Californians Asked Not To Charge Electric Vehicles During Heat Wave

First California announced a forthcoming ban on new gasoline-powered vehicles. Then the state issued and extended an alert telling drivers to not charge electric vehicles while the state grapples with strained power supplies.

Even in California, this is a script that no one would believe.

The National Weather Service said that the western U.S. is in the grips of a massive heatwave that could push temperatures up to 115 degrees Fahrenheit in some locales. This, of course, greatly stresses the power grid.

The California Independent System Operator runs the state’s power grid. It examined the available electrical supply as the state anticipates triple-digit temperatures over the holiday weekend and decided to take action.

The state’s solar panels and windmills are not nearly enough to cover the demand for cold air during the heatwave, so a “Flex Alert” was issued on Wednesday and extended to Thursday.

California also says that it will likely issue “voluntary energy conservation” notices over the Labor Day holiday weekend to try to lower energy usage from 4-9 p.m.

During that time, the announcement said, consumers are asked to set thermostats to at least 78 degrees or higher if medically permissible. They are urged to avoid using electrical appliances and turn off any unnecessary lights.

And “they should also avoid charging electric vehicles while the Flex Alert is in effect.”

This announcement comes mere days after the California Air Resources Board released new rules requiring 35% of new vehicles in the state to produce zero emissions within four years. That increases to 68% by 2030 and 100% by 2035.

U.S. House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) noted the coming ban on internal combustion gas engines and the warning to “avoid” charging vehicles during the heat of the evening. His verdict? It is a “joke.”

And it’s not just California. State legislatures in Massachusetts, Virginia, and Washington have tied their constituents into the same standards approved by the Board.

Cornell University’s College of Engineering recently warned that the sprint to transition to electric vehicles only needs to be accompanied by serious upgrades to the nation’s grids. Otherwise they will be overwhelmed. This short-sightedness will get worse far sooner than it will get better.