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Yes, You Can Still Drive Your EV During a Power Outage

National Drive Electric Week is a good time for EV test driving and myth busting.

This week, National Drive Electric Week, is a good opportunity for the electric vehicle-curious to see and test drive EVs at various local ride-and-drive events.

It’s also a good time to learn about EVs and dispel misinformation about them, says Chanel Parson, principal manager of eMobility Operations for Southern California Edison.

One of Parson’s favorite myths to bust is that EVs would be useless during a power outage.

“A power outage will not impact EV drivers any more than drivers of gasoline-powered cars,” Parson said. “The advice my dad gave me when I was learning to drive a conventional car also applies to EV drivers: Don’t let your tank get too empty so you can always get somewhere when you need to.”

Parson points out that when the power goes out, it’s not possible to pump gas, either.

“The typical customer experiences a power outage less than once a year, and outages normally last less than two hours on average,” she said. “So, if you always keep your car charged, you’re likely not going to need to charge it during an outage.”

EV Myth vs. Fact

Power outages are usually isolated to a small geographic area, so if the power on your street or in your neighborhood is out and you need to charge your car, you can drive to a public charging station in a nearby community not experiencing an outage.

Similar myths have been robustly refuted by Veloz, a nonprofit that brings public and private sectors together to promote electric cars in California.

“One of the key barriers to people adopting EVs is lack of education and awareness,” said Veloz Executive Director Josh Boone. “Our EV Myths vs. Facts web page is one of the many ways Veloz is working to overcome that barrier.”

Here are a few myths Veloz tackles on its site:

  • Myth: EVs are more expensive than gas-powered vehicles.

    Fact: The upfront cost is dropping for all EVs. Many are already cost-competitive. With lower fuel and maintenance costs, it’s now much more affordable to buy, own and operate an EV than a gas-powered car.
  • Myth: The electrical grid cannot handle the increased demand created by EVs.

    Fact: The electrical grid benefits from EVs. The increase in overall demand is minimal and EVs benefit the grid by storing and managing energy and driving electricity rates down for users.
  • Myth: EVs have a limited range and it takes too long to charge at too few charging stations.

    Fact: EVs now have ranges exceeding 200 miles with models capable of traveling 400 miles on a single charge coming onto the market soon. Most EV owners charge their vehicles at home. Plus, with DC fast chargers across California’s traffic corridors, an EV can refuel in nearly the same time it takes to refill a gas vehicle.

“Another misperception people have is that EVs are boring,” Parson said. “There are nearly 70 EV models on the market, and they are fast, powerful and fun to drive.”

To compare the cost of these various EV models with similar gas-powered cars, use SCE’s cost-comparison app, cars.sce.com. Prospective owners can also learn about EVs and test drive some of those cars this week and next at National Drive Electric Week events in the area.

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Upcoming events include:

Sunday, Oct. 3, 10 a.m. -2 p.m. Inland Empire Drive Electric Week
Vernola Marketplace
6429 Pats Ranch Road, Jurupa Valley

For a full list of National Drive Electric Week virtual and in-person events, visit driveelectricweek.org.