Experts predict problems coming for electric cars


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – With more companies coming out with electric cars, experts are predicting costly upgrades to towns and cities in West Virginia.  

With more electric cars on the road, more charging stations are needed. Along with those stations, companies will have to build more power sources and lines to get and disperse that energy.  Experts said we don’t have those capabilities yet.

“Electric vehicles are great, but we have not fully considered the impact that it will have on our electric grid infrastructure,” said Roy Nutter, West Virginia University professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.  “It will require a lot of expansion of our electric distribution and charging facilities. Remember, electric power comes from the ‘power company.’  We must consider this when considering wide-scale EV adoption.”

Since solar power doesn’t work at night, and the wind doesn’t blow all the time, companies will have to rely on other sources, like coal, to get energy. Experts said this makes West Virginia a prime spot to start building more infrastructure.

However, big power plant sites will produce more CO2, but with the right approach, they said it wouldn’t cause more harm to the environment.

“You can capture those emissions more easily at that one location, at that big scale, and you’ll never be able to capture all of the millions of vehicles on the road,” Trina Wafle, assistant director of the Energy Institute and interim director of the National Alternative Fuels Training Consortium said.  “So, it’s a great climate change approached, carbon management approach to move toward electric vehicles in a transportation sector.”

Experts said in about 8 to 10 years, if infrastructure doesn’t grow, drivers will start to see problems at charging stations.

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