The massive Florida blackout on Tuesday has quieted some of the electric car advocates and the 874 or so owners of EVs in the state. The Florida blackout that affected between 1 and 3 million people in the southern regions, started at an electrical substation west of Miami.
A fire at the substation triggered a domino-like regional collapse of the grid including the automated shutdown of two nuclear reactors. Had this been an actual emergency, as they say, such as a prolonged blackout and a breach of the nuclear reactors, the electric car owners, with depleted batteries would have had to find other means to flee the emergency situation rather than relying on their grid dependent vehicles.
And, if another hurricane like Hurricane Andrew in 1992 were to strike the same scenario would be upon many Floridians with electric cars. Besides dealing with wide spread electrical outages the car owners would also need to deal with escape from the category 5 winds that climbed up to 175 mph and killed 65 people.
With grid dependency, we become slaves to the aging electrical infrastructure and the whims of Mother Nature. The Northeast Blackout of 2003 that affected 50 million people in the U. S. and Canada should have been a wakeup call.
Let me be clear that electric vehicles do have a place in our society as secondary cars or for primary vehicles when they are powered off-grid. But, in the post-911 and post-Katrina world that we live in, owning a grid-dependent car will not make sense for many folks in many regions. I’m sure a few diehards will fully disagree with this assessment, however.