U.S. Electric Vehicle’s Power Use Exceeded Uganda’s Total Electricity Generation in 2023

Plug-in Electric Vehicles in USA Consumed More Electricity than the Whole of Uganda in 2023.

By Mark Kawalya

Plug-in Electric Vehicles in USA Consumed More Electricity than the Whole of Uganda in 2023. A total of 7,596 GWh of electricity was consumed which is a significant increase from 2018. This is according to information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s Electric Power Monthly report. This increase corresponds with the rise in electric vehicle (EV) sales, which now account for 16% of all Light-duty vehicles (LDV) sales. Plug-in electric vehicle sales in the USA have reached nearly 5 million.

This large consumption of electricity by nearly 5 million EVs in the USA needs to be put into perspective. In comparison, we compared it to the total electricity generation of some African countries, focusing on Uganda. In 2023, Uganda generated 6,032.3 GWh of electricity from its grid-connected plants, as reported by Uganda’s Electricity Regulatory Authority. The majority of this energy, 93.4%, came from hydropower, with solar and thermal contributing 1.6% and 1.1%, respectively. Uganda’s energy mix is thus about 95% renewable. This means that Uganda’s entire current electricity generation could theoretically charge over 4 million EVs, similar to the current fleet size in the USA before depletion.

However, electricity access in Uganda remains low. With a population of approximately 48 million, only about 45% have access to electricity, according to IRENA. To address this gap, Uganda needs to significantly increase its electricity generation. If the consumption patterns of the remaining 55% of the population mirror those with current access, Uganda would need to more than double its electricity generation capacity. This will bring the required capacity to approximately 13,000 GWh. This estimate excludes future industrial demands and the potential growth of Uganda’s own electric vehicle fleet. To meet these needs, Uganda must quickly enhance its electricity generation capacity from the current 1,347 MW.

The electric mobility sector in Uganda is beginning to see some activity, particularly in the electric motorcycle segment led by companies like GOGO. Uganda has over 2.3 million vehicles, and as global electric mobility gains momentum, transitioning a significant portion of this fleet to electric would be beneficial. Increasing general electricity access and promoting electric vehicles should be simultaneous priorities, rather than mutually exclusive goals. Quantifying the electricity consumed by EVs in the USA in comparison to Uganda’s national electricity consumption provides an interesting perspective on the scale of energy use.

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