EVs cause sharp spike in US electricity demand

A recent report by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) should be carefully considered by markets such as South Africa, which are currently embarking on their own electric vehicle (EV) journey.

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Reuters reported that the United States (US) electricity consumption from EVs over the first two months of 2024 jumped by over 50% from the same months in 2023 as EVs continue to penetrate the US car market and impact electricity flows.

Total electricity use by EVs through February 2024 was 1.58 million megawatt hours (MWh), compared with 1.04 million MWh during the same period in 2023, according to the EIA.

That 52% rise in EV electricity use from early 2023 exceeded the 40% growth rate posted in 2023 from January-February 2022 and indicates that the impact from rapidly expanding EV sales continues to increase in electricity markets.

EVs accounted for 16% of all light-duty vehicle sales in the US in 2023, when collective electricity use by EVs overtook electricity demand by US railways for the first time, according to the EIA's latest Electric Power Monthly report.

Total electricity consumption by EVs in 2023 was 7.6 million MWh, up 45% from 2022's total.

The growth lagged the record 49.2% growth in EV electricity demand posted in 2022, but was the second largest annual growth rate on record and brings the five-year average annual growth rate for EV electricity demand to 37.2%.

The top state for EV electricity consumption was California, the most populous US state, where EVs consumed 2.58 million MWh of electricity and accounted for just under 34% of total national EV electricity demand.

That share was down from 35.2% in 2022, indicating that EV electricity demand grew faster in other states last year.

Florida (458 767 MWh), Texas (417 027 MWh), New York (337 367 MWh) and Washington (308 724 MWh) were the top five states for EV electricity demand in 2023.

In terms of vehicle type, battery electric vehicles accounted for nearly 72% of total EV electricity use, while plug-in hybrids accounted for 28.3%.

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