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Electric Cars Are Coming, and Fast. Is the Nation's Grid Up to It?


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A Chevrolet Bolt electric car charging up in Baker, CA.

Is the U.S. power grid prepared to handle a surge of new electric vehicles?

Credit: Philip Cheung/The New York Times

Major automakers are increasingly betting that millions of new cars and trucks over the next decade will be plugged into electrical outlets, not fueled up at gas stations. That raises a question: Is the nation's power grid ready to handle this surge of new electric vehicles?

Today, fewer than 1% of cars on America's roads are electric. But a seismic shift is underway.

General Motors said Thursday that it aims to stop selling new gasoline-powered cars and light trucks by 2035 and will pivot to battery-powered vehicles. California's governor has set a goal of phasing out sales of new combustion engines statewide in just 15 years. Automakers like Tesla, Ford and Volkswagen plan to introduce dozens of new electric models in the years ahead, spurred on by plummeting battery prices and concerns about climate change.

That shift will have sweeping implications for the companies that produce and sell electricity and manage the grid. Analysts generally agree that it is entirely feasible to power many millions of new cars with electricity, but it will take careful planning.

From The New York Times
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