Electric-Car Owners Hard Hit by Massive California Power Shutdown

Posted: October 12, 2019 by oldbrew in flames, News, Travel, weather, wind

Smoke from a California wildfire [image credit: BBC]

Drastic loss of mobility. Recharging directly from solar panels is not an option either.

Tesla’s Elon Musk promises battery and solar solutions for the many EV owners who can’t charge their cars, reports Yahoo News.
– – –
From Car and Driver

— Nearly a million Californians are now without power as the electric company deliberately shut it off this week, fearing high winds would spark wildfire.

— The affected area in Northern California surrounds Fremont, home of Tesla, and a great many electric-car owners who can’t charge their vehicles as usual.

— Tesla’s Elon Musk is swapping in battery Powerpacks and solar power for Superchargers in the region as fast as he can get permits, he claims on Twitter.

Nature built California to burn. And there’s only so much Elon Musk, Pacific Gas & Electric, or anyone else can do to diminish that.

“All Tesla Supercharger stations in regions affected by California power outages will have Tesla Powerpacks within next few weeks,” Elon Musk tweeted this morning in response to PG&E’s shutoff of power to several California regions in order to minimize the risk of wildfire from high winds. “Just waiting on permits.”

“Waiting on permits” may as well be California’s state motto. And there’s never any guarantee they’ll actually come.

Full report here.

  1. Bob Greene says:

    They replaced grasslands with pines. Didn’t manage the pines so the fuel density increased. Build houses among the pines without clearing properly and haven’t properly maintained power transmission lines. Now we are going to drop in power walls.

    California Dreaming. And they think the rest of us should be like that.

  2. oldbrew says:

    As one wag said, who needs wind power if they have to turn off the entire electricity supply when it gets windy?
    – – –
    PHOTOS: California wildfires threaten homes in Los Angeles
    Yahoo News Photo Staff•October 11, 2019

    Hot, dry winds sweeping into Southern California raised concerns that the region’s largest utility could widen power shutoffs Friday to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires.

    Southern California Edison turned off electricity to about 20,000 people but warned that thousands more could lose service as Santa Ana winds gained strength.


  3. ivan says:

    All I can say is that the eco-loons are getting what they deserve. They started this by stopping real forest management including the clearing and removal of excess fire loading. Then there is the indiscriminate building of wooden houses without adequate fire protection and the requirement of clearing the plots.

  4. Gamecock says:

    PG&E never turned off the power before. They got sued for a big fire last year; had to declare bankruptcy. Now, thanks to government – California style – they turn off the power if there is a threat.

    The decadent bastards in Sacramento* caused this power outage.

    *Note that they aren’t affected.

  5. It doesn't add up... says:

    The future was supposed to be V2G storage to cover gaps in electricity availability from renewables. The reality is already the present, where no-one wants to sacrifice their battery charge to power someone else, and they’re desperate to be able to keep charging their EVs to get to the stores and to work. Not that delivering a few powerpacks to supercharge stations is going to help much.

  6. From a google search
    The blue gum, the type of eucalyptus tree grown in California, can grow as high as 18 metres in six years. … Eucalyptus trees do contain flammable sap which can exacerbate wildfires and it is true that the trees bore some blame in the 1991 Oakland hills fires and similar fires in Portgual.Dec 11, 2017

  7. hunterson7 says:

    Another reason to never believe “greens”.
    Now, after all this time without power, what if a fire breaks out and people are stuck without transportation?

  8. oldbrew says:

    Fires already happened in LA region – 3 dead, could be more.

    Los Angeles Fire Chief Ralph M. Terrazas said he flew over the fire Friday and saw “hundreds, if not thousands of homes” with charred backyards where firefighters had just managed to halt the flames.

    = = =
    Date: 12/10/19 Editorial, The Wall Street Journal

    The $7,500 tax credit is going to many buyers who don’t qualify.

    Government data show the EV subsidy mostly benefits the well-to-do. Electric cars are substantially more expensive than average vehicles. A Congressional Research Service study found that almost 80% of the credits were claimed by households with adjusted gross income of more than $100,000. About half of all sales are in California.


  9. oldbrew says:

    OCTOBER 12, 2019
    Southern California wildfires burning unchecked

    Gusting winds fueling a fast-moving wildfire in southern California showed no signs of abating Saturday as a blaze that forced the evacuation of some 100,000 people kept burning out of control.

    A red flag warning of critical fire danger—strong winds and very low humidity—has been extended into the weekend, the National Weather Service said.

    = = =
    OCTOBER 12, 2019
    California power shutdowns raise air pollution worries

    Power shutdowns intended to prevent more devastating California wildfires are raising new concerns about another longstanding environmental threat: air pollution.

    As utilities halted service to more than 2 million people this week, lines formed at hardware stores selling portable generators, while many hospitals and businesses fired up their own. The prospect of emissions belching from untold numbers of the machines, some powered by diesel and gasoline as well as propane and natural gas, was troubling in a state already burdened with some of the nation’s worst air quality.


    But the spokesperson still thinks it’s about the climate not forest management 🤔
    = = =
    OCTOBER 12, 2019
    Are California blackouts the new normal for the state?

    “This is not, from my perspective, a climate change story as much as a story about greed and mismanagement over the course of decades,” he [CA state governor] added. “Neglect, a desire to advance not public safety but profits.”


  10. oldbrew says:

    [Click on headline or image for more]

    = = =
    Still pushing the phony climate propaganda, implying it’s humans to blame…

    Residents were left asking why so many people had to lose power and whether rolling blackouts would become routine as climate change makes wildfires more frequent and intense.

  11. GregG says:

    I’d have to say that the majority of electric car owners are s**t out of luck if they don’t have enough battery storage in their car to make it to an area that still has power or don’t have a natural gas powered backup generator. That said, many electric car owners in California have installed solar panels on their house roofs and battery backup in the form of a Tesla PowerWall. These folks can use the battery backup to either run critical loads in their house (refrigerator, LED lights, etc.) or charge the car battery. Then, the Sun will recharge the backup battery each subsequent sunny day. Yes, it’s true, the wealthy don’t suffer as much as the poor slob who can’t afford such a system, but the poor likely don’t own an EV.

    After the Fukashima disaster in Japan, most Nissan Leafs have been set up to power the building they’re plugged into if the power goes out.

    Another interesting emergency backup situation can be made with hybrid cars. Owners of, for example, the Chevy Volt (Opel Ampera) can use the motive battery in the car to run a 1.75kW dc-ac inverter to power the house and then the car’s engine-generator turns on automatically to recharge the motive battery after the 18kWh battery is depleted. Solar panels can augment the recharge. Many people in NYC did this after super storm Sandy. So, there are backup scenarios for the fraction of the population who abide by the boy-scout motto “be prepared”.

  12. oldbrew says:

    Good luck to anyone hoping to charge a car daily just from solar panels.

  13. Gamecock says:

    Government interference with the electrical utilities will perforce decentralize power generation.

    Higher cost, more pollution. Way to go, government!

  14. GregG says:

    Having solar panels and NO battery backup doesn’t necessarily mean that the house power will completely shut down when the power goes off. Quite a few people installed SMA inverters that have an included feature called “secure power”. This allows a dedicated power outlet to continue providing house power up to 2kW as long as the sun is shining. That’s enough to power a Level 1 electric car charger at a low rate (~8 miles per charging hour, 60 miles per average day).

  15. Gamecock says:

    “Quite a few people installed SMA inverters that have an included feature called “secure power”. This allows a dedicated power outlet to continue providing house power up to 2kW as long as the sun is shining.”

    Well God bless them!

    “As long as the sun is shining.”

    Uhhh . . . I think I see a problem here.

  16. oldbrew says:

    You might want power for the house before power for the car, unless you’re bailing out for a few days.

  17. GregG says:

    I am one of those with solar panels and an SMA inverter with “secure power”. I can use it during a power outage to both run the refrigerator AND charge a bank of batteries to last through the night and potentially sunless days. I bought the inverter and batteries second hand for less than US $1,000.
    I truly believe we are headed towards more climate extremes, including conditions that make power outages more frequent. More people die of cold than heat. Might as well be prepared. People living in California, prone to large earthquakes, Santa Ana winds, fires and mud slides (and potentially volcanoes), are wise to have some form of back-up energy.

  18. Gamecock says:

    “I truly believe we are headed towards more climate extremes”

    Weather has extremes. Climate doesn’t. By definition. You don’t even know what climate means.

    Useful, you are.

  19. oldbrew says:

    Stating the obvious, but power cuts and EVs just don’t go together well. Best to understand that before buying a car.

  20. […] kerrotaan, että Kalifornian sähkökatkoista on aiheutunut ongelmia myös sähköautoilijoille (Linkki). […]

  21. GregG says:

    Gamecock: “When we talk about climate change, we talk about changes in long-term averages of daily weather. ”
    So when the short term weather turns cold for decades, you might eventually agree that you are experiencing extreme climate change.


    I have a backup plan because I don’t want to be dependent on the government controlled electric grid. I worked with solar energy, powering spacecraft for over 25 years. It’s in my DNA and I think that the more people prepare for emegencies the better. think we’re actually on the same page.

  22. Gamecock says:


    What the hell are you talking about?

  23. GregG says:

    In my posts I speak of climate change in the future and how to be prepared for possible future events that I believe have been discussed for a long time on this blog site (and I’m talking about cooling due to changes in solar activity). So why is that now a problem? Why all the swearing?

  24. oldbrew says:

    Harley-Davidson puts the brakes on electric bike
    6 hours ago

    ‘Harley-Davidson has halted production of its first electric motorbike after finding a glitch in its charging system.

    The company began shipping the £28,995 105-horsepower LiveWire bikes to dealers in the US last month.

    It says existing bikes are safe but must be charged at dealerships, which will take an hour, rather than using the lower-voltage outlets in homes.’


    Not ideal for those in power-cut land 😟

  25. Gamecock says:

    “how to be prepared for possible future events”

    How would you prepare for an asteroid the size of Oklahoma?

    What if one of Jupiter’s moons breaks orbit and crashes into earth?

    Don’t tell me these aren’t possible.

    England has been Cfb (Köppen-Geiger) for over a hundred years. There is no evidence whatsoever that it is going to change in the next hundred years. Prepare as you wish. “I speak of climate change in the future.” Not in your lifetime, buddy. Your sophistry gives no validity to your assertions.

  26. Gamecock says:


    Spending money today on a problem 30 years out is financially foolish.


    “In my posts I speak of climate change in the future and how to be prepared for possible future events that I believe have been discussed for a long time on this blog site (and I’m talking about cooling due to changes in solar activity).”

    How one prepares for cooling is radically different from how one prepares for warming. How one prepares for drought is radically different from how one prepares for flooding. One can only react to what is actually happening. I.e., YOU CAN’T PREPARE FOR CLIMATE CHANGE (sic). As you don’t know what it will bring. You can only react.

  27. oldbrew says:

    It’s all the fault of big oil and greedy power companies according to climate obsessives. ‘Scapegoat’ springs to mind.

    Fossil fuel companies have received the brunt of the criticism. All of the major contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination have signed a pledge committing not to accept donations greater than $200 from executives and lobbyists in the oil, gas and coal industries.


    The report is from TIME magazine.

  28. mikehealer says:

    It would help if an EV owner has a generator that can be plugged into an inverter that converts solar power’s DC into AC.

  29. p.g.sharrow says:

    mikehealer says:
    October 28, 2019 at 9:38 pm

    “It would help if an EV owner has a generator that can be plugged into an inverter that converts solar power’s DC into AC”

    That is for sure Mike! I just bought 50-200watt panels, 12 are setup to gridtie, and Public Graft & Extortion has been off for 6 of the last 10 days! at least 2 more to go. Our electric costs have skyrocketed 25% this summer and they are demanding another 25% next year.

    10,000 watts of PV is worthless without batteries and inverters. Gridtie is worthless when the grid is down. A small gasoline generator seems to be the only solution at present even @ $4+ a gallon. ..pg

  30. oldbrew says:

    A small gasoline generator seems to be the only solution at present even @ $4+ a gallon. ..pg

    So much for EVs reducing CO2 in the atmosphere 😆