The New York Times examines what some cities-most of them in the San Francisco Bay Area-are doing to prepare for this new crop of plug-in cars, and notes some potential problems:
In Berkeley, a town known for its environmental sensibility, one out of five cars sold today is a hybrid Prius. If electric cars are adopted that broadly in the next few years, problems could ensue."If you just allow willy-nilly random charging, are we going to have neighborhood blackouts?" asked Mr. Tang, the utility executive. He said a single car could consume three times as much electricity as a typical San Francisco home.There has been lots of talk about whether electric cars can be practical and affordable, and whether we can build convenient networks of charging stations, but if and when those problems are resolved, dealing with the higher demand for electricity could be an issue.One way to address this problem might be to use distributed wind and solar energy generators to power chargers. A law firm in Chicago just installed the nation's first wind-powered charging station. We should also start working on that smart grid.