California asks residents to avoid charging electric cars amid intense heat wave

Charging electric cars can have the same strain on the power grid as most major appliances.

LOS ANGELES – Days after announcing a ban on the sale of many gasoline powered cars in the state starting in 2035, California is asking residents to avoid charging their electric vehicles during peak usage hours to save energy as a late-summer heatwave grips the Golden State

With temperatures expected to be upwards of 30 degrees above average in most of California, the state's Independent System Operator asked residents on Wednesday to limit use of major appliances, avoid charging electric vehicles and turn off unnecessary lights between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. when demand is highest. 

PG&E, California's largest utility provider, is also encouraging consumers to conserve energy any way they can, especially after 4 p.m. Experts say other easy ways to conserve energy is by avoiding laundry, vacuuming, and dishwashing during peak energy times. They say costumers can also set their thermostat at 78 degrees or higher.

Out of the nearly 40 million residents in the state, there is only around 500,000 registered electric vehicles – or about just 1% of residents. 

Charging electric vehicles can have the same strain on the power grid as most major appliances. A typical electric vehicle charging on an at-home level 2 charger will use about 7,200 watts or less, according to the United States Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. For reference, that's less than a typical electric furnace uses but more than an air conditioner. 

The request comes nearly a week after the California Air Resources Board banned the sale of new gas-powered cars in the state after 2035. Several states, including Virginia, are expected to follow California’s lead on banning the sale of new gas-powered vehicles.

Late-summer heat wave

Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a State of Emergency for the heat wave that is expected to last through the Labor Day weekend.

Heat alerts, including Excessive Heat Warnings, Excessive Heat Watches and Heat Advisories, have been issued as temperatures soar into the 90s and over 100 degrees for areas in California. Those are temperatures upwards of 30 degrees above normal.

Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Diego could all reach over 100 degrees, with heat indexes around 110 degrees.

The FOX Forecast Center said if Downtown Los Angeles reaches 100 degrees, it would be the first time since 2020.

If you’re looking for cool weather in California, head to San Francisco where temps are expected to only reach the mid to upper 70s through Labor Day weekend.

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