Analyst Take: EVs take more than just flipping a switch. Can the grid handle it?

Transitioning the US’ nearly 250 million vehicles to electric is about much more than manufacturing battery-powered versions that people will buy. It requires an infrastructure overhaul amounting to an engineering, construction, and political feat.

  • For example, by 2050 in New York, electric cars, trucks, and buses are expected to use 14% of the state’s electric output, equivalent to powering a city of 4 million people, per The Washington Post.
  • A projected increase in EVs—from 1.5 million in 2020 to up to 35 million by 2030—will require an investment of between $75 billion and $125 billion in the electric power sector, according to a report from The Brattle Group.
  • The US Department of Energy’s $20 billion in funding for the “Building a Better Grid” initiative is an initial step in the right direction. However, given that President Biden’s goal is for half of all new car sales to be electric, fuel cell, or hybrid by 2030, with many old cars still on the road, a full transition to electric will take decades.
  • It will also take an estimated $515 billion investment by automakers through 2030, considerably more government funding, better planning around securing minerals for batteries, and a lot more charging stations.

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