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California’s Electric Vehicle Dream Is Turning Into A Nightmare

California might be blazing a trail with getting a large number of electric vehicles on the road, but the only trail California is currently blazing is the wildfire/PG&E fiasco that could once again plunge millions of Californians into the dark in the next wave of blackouts, expected today, the likes of which could sour investor confidence in purchasing a vehicle that relies on sketchy power sources.

 It’s windy in dry California, and apparently that’s enough to trigger another preemptive blackout for PG&E customers. For starters, PG&E will cut power to 179,000 residents on Wednesday.

But it’s not just PG&E. Other utilities, too, such as Edison International and Sempra, are also expected to cut off power to hundreds of thousands of Californians who are in an area that is notoriously dry, with winds expected to combine with those dry conditions to create too much of a fire risk.

The result? A blackout akin to the Venezuela 2019 blackouts that kept millions in the dark.

The blackouts—which one might expect from a third-world or mismanaged nation such as Venezuela or even Pakistan, which leads the world in the number of annual blackouts—are life and death for some California residents, and the problem isn’t expected to be resolved anytime soon. But it also may mean life and death for California’s plan to encourage residents to adopt EVs.

Related: Oil Rebounds On Rare Market Optimism

Unlike third-world blackouts, critical California operations such as medical facilities are all equipped with backup generators for times of outage. But residents who rely on electricity to power medical devices are at great risk. And EV owners may find themselves stranded.

The PG&E purposeful blackouts are part of a wildfire safety program that the state-mandated after the wine country fires that overtook $9.4 billion in property. The cause of that fire, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, was PG&E equipment. PG&E points the finger at the usual suspect: climate change.

As for those electric vehicles that various California state agencies have earmarked $2.46 billion in public funds for—the state might do better to spend that money on some plan to keep the lights on. If that thought is not palatable enough for Californians, the state could earmark those funds as a way to keep those EVs charged.  

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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  • Denis Petrov on October 26 2019 said:
    There is obviously a typo - "sour investor confidence" should read "sour consumer confidence".

    People who want to drive cars that don't poison the air where they live, that are cheaper and more reliable than gasoline and diesel cars do not deserve to be made fun of by this author. If anything, oil is by far the sketchiest energy source we have now.
  • Mike Berger on October 26 2019 said:
    I really like having a full tank everytime I go anywhere, everyday.
  • Al Coholic on October 25 2019 said:
    Don't forget to fill up before the lights go out, you won't be able to pump gas and if there's a fire you may need to evacuate. In warning ev owners to charge they neglect to tell everyone else the same thing.
  • Chris Liang on October 24 2019 said:
    EV is capable of backfeeding the house if the battery wasn't fully drained. Just need permits and switches to make that happen. For example, your EV is capable to drive 200 miles each charge, you return home with 100 miles range left. That can be about 30 kWhr of battery remain in the EV. You can use that to ride out a short outage easily. If the range on the next day is the concern, then you will need battery backup for the house which can be recharge by photovoltaic panels.
  • Oyl Sux on October 24 2019 said:
    Oil caused global warming and global warming is causing the fires.
  • Jonas Olsson on October 23 2019 said:
    It is also impossible to fill up a gas car at the pump during a power outage.

    An EV will "fill up" automatically at home if the power comes back on for some hours.

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