Electric Cars: Not So Clean If the Power Isn’t? New Factories Raise Concerns

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There’s a bit of a snag in the exciting world of electric vehicles (EVs). New factories are being built in the Southeast to make EVs and their batteries, which is great for jobs. But there’s a catch – these factories need a lot of power to run. Unfortunately, the companies that supply electricity (utilities) are planning to meet this demand by building new natural gas power plants instead of using cleaner sources like solar or wind power. This is according to a report by Energy News Network.

The demand for electricity is expected to jump in the Southeast because of all these new EV factories, along with other things like data centers. This is a big change – electricity use hasn’t grown much in the US for over a decade.

An Autocraft factory’s aerial view (Credits: Autocraft)

So, how are utilities planning to handle this extra demand? In the Southeast, they seem to be leaning heavily on natural gas. For example, just this week, Georgia approved a plan to build several new natural gas plants. Other states in the region are following suit, with some even adding new laws to speed up construction of natural gas plants.

While natural gas is better than coal or gasoline for the environment, it still pollutes. This is a concern because electric cars are supposed to be a clean transportation option. Wouldn’t it be better if they were powered by clean electricity sources like solar or wind?

This situation brings back memories of a similar concern from a few years ago. Back then, people worried that EV factories would be built in places that relied on dirty coal power. There’s also a bit of a political twist here – many of the states building these new EV factories are run by politicians who don’t necessarily support policies that encourage electric vehicles, but they do like the jobs the factories bring.

foxconn factory
A worker working in a Foxconn factory (Credits: Foxconn)

The good news is that even with all these new factories, some studies say the cost of electricity will eventually go down in the long run. Also, while there might be a need to upgrade the power grid to handle all the new electric vehicles on the road, that’s a challenge for the future.

So, for now, there’s a bit of a roadblock on the highway to clean transportation. Electric vehicles are a great step forward, but how they’re powered will be an important factor in how clean they truly are.

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