Monday, February 6

Too hot to charge your electric car: Tesla’s problem in the midst of a wave of high temperatures


Managing electricity when the hottest days of the year arrive is not just a matter of asking yourself when to turn on the air conditioning and how to lower your electricity bill. The problem has also reached Tesla loads. And it’s not the first time.


Heat. Much hot. Very much, in fact. As is also happening in Spain, where we are experiencing what has been called the “Filomena of summer”, in the United States they are also reaching infernal temperatures. And in Texas it is quite a problem.

The American State is suffering from a severe heat wave in which 40 degrees Celsius is being far exceeded. In fact, historic records were set last Sunday at a dozen locations across Texas. Sunday became the hottest day since 1950.

record lawsuits. As temperatures reach record levels, registering 113º Fahrenheit and therefore 45º C, the demand for energy is also skyrocketing. In fact, the demand for electricity in recent days has been so high that it barely leaves room for maneuver in the event of a general failure of the system.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has had to issue notices to the population to reduce their consumption between 2:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. Last Friday, an energy demand equivalent to 78,204 megawatts was reached.

In the limit. Are we talking about high or low demand? With the data of the last days, the ERCOT has calculated that 79,671 megawatts can be demanded in the aforementioned period. With all of its capacities working at full capacity, ERCOT estimates that the state grid can generate 80,168 megawatts.

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In other words, there is only 0.61% room for manoeuvre. A small unexpected demand for electricity could cause major blackouts, a message that Tesla has also alerted its drivers.

We recommend avoiding charging. With some messages on the screens of its vehicles, Tesla has reminded its users of the dangers that the state network runs in the face of these historical temperatures. In fact, they have recommended drivers to refrain from charging their vehicles between 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

As you can read in the tweet above, Tesla drivers are getting this message: “A heat wave is expected to affect the grid in Texas in the next few days. The grid operator recommends avoiding charging during peak hours between 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., if possible, to assist state efforts to manage demand.”

enemies and allies. Beyond the fact that Tesla owners can decisively influence the state electricity network with the charging of their vehicles, Tesla has also proposed, according to Electrek, as an alternative solution to these difficult times.

We are experts in technology, but the time comes to buy an air conditioner and we suffer

The media assures that the owners of their Powerwall can help sustain the network, since they can deliver the stored electricity but that they need to be compensated by the ERCOT if they want more users to join a pilot test in which 64 people have already participated.

common problems. Despite the fact that last Sunday was the hottest day in the last 72 years, Texas has regular problems with its power grid. In June they already made similar notices to the population, to which Tesla also joined. But it is also that, during the month of May, six power plants fell just before the first great heat wave of the year.

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