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

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 Reduces Price of FSD Subscription to $99 Per Month [Subscriptions Now Available in Canada Too!]

By Not a Tesla App Staff

Tesla just dropped its FSD subscription pricing dramatically in the U.S., lowering the cost from $199 to $99 per month. However, not everyone is thrilled with the new pricing.

For owners who bought the Enhanced Autopilot package for $6,000 USD, Tesla offered a lower-priced FSD subscription of $99, instead of $199. However, with this new FSD price reduction, EAP owners are no longer receiving a discount.

FSD Subscription Expansion

Currently, the FSD subscription is only available in the U.S., but plans for expansion are underway. Tesla's Rohan Patel recently announced that the subscription will soon be available in Canada, alongside the introduction of an annual plan for Premium Connectivity. 

This expansion into the Canadian market is anticipated to follow a similar pricing strategy, adjusted for the currency exchange rate, possibly setting the cost at approximately $140 CAD per month.

Update: Tesla has just announced that FSD subscriptions are now available in Canada! What’s even more surprising is the unexpectedly low subscription price of $99 CAD. Tesla took to X to announce the availability in Canada but unfortunately didn’t reveal any additional information regarding the subscriptions.

Is Buying FSD Still Worth It?

Despite the lowered subscription price, the outright purchase price for FSD remains steep at $12,000. This price point equates to subscribing to the service for over 10 years. Given that the average length of car ownership in the U.S. is about 8 years, this makes the current price of buying FSD unattractive to most. The saving grace of buying FSD is that you know what you're paying for the life of the vehicle and can avoid any potential subscription price increases.

Temporary Reduction or Long-term Strategy?

Tesla has not confirmed whether the price reduction is a temporary promotional tactic or a permanent adjustment. The timing coincides with Tesla's release of FSD v12 and its trial offer, suggesting that the company is keen on encouraging more drivers to experience FSD. This approach not only boosts user engagement but also accelerates the volume of data Tesla can collect to improve the system.

FSD With Referral Credits

Although Tesla hasn't adjusted the price of buying FSD, it is tweaking its referral program to accommodate the new price. Three months of FSD are now available through Tesla's referral program for 6,000 credits, reduced from the previous 12,000 credits.

Tesla's reduction in FSD in the U.S. and its planned expansion into Canada reflect a strategic initiative to make FSD more accessible and financially attractive to a broader audience. There's no doubt this change will increase the number of FSD subscriptions, but it'll be interesting to see how much. To break even, Tesla would need to double the number of subscriptions, but they likely have their eyes set much higher.

If you currently subscribe to FSD, Tesla has automatically reduced future payments to the lower $99 price point.

Tesla Cybertruck to Receive Additional Features in Upcoming Update

By Not a Tesla App Staff

Tesla frequently introduces new models or trim levels before all the software features are available. This situation also applies to the Cybertruck, where several features are still in development.

In the 2024.8 update, Tesla added a handful of features to help the Cybertruck catch up in the software department, adding features such as Reset Tire Mileage, Rear Passenger Headphones, Auto Wipers and others. Tesla also added a Cybertruck exclusive feature that sets off the truck's alarm if the trailer is unhitched from the vehicle.

However, Tesla continues to improve Cybertruck's software. The company is planning an upcoming update that will let the truck charge faster and add Tesla's convenient cabin overheat protection feature.

According to Tesla's SVP of powertrain and energy, Drew Baglino, the Cybertruck's charging speed is about to be upgraded. This software update, slated for release later this quarter, is set to substantially improve the Cybertruck's charging curve and unlock faster charging times for owners. Baglino said the update will "let the Cybertruck get 154 miles of charge in just 15 minutes." That's a 20% increase over the truck's current 128 miles in 15 minutes.

Early reports on the Cybertruck's 4680 cells revealed a somewhat disappointing charging curve. The truck's charging speed would start at about 250kW, then drop off to about 150kW at ~40%. It would then level off at 75-80kW for the remainder of the charge.

It seems Tesla was being careful with the Cybertruck's new battery pack, but now, the company is ready to unlock additional throughput.

This fits Tesla's usual approach. The company likes to start conservatively and then improve its vehicles over time.

Cabin Overheat Protection

Another feature that's set to arrive on the Cybertruck is Cabin Overheat Protection (COP), according to the Cybertruck's program manager. This feature which keeps the cabin from overheating has been available in other models for several years, but it has yet to be made available for the Cybertruck.

In 2022, Tesla added the ability to customize the temperature at which COP would turn on. Users can now choose COP to activate at 90, 95 or 100º Fahrenheit. The Cybertruck's COP is expected to match the same features available in other models.

Given that Tesla's SVP and program manager have officially commented on these upcoming features, it may not be long before we see them available in an upcoming update.

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