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Electric Vehicles and the impact to our power grid #178713 06/10/08 06:44 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
SteveFehr Offline OP
Roughly speaking, 7-8 million new cars are bought every year in the US. Likely even more as people dump giant gas guzzlers, new and used alike, en masse for Electric Vehicles (EV) or plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEV) which will draw their power from the residential grid, typically around 10kWh for an average 30-mile round-trip commute.

10kWh isn't a whole lot. A car with a simple 15A 120V plug would recharge in 6 hours. 240V 30A would recharge that in less than 90 minutes, and could recharge a 300-mile battery overnight. I don't see this being a terrible strain for most houses.

The problem is that within 10 years, there is a potential for 50-100 million EV/PHEV on the street, each adding 10kWh of load to the grid every day. Now, proponents have said "that's OK, look at all the excess capacity we have a night, we'll just use that!" but the truth is that time of day (TOD) metering is only in a very small number of areas, and everybody else is just going to plug in their car simultanously as soon as they get home, which will double the demand on residential electrical distribution in the early afternoon when AC demand is still near peak, and power generation and distribution are all about maxed out...


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Re: Electric Vehicles and the impact to our power grid [Re: SteveFehr] #178717 06/10/08 07:36 AM
Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 7,237
HotLine1 Offline
Based on your comments, I have to agree with you in part, as this could be an issue, IF that many EV's are in the hands of the public. TOD metering for resi is basically unheard of around here (NJ), we used to have separate meters on SFD's for water heaters a long time ago, but today, they are very few, and far inbetween.

That said, I for one would consider an EV for my commute, IF one was available with at least 140 mile capacity, or facilities were available to charge it while I'm at work.

I read about a GM EV that was in test market (as a lease) in CA quite a few years ago, but it vanished.

Over the years as an EC working at a few large golf clubs, I installed timeclocks to only allow the regular charging of the golf carts at night, solving demand issues, and in turn lowering costs for energy. I'm sure that others have implemented the same type systems.

As to the grid, and nite usage, perhaps similar setups could be implemented; designed by some engineer, and securing a patent, and lobbying NFPA Code panels. (ie: bubble covers)

Your thoughts?

Re: Electric Vehicles and the impact to our power grid [Re: HotLine1] #178719 06/10/08 08:14 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
SteveFehr Offline OP
Chevy's EV1 was out in small numbers about 10 years ago, but they abandoned it and destroyed all the cars.

The Chevy Volt (~2010) is supposed to have an electric range of 300 miles, which is reasonably achievable with the new lithium battery technology. PHEVs all have gas or diesel primary engines. A lot of EVs will include them as well; just a small highly efficient engine as a range-extender to let you keep going for long trips.

Re: Electric Vehicles and the impact to our power grid [Re: SteveFehr] #178720 06/10/08 08:48 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 783
LarryC Offline
As the digital communication over the power lines becomes more installed, I am sure that chargers will become smart enough to wait until a signal from the PoCo to start charging. They could even go to a cell phone model where the vehicle charger won't turn on until an account number is given to the power company.

If it will only take 90 minutes, I don't care if the car charges at 7 PM or 3 AM. If I get a discount from the utility to charge my vehicle after 10 PM, I would pay for a smarter charger.


Re: Electric Vehicles and the impact to our power grid [Re: LarryC] #178721 06/10/08 09:00 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,575
gfretwell Offline
The other problem with EVs is the gasoline tax. If there are ever a significant number of these the government will want to tax the "fuel" to pay for the roads.
That alone will require separate metering and I am not sure how you keep people from cheating. I think the bottom line will be much higher electricity rates across the board and the only real answer is probably the dreaded nuclear power.

Greg Fretwell
Re: Electric Vehicles and the impact to our power grid [Re: gfretwell] #178723 06/10/08 09:36 AM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
renosteinke Offline
Cat Servant
Ah, the joys of "unforeseen consequences." That's the most common problem with miracle solutions.

If you thought we had problems with missing caps on light pole bases ... just wait until folks hillbilly-tap the parking lot lights, to 'fill up' while at Wal-mart!

The Reno area has a fairly primitive, maxed out distribution system now; it's not even a proper grid. Yet, every proposal to make the slightest change is opposed.
We have out senior senator opposing the construction of coal plants - right next to massive coal deposits that he opposes mining.
We have substantial opposition to storing Nuclear waste - which inhibits making nuclear power.
Oil? Sure, while we have the most expensive gas prices in the "Lower 48."

Then there's the massive amounts of toxic waste, whenever one of these wonder-cars gets junked - or even made.

Don't expect making them to be easy. Where do you think the battery materials come from? Ask any anti-mining activist.

Save me from good intentions.

The issue of road use taxes is a critical one .... not to mention the entire industry that has sprung up regarding smog tests! You can be sure our legislatures and ministries will love the opportunity to "fix" this problem.

Re: Electric Vehicles and the impact to our power grid [Re: renosteinke] #178729 06/10/08 11:17 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 717
macmikeman Offline
What happened to the Hydrogen fuel cell research? Has there been any new breakthru on getting it going? That seems to me to be closer to the answer than a car you plug into the grid every night.

Re: Electric Vehicles and the impact to our power grid [Re: macmikeman] #178730 06/10/08 11:45 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 680
walrus Offline
Where do you get the hydrogen?? RIght now I think they are using Natural gas to get hydroegn.It takes more energy than they get out of it, thats for sure. Maybe wind or solar could be used for making Hydrogen??

GM has a fuel cell vehicle coming out in the near future.

Where are they going to gas it up??

Re: Electric Vehicles and the impact to our power grid [Re: macmikeman] #178731 06/10/08 11:53 AM
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,213
SteveFehr Offline OP
Hydrogen was a dead-end when it was proposed. The whole idea of a hydrogen car was nothing more than a distration to hide the reversal of CAFE standards and all the slashes in research into technologies that would actually have made a difference these last 7 years. Fuel cell technology is still out there and ongoing with many promising developments (and commercial applications), but don't look for it for cars anytime soon. With electricity so cheap and available, there's very little incentive to use hydrogen and every incentive to continue with plug-in technology.

The biggest problem is that hydrogen still isn't a primary source of power, just a means of storing it- either way you cut it, batteries or hydrogen or flywheels or supercapacitors, etc, we need about 120 new nuclear power plants to generate the juice required.
These battery packs can be quick-charged at electric filling stations, too, in as little as 15 minutes. Not as fast as filling up a gas tank, but enough that normal people might consider driving a 300-mile pure EV on trips further than 300 miles.

Re: the gas tax. It doesn't have to be on gas, you know, they could get road maintenance in other ways, like income tax or sales tax or any number of things. They could just raise the rate to compensate and chock it up as a sort of EV subsidy. With $12/gallon gas at that point, what's another 15 cents anyhow, right?

Re: Electric Vehicles and the impact to our power grid [Re: SteveFehr] #178737 06/10/08 04:03 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,575
gfretwell Offline
A gas tax is a reasonable way to fund roads. At least the people who use the road the most pay the most.
I suppose once we get over the idea that all cars will have transponders some day (and I bet they will) we will pay the tax directly in the way of tolls. This is already becoming true in a lot of places. They are talking about privatizing the section of I75 called Alligator Alley and totally funding it with tolls. The new lanes of I75 in Ft Myers will be toll too. The bridge to Sanibel and 2 of 3 bridges to Cape Coral are toll. The transponder idea does seriously chip away at the idea of personal privacy but I think that ship sailed long ago. It certainly won't be long before the cop can be driving in traffic and select any car from his head up display, click it and get your whole computer record, based on the transponder ID ... including if you paid your tolls last month.

Greg Fretwell
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