I saw something online saying that electric vehicles consume so much energy that more than a few in a neighborhood would crash its power grid. They had a few numbers that sounded mostly right, but they lacked context. Here’s something easier to grasp.
EPA estimates for electric vehicles are based on miles driven, assuming 15,000 miles per year (that’s about double what I drive). They say my 2018 Tesla Model 3 LR RWD consumes about 26 kWh per 100 miles, or 3,900 kWh for the hypothetical 15,000 miles. The Tesla Model 3 is the most popular electric car, and most of those are more energy efficient than my earlier model, so I think the choice is reasonable. According to one industry site, an electric hot water heater uses 4,860 kWh per year, more than 15,000 miles in my car.
Context is also important. Refrigerators and hot water heaters use more electricity when we’re awake and using hot water and opening our refrigerators. That’s also where the major demand from heating and cooling of the house happens. The power company refers to these times as peak hours. My power company says peak hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the warmer parts of the year and 7 am to 11 am and 5 pm to 9 pm in the colder parts. People who charge their cars at home typically do so at night. My two EVs are programmed to start charging at midnight and 2am.
If every car and truck in the United States were electric, then perhaps the capacity of the power grid would need expansion, but it’s not a short term issue.