A Critical Item

President Joe Biden (D) wants half the new cars sold in the US to be electric, and he wants and 500,000 new charging stations for them, both by 2030. He considers reliable EV charging stations to be critical to getting us switched over to battery cars.

Charging stations are necessary (assuming the switchover itself is necessary; it’s not, but that’s a separate story), but they’re far from sufficient. The important thing here is reliable electricity running to each charging station—electricity from the grid. But that requires hydrocarbon-powered electricity generating plants, and it requires the electric grid, itself barely able to handle current loads—see the rolling blackouts that are routine in California and that have become a risk in Texas—to be upgraded to handle the vastly increased loads imposed by all those battery-powered vehicles, whether charged at the charging stations or in the home garage.

Also necessary, but not sufficient even in concert with the above, is an adequate definition of “fast charging.” If a battery-powered vehicle cannot be charged to the 400-mile range of a full gasoline tank in substantially the same 5 minutes it takes to “charge” that gasoline tank to an internal combustion engine-powered car to a 400-mile range, the battery-powered vehicle will remain impractical.

The true Critical Items, then, are at the origin and near-origin: deregulating domestic oil and natural gas production and deregulated electricity generation so there will be energy to put onto that upgraded grid.

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