The meeting began with a recap of the previous year's discussion on electric cars (EVs), highlighting the challenges of limited range, high costs, and environmental damage in battery production. Hybrid electrics were seen as a solution to the range issue, but battery cost and manufacturing remained major problems. Tesla was identified as the top-selling EV, with its 1,000-lb battery containing various elements such as lithium, nickel, manganese, cobalt, copper, aluminum, steel, and plastic.
The focus then shifted to the question of where all the required electric power would come from for EVs. It was noted that EVs now account for 3% of US car sales, and federal and state governments are actively promoting their adoption while planning to phase out conventional internal combustion (IC) cars. However, as gas prices have decreased, IC cars currently cost less to operate than EVs. The meeting also discussed the increased incidence of fires and explosions involving EV batteries.
The discussion delved into energy units and the current US car population. With 276 million cars registered in the US, approximately 39 million cars are refueled daily, consuming around 379 million gallons of gasoline. This is equivalent to 43.7 trillion BTUs per day or 12.8 million KWH. If all cars in the US were EVs, a staggering 12,800,000 MWH would be required daily for recharging, which would necessitate the construction of 1,609 new power plants the size of the largest nuclear power plant in the world.
The meeting concluded by examining the challenges of generating the required power for EVs. Nuclear power was identified as the only viable option due to its capacity, while coal, petroleum, and natural gas plants were deemed unsuitable. Solar and wind power were discussed as "clean" energy sources but faced challenges related to costs, environmental impact, and the availability of resources. Georgia Power was highlighted for its proactive stance on renewable power and assistance with EV charging stations, while Hart EMC was noted to be less active in this area.
In summary, the meeting emphasized the need to consider the significant power demands of a growing EV fleet and the limited options available for meeting those demands. The current capacity of Georgia Power was deemed sufficient for short-term EV expansion, but no additional power plant construction beyond existing plans was scheduled. The meeting encouraged individuals to explore practical ways to charge their EVs, considering factors such as power availability, installation requirements, and the limitations of rooftop solar panels.