Will EVs' electricity usage burden the grid? A look at their impact

By Kevin Armstrong
Teslas charging via energy producting by solar panels
Teslas charging via energy producting by solar panels
Tesla

Teslas, which make up the majority of electric vehicles, got caught in the crossfire during the September heatwave in California. As a result, owners of zero emissions cars were asked to limit when they plug in to charge. However, now that the emergency has passed and cooler heads have prevailed, several reports are surfacing showing how little EVs drain the electric grind. Spoiler alert, it's not much, and maybe less than you thought.

Let's start with California. According to Scientific American, EVs in that state account for: "less than 1 percent of the grid's total load during peak hours." California has more than 1 million electric cars, the most of any state in the U.S. But what about the drain caused by the other 26 million EVs worldwide? It's even lower.

A research branch of Bloomberg studies "trends driving the transition to a lower-carbon economy," published a report looking at the global situation. According to BloombergNEF, electric vehicles add around 0.2% to global energy demand. That accounts for 27 million electric passenger vehicles worldwide using 60 terawatt-hours annually.

BNEF zoomed in on a country well ahead of the curve on EV adoption. More than 20 percent of the cars on the road in Norway are plugging in, and these EVs are racking up more miles than ICE cars. Plus, nearly 80 percent of vehicles bought in 2021 in that country are electric. So indeed, the system cannot handle such a drain - right? It turns out EVs in Norway account for 1.4 percent of demand on the grid.

BNEF also crunched the numbers to forecast future consumption. It researched two scenarios for EVs in the next two to three decades. One deals with the main driver of EV growth being market demand. This situation assumes there will be 730 million electric passenger cars by 2040. If that were the case, these passenger vehicles would increase electricity demands by 7 percent. When adding other vehicles like buses and trucks, the demand would rise to 11 percent.

In the other scenario, the report assumes the world will be net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050. In that case, there will be 1 billion EVs on the road, which would increase demand to 9 percent, and when adding in other vehicles, that number goes to 15. The report went even further. If every vehicle on the road were electric by 2050, the demand on the grid would be 27 percent.

With more people going electric, that demand will grow, and it is up to jurisdictions and utility providers to upgrade the system accordingly. Every country, state and city must plan for this growth to handle the EV revolution.

Tesla Screen Size Comparison for All Tesla Models, Including Size, Resolution and Aspect Ratio

By Kevin Armstrong
A good view of all the displays available in a Model S
A good view of all the displays available in a Model S
Tesla

Tesla is a pioneer in the automotive industry, and one of the most defining features of its vehicles is the use of large touchscreens. These screens are a central hub for most vehicle functions, including music, vehicle settings, navigation, and more. Tesla's commitment to a minimalist and user-friendly design is evident through integrating these screens, which have become iconic in electric vehicles.

A comparison of the different size displays in Teslas
A comparison of the different size displays in Teslas
Not a Tesla App

2012-2020 Model S & Model X

Between 2012 and 2020, the Model S and Model X were equipped with vertical screens, which stood out due to their impressive size and orientation. These screens measured 17 inches diagonally and allowed intuitive control of the vehicles' various features.

In addition to the central touchscreen, both models featured an instrument cluster screen behind the steering wheel, displaying vital information such as speed, range, visualizations and charging status. The instrument cluster features a 12.3" screen with an 8:3 aspect ratio and a resolution of 1280 by 480.

2021-Present - Model S and Model X Screen Sizes

The Model S and Model X have a center display measuring 17 inches
The Model S and Model X have a center display measuring 17 inches
Tesla

In 2021, Tesla introduced a significant update to the Model S and Model X, replacing the vertical screens with horizontal ones. The new 17-inch screen boasts a 16:9.5 aspect ratio, providing users with an even more immersive experience. The display has a resolution of 2200 by 1300 pixels which is about 150 pixels per inch (PPI).

The instrument cluster remains present, ensuring drivers have easy access to crucial information at a glance. Additionally, a rear display measuring eight inches was introduced, which Tesla later updated in 2022 by reducing the bezels, resulting in a slightly larger screen size. Tesla also introduced the ability for the center display to tilt left and right.

The newer Model S and Model X has a rear display measuring over 8 inches
The newer Model S and Model X has a rear display measuring over 8 inches
Tesla

Model 3 & Model Y Screen Size

On the other hand, the Model 3 and Model Y take a different approach to screen design. Both models lack an instrument cluster, opting instead for a single, central 15.4-inch touchscreen with a 16:9 screen ratio. The display features a resolution of 1920 by 1200, which comes in just below 150 PPI. This minimalist approach further emphasizes Tesla's commitment to a clutter-free, user-friendly interface.

The interior of a Model 3 with a 15
The interior of a Model 3 with a 15
Tesla

Cybertruck

The highly anticipated Cybertruck is expected to feature the most giant screen yet, with a whopping 18.5-inch horizontal screen without an instrument cluster. There are also plans for a rear screen, though the exact size remains unconfirmed. However, plenty of images of the Cybertruck appeared during Investor Day, and many observers believe the rear screen is the same as the Model S and Model X at around eight inches.

Semi

The Tesla Semi puts the driver between two 15-inch displays
The Tesla Semi puts the driver between two 15-inch displays
Tesla

Finally, the Tesla Semi, a big electric rig designed for long-haul transportation, features dual 15-inch screens located to the left and right of the driver. These screens replace the traditional instrument cluster, providing the driver vital information and access to various controls. However, there is no rear screen in the Semi, as it's not necessary for its intended use.

Tesla's commitment to innovation and user experience is exemplified by integrating large, intuitive touchscreens in their vehicles. From the early vertical screens in the Model S and Model X to the current horizontal screens and the upcoming Cybertruck, Tesla continues to push the boundaries of automotive design and technology, ensuring that their vehicles remain at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution.

Tesla Model Y Conquers the World; Becomes Best-Selling Car

By Kevin Armstrong
Tesla's Model Y is the world's best selling car in Q1 of 2023
Tesla's Model Y is the world's best selling car in Q1 of 2023
Tesla

The Tesla Model Y made a monumental leap in Q1 2023, emerging as the world's best-selling car. Not just the best-selling EV, or the best-selling SUV, but the world's best-selling vehicle, period.

According to industry analysts JATO Dynamics, this marks the first occasion in history where an EV has claimed this title. The growth trajectory of Model Y sales globally over recent years had hinted at this milestone, fulfilling Tesla's earlier predictions that demand could reach a million units per year.

JATO Dynamics' Revealing Analysis: Model Y Trumps Corolla

Data compiled by JATO Dynamics analyst Felipe Munoz reveals a compelling story. Model Y's Q1 sales reached 267,200, outperforming Toyota Corolla's 256,400 sales. The comparison becomes even more dramatic when considering other top contenders like Toyota's Hilux, RAV4, and Camry. Model Y's sales, largely driven by Tesla's significant price cuts, are escalating, while Corolla sales appear to be dwindling. This dynamic is particularly impressive considering the Model Y's introduction to the market a year later than the Corolla (2019 vs 2018).

The Legacy of the Toyota Corolla: A Reign Unchallenged Until Now

For decades, the Toyota Corolla has held an uncontested reign as the world's best-selling car, with its affordability, reliability, and universal availability contributing to its enduring popularity. Its 2018 iteration further consolidated this status, offering consumers a well-rounded package that catered to a wide variety of tastes and requirements across different markets.

The Corolla was indeed a global favorite, securing sales in practically every corner of the world, from North America and Europe to Asia. Its broad availability in multiple body styles — sedan, hatchback, and wagon — further expanded its appeal to a diverse customer base. Despite this formidable legacy, the emergence of the Model Y has marked a shift in consumer preferences. It heralds a new era in which electric vehicles can claim the top spot in global car sales.

The High Price Tag vs. Accessibility: Tesla's Strategic Moves

Tesla's ambitious projections regarding the Model Y have come to fruition, culminating in an average quarterly sales increase from last year's 189k to this year's Q1 figures. With this growth rate, Model Y is on track to exit 2023 with over 1 million sales. A feat previously only achieved by Toyota Corolla, which sold 1.12 million units in the previous year.

One may wonder how an EV with a price tag of approximately $40k (after credits) could outperform the more affordable Corolla, priced at $21k for a base model. Despite Model Y's higher cost, Tesla's strategic price cuts have widened its appeal, contributing significantly to its increased market share.

Elon Musk's prediction that the Model Y could become the world's best-selling car seems increasingly plausible. Given its current momentum and the growing demand for EVs, it's likely that Model Y will maintain its leading position, making Tesla's mark in the automotive industry even more indelible.

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