Fuel shortage and EVs

As UK readers will know, much of the country is currently suffering a fuel shortage. While there is, as I understand it, a small supply deficit due to a lack of tanker drivers, the main problem is that when people heard about that deficit they all filled up their cars at once, causing a large spike in demand (which will be balanced by low demand for a couple of weeks as everybody has full tanks).

I’m not here to talk about Brexit, HGV drivers, or fuel crisis management. I’m not even here to be smug about driving a partly electric car. What I want to point out is the light that this throws on an argument we sometimes see against EVs:

Sometimes one hears people saying that if everybody in the UK went electric, the grid couldn’t cope because of the load of all the cars charging at once. And that would be a reasonable concern, if we were talking about first-generation EVs that needed charging every night.

But to within a factor of two, today’s EVs have the same range as petrol cars. Most petrol cars aren’t filled every day, and there’s no reason that most EVs will be either. The grid doesn’t have to be able to cope with this eventuality, and this is demonstrated by the evident fact that the petrol network also cannot cope with this eventuality.

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