If everyone in the USA switched to electric-powered vehicles, would it affect the economy more than oil?

If everyone used electric-powered vehicles, wouldn't there be a crisis for power-production just like the issues with oil? Would there be a rise in the cost for electricity? If so, the wide-spread use of electric vehicles would affect even people who don't even drive, as everyone uses electricity. Electricity is basically infinite in terms of solar or hydroelectricity, but would it be enough 'and' be cost-efficient if everyone in the country charged their electric cars every day? Is it more efficient to give up oil, which may or may not be more inexpensive in the long run, or switch to electricity, which could possibly cost more in raw materials than oil would?

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  • Kano
    Lv 7
    5 years ago
    Best Answer

    Interesting question.

    It would require building more power stations, solar and wind are basically useless as an electric grid needs flexibility, they have to balance supply and demand, and control voltage, frequency, and power factor, this you cannot do with solar and wind, so they have to be restricted to a small percentage, otherwise they destabilize the electrical grid system.

    Hydro and geothermal are limited by geographical considerations, there are only so may places you can build them.

    In terms of efficiency using electric cars would be less efficient, if you take into account the efficiency of a power station, the loss of transmission, and the loss of efficiency in batteries and charging.however there would be some gains in the fact that more electricity would be used during nightime periods, when consumption is normally lower.

    However without major advances in batteries, and a lot more charging stations it is just not going to happen, the intial cost, the cost of replacement batteries, the limited range, and the long recharging times, all make electric cars (except in a few cases) as not cost effective or user friendly.

    • Widespread wind resources, with high voltage DC transmission could power the US many times over. And in many places it is now cheaper then the much subsidized coal.

  • 5 years ago

    First your question needs a few stats that will give some perspective. Most people think of additional generating capacity that might be required, but this is not necessary. There are about 225 million vehicles on the roads in the US. If all of that fleet were switched to electric and charged at night we would have sufficient generating capacity to power about 86% of the vehicles. About 4.5 KWH of electricity is required to refine each gallon of fuel. Eliminating the need for this fuel would free up more than enough electricity to charge the balance of the new all electric fleet. So generating capacity is not an issue. We have generating problems now due to the peak daytime load, not overall capacity. The EV is by its nature an electrical storage device. This is a capacity badly needed in our electrical grid.

    What would be needed is a build out of public and private charging stations. Streamlining the laws to allow for efficient construction would be a first step. Modular design would be another. Designing a smart grid to take best advantage of the storage capacity of electric vehicles would also be a big plus and a tremendous benefit to the economy. Designing a system for a vehicle to grid flow of power would allow some of the stored capacity to take care of peak demands and not only help with intermittency of some renewable source but also simulate expanded capacity for the grid.

    Society would benefit from less pollution and more economic activity going into more pockets that would in turn stimulate the economy. With such attention on zero emission vehicles a critical eye would then be cast on our production sources. There would be an added push for more renewable sources. Solar thermal power plants are now being built with thermal storage that will allow the plants to generate power day or night.

    Finally we might see some of our roadways electrified so that vehicles traveling on them could pick up a charge wirelessly making the vehicles have unlimited range and no need to recharge.

  • 5 years ago

    Yes, that switch would cause an electric power shortage. Lucky for us solar panels are a booming business now, and getting cheaper all the time. That is why Tesla CEO Elon Musk is also investing is solar panel company Solar City.

  • 5 years ago

    we don't have enough generating capacity NOW , if electric cars became the norm we would either need 1000 more power stations or there would be regular blackouts nationwide, currently it takes more oil to run an electric car than a gas powered car, it just moves the pollution to the generating station , the only solution would be all nuclear or nuclear/solar

    • S3rL5 years agoReport

      Nuclear power may be too dangerous to use in something as small as a car, especially since a modern vehicle uses around 3,000 times less electricity as nuclear power generates, also, what about radiation poisoning?

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  • 5 years ago

    My idea of efficiency is 250 watts ,15 m.p.h .and 4- 12 volt 12 ah lithium batterys with 2 wheels

  • 5 years ago

    well, oil man make too much money over the past years, i don't think you should worry about their living,and oil mining make the earth more chance to earthquake,

  • G
    Lv 5
    5 years ago

    Batteries are a real problem. On that scale with current technology it would be an environmental holocaust.

  • 5 years ago

    A lot more coal would be burned. Do you climate extremist want that?

  • Mary
    Lv 4
    5 years ago

    Then we would be more dependent on coal

  • 5 years ago

    I think it will be better

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