Charging stations and Electric Cars

I created a brouhaha with my post below concerning charging stations and electric cars. I noted that we haven’t addressed the issue of what to do when someone plugs in their car and leaves it all day. This issue gets worse at airports. I posited that an e-valet could jockey the cars around but that would greatly change the liability and the relationship between the parking lot owner and the parker.

One reader responded that you could put charging stations on different floors and the higher you parked, the longer you could stay. Another said that My comments about all electric cars not making sense was balderdash since hybrids were there merely as a bridge until all electrics were in the marketing channels and infrastructure was in place. Another agreed with me and noted that this electric car stuff had been tried about every 20 years and had failed every time. What is to make someone believe that it should be any different now? I was also told that battery technology was on the rise and cars were running 600km (360 miles) in Germany. So I looked that one up.

You can find whatever you want on the internet and I found this quote:

On this particular trip, which took place at temperatures just above freezing (not good for batteries), the electric car reportedly had an average speed of 90 kilometers per hour (56 miles per hour), though the car can apparently topped out at 130 km/h. Given the confusion surrounding and the general lack of details — what exactly was changed on the A2? — the main question is whether this test drive will have any relevance for serially manufactured electric cars. The German car experts contacted by heise Autos did not seem convinced by the reports of this breakthrough, saying instead that they still generally assume that electric cars realistically have a range of no more than 150 kilometers and that this range is expected to increase by 20 percent over the next decade, not 100 percent. (cm)

I should note that there were other articles that said the exact opposite of this one so who knows. My point is that I question the efficacy of this project period. It requires that the government be involved and subsidize the research, the testing, and the cost of the vehicles. I know that battery manufacture and recycling is a very messy business. It seems that for there to be any convenience at all, charging stations have to be near virtually every place you park a car, much like outlets for car heaters are in extremely cold climes.

Manny points out that most Americans commute is less than 40 miles. So current cars would work and only have to be charged at home. Of course that doesn’t take into consideration the side trip to the doctor or the store or to pick up the kids on the way home. It doesn’t take much to eat up that extra capacity and suddenly you are someplace without a charger, and no way to get to one.

The hybrids, with 60 or 70 MPG ratings seem to solve all the problems. They use what, a third the gas as a standard vehicle. They don’t ever have to be charged. They carry their charger with them and do it on the fly. You don’t have to think about it at all. They are also larger and can handle more passengers and cargo. And they are cheaper.

Why, then, would one want an all-electric car? I repeat. Does it really make any sense?


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3 Responses to Charging stations and Electric Cars

  1. There’s also the fact that electricity from the power station doesn’t necessarily mean green. That power has to come from somewhere. Coal, oil, gas, nuclear energy….

  2. David Grey says:

    Hybrids are great and all but eventually we will HAVE TO get off of our dependency on oil COMPLETELY. Hybrids are a great solution for now as they use electricity and gas and achieve great mileage. But at some point down the road, oil will completely run and we will have to depend completely on electric power. Like the previous poster mentioned, even electricity has to come from somewhere. I believe the key is to start using renewable power sources for our power plants. Such as solar power, wind power, hydro, geo-thermal, anything that occurs naturally and is limitless in supply. That is the key to making electric cars mass market and successful.

  3. JVH says:

    Sigh — I’m not sure about this, but I believe that each of these is not limitless — wind doesn’t blow all the time, sun doesn’t shine at night ( and typically wind doesn’t either), hydro is limited by our ability to dam rivers (enviros don’t like that), and geothermal is located in some places, but not in others. If we keep using oil and natural gas at the rate we currently are and assuming the finds that we currently know, I think we have about 200 years of oil before we run out. Now, should we use less. Of course. Should we look for alternatives, YES. But attempting to find the solution in the wind or rivers might be a bit short sighted. Do we need a completely different kind of power generation. Probably. But the problem is that no matter what it is, there will be some issues. They can be mitigated, as with nuclear power, but someone will always say “NO, NIMBY.” When energy is created, it generates heat, by definition. That means there is some danger. We are destroying our best current source for electricity, nuclear, because we are “afraid” of it. Given the proper care, and with the technology we have today, nuclear power is probably the safest way to generate electricity. Thousands die every year (mostly in China) mining coal. With Chernobyl as an exception virtually no one has died in a nuclear plant accident. I think if you study the stats, you would find more people killed climbing wind turbines or working in solar plants than in nuclear facilities. However that makes little difference.
    All that having been said, the key to making electric cars mass market and successful is to have them convenient, priced right, and provide what the public wants. If the market wants it, you would be stunned how quickly the infrastructure would appear. JVH

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