On many of our main interstate highways I see a lot of the gas stations in fairly constant use fueling vehicles. Most of th fillups take less than five minuets. So how is there going to be enough capacity to come anywhere close to that kind of rate in some utopian world with 50% electric vehicles? Talk about his again after the satae of California has achieved the goal and there have been no riots about it. Until then, it is an interesting idea but not achievable, I don't think.
Electric commuter cars could be different, but thye overnight charging problem is not going to be solved simply. Infrastructure is just expensive to improve. You can certainly wish it were not so, but harsh reality trumps wishes every time.
The reality in very high mileage gasoline powered automobiles is the longevity of the automatic transmissions. I have owned numerous cars far in excess of 100,000 miles from American made (Chrysler Town and COuntry mini-van) to foreign made (Mazda MPV). Beyond 150,000 miles (sometimes as low as 100,000 miles) the transmissions fail and cost of replecement OR rebuild will run from $3,000 to as high as $6,000. Not as expensive as a Tesla battery, but likely to occur sooner than 8 years if you put 25,000 miles or more per year on your car.
Actually your "night dilemma" is future reality since most folks will come home from work and put their cars on charge. This will put a huge load on the grid from around 6 PM to 3 AM or a little later in every time zone. Looking at all three time zones, this spreads out another three hours so the coast-to-coast grid draw will be high for a common four to six hours meaning that all generation everywhere in the continental US will be "sweating hard" in the middle of the night!
Now add to this a "hot night in Georgia" (and some other places as well) so the air conditioning is running as well. Think "brown outs while you sleep".
Of course Nuclear is NOT emissions-free either. As much as I AM in favor of Nuclear, the production of the fuel rods consumes significant energy which at the present time comes predominantly from "unclean" sources. The primary advantage being that once built, Nuclear provides very clean energy for a very long time. At some point, the ideal may be having sufficient wind and solar such that Nuclear production only consumes "clean sourced energy". Of course there also exists the problem of spent fuel. Eventually technology might exist to recycle the spent fuel over and over until all available energy has been expended, but some Nuclear materials have components with a half life that is just too long not to leave some pretty "hot" residue.
The impediments you see may only exist another three years. We can only hope the next administration will have a real energy policy to provide an orderly transition from oil-based to electric and natural gas based personal transportation.
50% pure electric may be unlikely, but Musk IS building coast-to-coast rapid charging stations to reduce that five-hour recharge time to a tolerable "rest stop". If he is successful in that endeavor AND he is able to build the pure electric for the masses (excellent price point combined with great utility), Musk could change the entire automobile paradigm. Looking at the innovation and excelence of execution in the "S", if that same design creativity is directed at production economy, Musk just might "change the world", doing for the auto industry what Steve Jobs did to the "digital appliance" industry.
It takes real guts to go ahead and take the risk to do something at this level in this bad economy. Hats off to the people at Tesla. Even though the price is not for everyone, this marvel will certainly have everyone's eyes on electric cars for the time to come.
Excellent post Charles. One issue I would love to see covered relative to hybrid and / or electric cars is maintenance training and how much time would be needed for an existing "shop" to come up to speed. Also, what specific test equipment would be necessary to diagnose and trouble-shoot problems with an automobile such as the Tesla. Just a thought
Debera Harward, you have brought up a very important point, which is about hackers possibly being able to hack into the automobiles computers. That certainly has the potential to be a serious problem.The other concern, about not being able to charge the vehicl at home, would not be a problem for those in the US who could afford to purchase the $90,000 car. They can afford to have that much power available to charge the car. It is probably different in many other parts of the world. More than two years ago we had the discussion about what happens when everybody in the neighborhood gets an electric car and decides to charge it late at night when rates are lower. That is a problem without a nice solution, was our conclusion.
I'm guessing english is not your native language. That's ok, it's better than my.... well any other language. I really am any more oncerned about the information contained in the charging stations than I would be a credit card. That's basically the same information. I'm not sure what security measures are in place but I've not heard of a single problem yet.
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