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Are electrical vehicles draining the power grid?

If more drivers are buying electric vehicles is that causing flex alerts?

SAN DIEGO — This week's flex alert had a lot of people asking questions about our power grid. One of those questions, are electric vehicles part of the problem? If more people buy EV’s will that put a bigger strain on our grid?

Despite shortages experts say electric vehicles made up a more than 5% of new car sales from April to June and the demand is still rising.

“I want to charge my car for less than I pay for gasoline, not for more,” said Mark Toney, The Utility Reform Network, Executive Director.

He says to pay less, he charges his car during off peak hours, when he's sleeping overnight, that's when rates are lower.

“We don't want people charging electric vehicles during the peak times, because an electric vehicle can take more electricity than your entire house put together,” said Toney.

SDG&E says more than 80% of EV charging happens over night when energy demand is the lowest.

Simply put SDG&E says it's not the electric vehicles burdening the grid. Instead, it's the people who are using their washer and dryer, dishwasher and AC during peak hours which is 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Still Governor Newsom’s goal to have all new cars be zero emissions vehicles by 2035 would have more cars plugging in meaning more electricity.

The federal and state government are pumping in billions of dollars to support this and SDG&E says rates are going up partially because it's building new infrastructure to support EV’s.

“What else is coming is the ability to use the batteries in the car batteries as a backup for generation so that during these times, people who are plugged in, will get paid to have their batteries drained from four to nine,” said Toney.

Think of it like big batteries on wheels that can store energy reserves.

Experts say EV’s won't be a threat to the grid rather an asset.

“It can actually end up being the opposite, that electric cars become a fleet of batteries all throughout the state that actually help instead of hurting during the flex alerts.

SDG&E says overall demand in EV’s is minimal to the grid and says by storing and managing energy will drive electricity rates down for users. 

WATCH RELATED: Going with an electric car without a home charger?  Neda Iranpour shows how she keeps a charge (June 2022)

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