The state's power grid is taking a beating during an early heat wave.
Tesla is settling into its new home in Texas, and the automaker appears ready to help during challenging situations, even registering to sell electricity. The state's power grid is being stressed as a surprisingly warm spring causes everyone to turn on their air conditioners. To help prevent outages and other problems, Tesla's sending push notifications to its vehicles in the state with advice to avoid charging during peak times.
A user on Reddit shared the message in a post about their Tesla Model 3, and as others noted, the automaker typically sends out similar messages during disasters like hurricanes. The warning appeared on the cars' infotainment systems.
The message stated "A heatwave is expected to impact the grid in Texas over the next few days. The grid operator recommends to avoid charging during peak hours between 3 pm and 8 pm, if possible, to help statewide efforts to manage demand." Tesla owners can schedule charging to take place overnight or early in the morning, so avoiding peak times should be straightforward for many owners.
In recent years, Texas's power grid has struggled with cold weather, but the May heat is now testing its limits. Six power plants shut down this week, causing the loss of 2,900 MW of electricity, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Beyond limiting electricity usage during peak hours, ERCOT advised customers to keep thermostats set to 78 and not use large appliances like dishwashers and the washer/dryer. Tesla plans to grow in Texas and will build vehicles like the Cybertruck there, so a healthy grid is vital to its operations.
Tesla is deeply invested in Texas, and its roots go deeper than its Gigafactory in Austin. The automaker installed dozens of its Megapack batteries to provide sustainable power backup and help prevent deadly power disasters like the one that killed more than 200 people in early 2021.
The message may be helpful, but owners of other new EVs and hybrids may have the option to power their homes using their car's batteries. During Texas' major winter storm in 2021 and the related power outages, some Ford F-150 owners were able to power their homes for short times using its Pro Power Onboard generator system. New EVs, such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5, can reverse power flow and provide electricity for a home, campsite, or charge another EV.