so easily, as rolling blackouts are fast becoming a way of life in California, and often are due to solar and wind power only providing intermittent energy. Power shutoffs are the new way energy companies now deal with the threat of wildfires in regions with exposed power lines.

The cost and hassle of installing an electric plug-in charging station at your home is what keeps many from either purchasing an electric car, or those who do have to find a location near work to charge it. The installation of the electric car home charging station must be permitted, a specially-licensed/authorized electrician must do the work, and the station itself can run $1,600. This is why many use EV parking spaces public parking garages to charge their vehicles.

And Tesla had a little “whoops” to address. The electric car maker cancelled its “no questions asked” 7 day return policy. “Now sources familiar with the matter told Electrek that Tesla has discontinued the policy last night,” Electrek reported. “The support page for the policy now redirects to Tesla’s general support page without any replacement policy.”

Business Insider reported weighed in on home outlets:

Standard home outlets generally put out about 120 volts of power at what electric vehicle aficionados call “Level 1” charging, while the high-powered specialty connections offer 240 volts of power and are known as “Level 2.” By comparison, Tesla’s “Superchargers,” which can fully charge its cars in a little over an hour, offer 480 volts of direct current.

The governor has not said what electric car owners will do for a charge this summer during rolling energy blackouts.

Yet, Gov. Newsom has admitted that “the state’s transition away from fossil fuels is a contributing factor to the state’s rolling blackouts,” the Daily Caller reported last August. “The elimination of fossil fuel products as a major form of energy production and the shift to solar power and other forms of green energy has led to what Newsom called ‘gaps’ in the energy grid’s reliability, the Democratic governor said during a press conference.”

The blackouts last summer were “due to the unexpected loss of a 470 megawatt power plant, as well as a loss of nearly 1,000 megawatts from wind power,” according to CAISO, the state’s energy system operator, California Independent System Operator.

All-of-the-above-energy would make the most sense in California – hydroelectric, natural gas, solar, wind, coal, etc… After all, California isn’t Norway, which is mostly-electric thanks to living on 1,600 glaciers and having abundant hydroelectric power. However, Norway is also one of the world’s largest producers of oil due to huge oil reserves in the North Sea, most of which is exported, since they don’t need all of it.

The point is, electric cars pull power off of California’s already tapped grid.

During the upcoming energy blackouts, how will Californians charge their Teslas, Chevy Volts and Bolts,  Nissan LEAFs, and plug-in Volvos, Porsches, Toyotas, BMWs, Audis and Kias?

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12 thoughts on “Roughly 20% of Electric Vehicle Owners in California Replaced Cars with Gas Ones, New Study Shows

  1. . “The elimination of fossil fuel products as a major form of energy production and the shift to solar power and other forms of green energy has led to what Newsom called ‘gaps’ in the energy grid’s reliability, the Democratic governor said during a press conference.”

    The BIGGEST “gap” in California is the space between Newsom’s EARS…

    It’s easy to beat your chest and act like the badass Governor that’s going to save the world from the evils imagined by the fevered “global climate change” fear-mongers, but why is no one challenging this empty-headed frat-boy Governor, to press him for SOLUTIONS to,the gaps in his feel-good, virtue-signaling edicts??

    Why is a Governor even ALLOWED to mandate these “executive orders”?? Do we live in a monarchy??? If we DO, then the State Constitution needs to be changed, to protect the residents from such “gaps” in logic from failed “leaders” like Gavin Newscum…

    I love how these electric car owners expect Tesla to invest in the charging infrastructure to charge their new toys, and I love it even more how brainless politicians like Newsom can pound their chests about eliminating fossil fuels without any plan or ideas about how those electric cars are going to be charged…

    Fairy farts and magical wishes, Gavin???

    Seriously, thank you Katy for exposing the flaws in their lack of logic, so that these “gaps” might be exposed and these edicts challenged and changed before real economic hardship becomes the way of life in the failed “nation state” of California….

    1. @CriticalDfence9,
      I loved your comment! So very true!
      May I add, Rainbows,Butterflies and Unicorns! Gavin and his Merry-men and band of Thieves!????

  2. I forgot to mention the magical television commercials they’ve been running where hopeful looking people are standing on a hillside, holding a giant sheet in a furtive attempt to capture the wind, and happy, diverse people are capturing golden sunshine in jars, while more diverse women capture the winds blowing the papers around and through their San Francisco flat…

    This is the mystical thought processes that are contributing to, and socializing this wishful thinking that characterizes California politicians…

  3. My neighbor drives a Tesla and he complained to me that he loses 100 miles of range in the winter due to the cold. He also installed a 10 kW solar system at great cost but he still has a large electric bill. He says the whole thing was probably not worth it.

    1. Hi CW,
      Yep, you still get an electric bill. The solar panels only work when the sun is out and then you only have maximum output when the sun is at it’s maximum output. Do not expect much put of them in the winter. The solar panels have to be coupled with a Tesla or LG back up battery attached to your house to hopefully get through a rolling blackout. I agree with your neighbor, a regrettable decision. You really become a little electric grid that PG&E gets to use as your excess feeds their power grid.

    2. CW: Too bad about your neighbor and his Tesla troubles. Boo hoo!
      As I’m sure you know it used to be that home solar installation was well-subsidized so the wanna-be Smart Set in your town were able keep up with the Joneses while all the little people paid for it. It was all a status thing, not a practical thing. One heard a lot of bragging about “living off the grid.”

  4. Katy, you forgot nuclear in “all-of-the-above.” That will be needed to charge all these electric cars. Consider there are 15 million registered passenger vehicles in California. If Newsom is successful in converting 25% of those over to electric, that means 3.75 million vehicles charging every night. A Tesla battery has 100 kWh of storage. Presuming they discharge only 50% during the day, that means a charge demand of 187,500 MWh or 187.5 GWh every night. Assuming a 12 hour charge, that requires 15.6 GW of power supply. That’s a lot of coal or natural gas being burned and thats just California.

  5. Ironically, here in Santa Rosa our electricity went out early this afternoon. Good thing we didn’t need to charge our electric cars!

  6. Random thoughts:

    -Electric Car battery technology isn’t quite there yet. Energy density, recharge time and so forth are still in the primitive stages. Lots of cusp technology out there – maybe vapourware – but nothing in the disruptive technology stage. Not yet anyway (https://www.naturalnews.com/2021-03-27-diamond-battery-lasts-up-to-28000-years.html)

    -And lithium? Well, hope it doesn’t have any manufacturing flaws. And for pity’s sake, just don’t get it wet.

    -Tesla was first successful entry to the market in part because their product didn’t come with “The Lecture” about how it would make the world a better place, etc. Instead, the pitch was “Just because you drive an electric car doesn’t mean that you want to wear a hair shirt.” Plus, they offered a slick, Lotus bodies two seat roadster that ripped the pavement. They, and the majors who’ve jumped in the market – exceptions that come to mind being Porsche and BMW – have forgotten the success of no scolding lectures in product marketing.

    -On the low line electrics – think Nissan, Mini and the like – the range simply isn’t there. And that’s OK if all you ever do is putter around the West Side or the Beach Cities where A) you can’t go that fast anyway, and B) parking is an art form, making their small size advantageous. But for a longer commute forget it.

    -Where do you charge the damned things? The guy at the L.A. times who reviewed the Jaguar I-Pace hit heavily on this when he test drove one for a week in Southern California. (https://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-ev-charging-challenge-20181226-story.html) All the chargers seemed to be hogged, blocked by other vehicles, or out of order.

    -The same question as above applies if you live in an apartment complex of any size. What are you supposed to do? Hang a long extension cord out of your window?! Not feasible.

    -Others have already hit upon the ultimate source of the electricity for these things, namely coal, methane or whatever. Solar is fine as an adjunct, but energy storage, cost, steep degradation in efficiency and so forth make it still very much of a cusp and niche product. But that and windmills – down 30% of the time for maintainence BTW – just don’t cut it

    -It really comes down to the hard truth of the Jevons Paradox: The more efficient you become, the more you conserve, the more you end up using.

    -That pretty much leads everybody to hydro and nuke. Unless you have a super-duper Tesla tower that draws power from the earth or something – still out there – them these are your two near term alternatives. And both are the source of endless crying and screaming and hand-wringing by the phobics, hysterics, (faux/left-wing) greenies et al who dominate public discourse.

    -That said, there are plenty of cutting edge, off the shelf and ultra safe solutions to the nuke power issue. (Here’s one – https://x-energy.com/nuclear-reactors.) Hell, the Russians will build one on a barge for you and move it where ever it’s needed. And all fairly cheap and if you factor out all the permuting B.S. and the endless, stalling lawsuits. Clean regardless, green as you can get.

    -Plus – referring to an above bullet point – you might even be able to make atomic batteries out of the waste product. Win-win.

    Just a thought. (Or several.)


  7. We get notices on our electric bill to only use electricity in the off hours if we can manage. That would be in the morning. We get a charge for solar subsidies on our electricity bill also even if we don’t have it. In the cold and cloudy midwest and the East Coast electric vehicles and solar panels are useless. This mania can only go so far. The public must vote these idiots out before we all go broke.

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