Plug In America |

Will plug-in cars lead to more coal and nuclear power plants?

We won't need additional generating capacity in the U.S. electrical grid for plug-in cars for decades to come. During that time we can shift to cleaner, renewable power options that cause less environmental harm than fossil fuels and nuclear plants.

The existing electrical grid's off-peak capacity for power generation is sufficient to power 73% of commutes to and from work by cars, light trucks, SUVs, and vans without building a single new power plant if people drive plug-in hybrids, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In addition, the existing nighttime electricity could be stored in plug-in vehicles and retrieved during peak-demand hours through vehicle-to-grid technology for use by the grid, helping to meet society's daytime power needs.

New power generation facilities should focus on clean, renewable sources such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal power. Combine these with the institution of energy efficiency measures throughout society, and we can meet the targets needed to avoid the worst effects of global warming without resorting to more coal or nuclear plants, according to the 2007 report Tackling Climate Change.