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California's power outage mean problems for electric cars

California's power outage mean problems for electric cars

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SAN FRANCISCO - As more than half a million customers in this area lost power Wednesday amid a series of planned outages aimed at thwarting wildfires, Tesla owners were confronted with another troubling possibility: their cars running out of juice.

The electric automaker issued a preemptive over-the-air advisory overnight Tuesday to many vehicle owners telling them to charge up ahead of the planned outages, which utility Pacific Gas and Electric began rolling out Wednesday in an effort to lessen the risk of wildfires.

"A utility company in your area announced they may turn off power in some areas of Northern California beginning October 9 as part of public safety power shutoffs, which may affect power to charging options," the message read, according to social media posts. "We recommend charging your Tesla to 100% today to ensure your drive remains uninterrupted."

Tesla went on to advise that the on- or offline status of its "Supercharger" stations, where owners can secure a faster battery refill, would be displayed on in-car maps.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request seeking additional information on how many customers received the warnings, how its Supercharging network was expected to be affected, and whether the company is advising customers not to charge once the outages are in effect.

The advisory is significant for customers in the Bay Area, where Tesla's premium electric luxury cars are a common sight. California is the country's largest electric vehicle market, according to, which tracks the figures on electric market share. The sales are largely driven by Tesla, which made up more than half of the country's overall electric vehicle sales.

PG&E said the outages would affect nearly 1 million customers in California across more than half of the state's 58 counties, the most extensive planned outage ever for the state.

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Something is profoundly wrong when our only choice is to die in a fiery conflagration or be plunged into extended darkness that would be an embarrassment to a Third World power grid operator.

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