PG&E Power Outage Creates Unforeseen Hassle for California Tesla Drivers

By
Andrew O'Malley
October 9, 2019

Almost one million customers of the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) in Northern California face extensive power outages for up to five days, beginning at midnight on Wednesday. The blackouts are a massive inconvenience for ordinary PG&E customers, but they’re even worse if you drive a Tesla.

PG&E Blackouts Leave Teslas Out of Juice

As CCN reported, the goal of these outages is to reduce the potential cause of wildfires. Current dry weather in the region is conducive to these blazes.

These power outages could cause major issues for Tesla owners in the area, who will find themselves unable to charge their vehicles. Anticipating the blackout, the company sent an in-car warning to owners to have their cars fully charged in advance of these power outages.

Tesla vehicles are warning owners to charge up before the PG&E blackouts arrive. | Source: Michal Simek/Facebook via Electrek

The last thing you want to happen is for your EV to run out of charge, especially since it’s far more challenging to find a functioning charging station than a spare can of gas.

You can avoid potentially dangerous situations by maintaining a full charge in your Tesla before the outages hit your area. Tesla owners usually don’t charge to 100% of capacity to preserve battery longevity.

If the worst-case scenario happens and a wildfire breaks out, Tesla owners may have to flee their homes along with their families in their vehicles. By thinking ahead and doing something as easy as ensuring that your Tesla is fully charged before the power shuts off, you could avoid a dangerous situation.

Wildfire-Prone California Remains America’s EV Capital

America’s EV market is multiplying rapidly, but California remains the nation’s electric car capital, with around 46% of all new EV registrations.

Continued investment in EV infrastructure such as charging stations and energy storage facilities will mitigate the problems with widespread outages like the PG&E blackouts, but in the meantime, some Tesla owners are turning to in-home solutions.

Tesla already sells a product called PowerWall, which is a  battery pack for residential homes that can store excess energy. This has a mode called Storm Watch, which will be activated in advance of a power outage.

Of course, not every Tesla owner has an expensive PowerWall unit at their residence, but the California power outages could persuade more EV drivers to take a closer look.

This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.

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