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Expert says electric cars will crunch, not crash state's energy grid

Influx of EVs expected to crunch not crush California power grid
Influx of EVs expected to crunch not crush California power grid 02:17

SAN FRANCISCO -- A week after state regulators voted on a plan to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035, people who already have electric cars are being told to cut back on charging as we head into a heat wave.  

The recommendation of Cal ISO officials for people not to charge vehicles during Flex Alerts, it raises the question whether California will be ready for the surge of electric vehicles being plugged in during hot weather in 2035?  

EV charging station in SF
EV charging station in SF. CBS

"If you do a calculation on how much additional electricity we will need by then, it's about an additional 30 percent," said Director of the Energy Institute at HAAS Severin Borenstein.   

A 30 percent added load to an already stressed system is, according to Borenstein, a statement of need for more charging stations and a shift for drivers to charge their cars during the day while the sun is up and while people are at work. 

KPIX 5 went to charging stations within a three-mile-radius of our 855 Battery studios and found nearly all charging stations being unused during times when Borenstein advises people should be using them. One woman had tried several charging stations, but they weren't working.  

Borenstein was aware of the problem and acknowledged it has to be fixed as the state moves forward. 

"They need to work," he said. "There's been a problem with them being built and not functioning or breaking and not getting fixed right away."

Borenstein said this weekend of hot temperatures threatening an already stressed electric grid will be good training for 2035, reminding electric car owners to charge their cars during the daytime but not after 4 p.m. when Flex Alerts are in effect.

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