Media Post

Electric vehicles and Natural disasters

Authors: Shawn Adderly, Daria Manukian, Tim Sullivan, Mun Son

Despite their many advantages, electric vehicles may pose a challenge for their owners during natural disaster events, when access to electricity may be curtailed for several days or weeks. Evacuation distances for those escaping the affected areas may exceed the range of an electric vehicle on a single charge, and charging stations could become swamped or unavailable due to outages. Additionally, electric car users themselves may pose a risk of overloading the grid in the event of a mass evacuation. We highlight the issues of electric vehicle use during an evacuation event, not to discourage adoption, but to raise awareness of the issues so that public policy makers can take them into consideration. We use a hurricane evacuation scenario from Key West, FL as an example case. This paper shows the need for more electric charging stations in known evacuation regions and demonstrates that electric cars have become widespread enough to warrant a larger share of public policies.

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