Californians warned against charging their electric cars because of the heat

Californians were ordered not to charge their electric cars on Wednesday, August 31, so as not to further strain an aging electricity grid, battered by a feared heat wave. Last week, the state announced a ban on the sale of new gas-powered cars from 2035. Temperatures reached 44 degrees in the suburbs of Los Angeles as a heat dome hangs over the American West.

The sweltering weather is expected to put pressure on an already strained power grid, especially during the hottest hours when air conditioners – crucial in the US – run at full speed. “Consumers are asked to reduce their energy use between 4pm and 9pm, when the system is most active, because demand remains high and there is less solar available.”said the American Public Power Association, an organization representing utilities.

The three main recommended measures: set the thermostat to 25°C or more, avoid using large appliances and charging electric vehicles and turn off unnecessary lights, the organization said. Electricity is a sensitive issue for the state, whose infrastructure is dilapidated. Electricity companies regularly ask households to limit their consumption during certain hours when the solar panels stop producing power while demand remains high due to the heat.

But the call not to charge your electric car has been widely mocked on social networks, at a time when the state is promoting this type of vehicle. “California just made electric vehicles mandatory AND asks residents not to charge them between 4 and 9 pm?”, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton joked on Twitter. On Thursday, California authorities announced that new cars sold must be “zero-emission” pollutants from 2035 at the latest. The decision had been seen as a turning point for the electric car industry, with California representing an important car market and potentially influencing national or international standards.

little respite

The US Weather Service (NWS) has issued an “excessive heat” alert for most of California, as well as parts of Arizona and Nevada. “Dangerously hot temperatures are expected” until Sunday evening, the weather service warned, warning of the health risks of the heat wave. “Those without access to adequate and reliable air conditioning and a source of hydration are most at risk, but a large proportion of the population is likely to suffer the effects.” The night will bring some respite, with temperatures not dropping below 26°C in many places. In Southern California, heat waves are not unusual in September, but temperatures above 37°C are considered very hot, even for an area known for its near-permanent sunshine.

This heat wave comes as large parts of the south-west of the country have recently been hit by thunderstorms of rare intensity and torrential downpours. The Death Valley desert was flooded and one person died after being swept away by a flash flood Friday in Utah’s Zion National Park, famous for its red rock cliffs and canyons.

Scientists have been warning for years about the impact of global warming, especially caused by the use of fossil fuels and the emission of greenhouse gases, and which is now visible to millions of people. Heat waves are becoming more extreme, while storms that were once rare weather events are becoming more intense and more frequent.

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