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California’s Harsh Reality: Don’t Charge Your Electric Vehicle During Heat Waves

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California’s “green dream” of going to 100 percent new electric vehicles by 2035 is hitting a major reality roadblock. Last week, during a major heat wave, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), the agency charged with managing the state’s electric grid, sent out a tweet suggesting electric car owners shouldn’t be charging their electric vehicles.

In the accompanying media release, CAISO had this to say:

… grid operators again ask the public to conserve electricity to help balance supply and demand on the grid and avoid service disruptions due to extreme heat across much of the Southwest.

To be as comfortable as possible during the Flex Alert hours, consumers are also strongly encouraged to take these steps earlier in the day: · Pre-cool your home by lowering the thermostat · Close window coverings to keep your home or apartment cool · If you need to use major appliances like your dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer, do so before the Flex Alert takes effect · Pre-charge electronic devices · Close window coverings to keep your home or apartment cool · Pre-charge electric vehicles [Emphasis added.]

That’s right, you should NOT charge your electric vehicles during a heat wave in California. Why? Because, like the power supply system in many developing countries, California’s electric power generators can’t deliver enough electricity to CAISO to meet demand.

Even Tesla got into the act, pushing this message out to internet-connected Tesla interior LCD screens during last year’s August heat wave:

The current heat wave is impacting the grid in California. If possible, we ask that you reduce Supercharging and home charging between the hours of 4pm and 9pm to support the statewide efforts to manage demand.

Additionally, proactive utility shutoffs may limit charging options As always, your touchscreen will display live statuses of Superchargers in your area – simply tap on a desired Supercharger station to confirm its availability.

Meanwhile, in Sacramento the governor, legislators, and regulators still think electric vehicles are vital to California’s plan to reduce emissions over the next two decades. In 2020, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, by executive fiat, set 2035 as

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