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seifrob 10-01-2017 06:06 PM

a bit of EV scepticism??

I just had a sudden thought (inspired by this Spiegel article - sorry, in German, see translated version here)

So here is my question:

My country has currently about 6 millions cars. Imagine that half of them are EVs, so we have 3 millions EV cars. Lets say nominal distance on full charge is 400 km, with speed 50 km/h (reasonable for central Europe) it takes 8 hours to cover the distance. Than it takes another eight hours to charge their 22 kWh packs (assume 230 Volts, 12 amps, roughly 3 kW, which is what most of my country infrastructure can handle). So 1.5 million of cars will be tied to grid at any moment, drawing 4.5 GigaWatts of electricity. Our biggest nuke power plant has around 2 GigaWatts output, whole country produces around 16 GigaWatts. Wieving it from this angle, "bright EV future" looks kinda scary.

Where are my assumptions wrong?

oldtamiyaphile 10-01-2017 07:45 PM

The main thing you've missed is that not every EV will drive 400km every day and recharge at the same time.

If you drive 40km a day then you only need to plug in once a week.

There's certainly a possibility of grid issues when everyone drives EV (like when everyone plugs in before a long weekend or approaching storm) though.

MetroMPG 10-01-2017 08:46 PM

Also consider that the EV adoption rate won't be at 50% for decades, if ever.

Grant-53 10-01-2017 10:52 PM

Fundamentally the decision to buy an EV will be based on individual convenience and average annual cost per mile or km over the life of the vehicle. In urban areas public transport and streamlined e-bikes are very cost effective.

seifrob 10-02-2017 12:49 AM

Unfortunatelly not in the EU, where it was decided by politics. From 2025 i think, car makers must sell "zero emissions" cars only. Hopefully i am wrong.

thingstodo 10-02-2017 12:04 PM

When electric cars reach that sort of market penetration, many distribution and timing problems will have to be solved.

There are many possible solutions. The ones I hear most about:

- More local generation (solar panels on your roof, small wind turbines) so you can charge your car (cheapest) when you have the power available

- more local storage (tesla power walls) so you can charge your power wall from your solar and transfer it to your car when it is convenient for you

- incentives (lower power cost) from your power company for charging when demand is otherwise low. This makes good use of the transmission and distribution that is already in place. It depends on your grid though. Coal power and nukes can't be turned up and down easily so when there is no power demand, rates go much lower. In england there is low demand for power during the night and wind power is available for cheap.

- centralized solar generation with heliostat, where mirrors reflect the solar to heat up oil or salt in a tower, then that is used to heat water for a conventional steam turbine generator. These appear to need to be a certain size (big) to make money.

- grid level storage, where cheap power charges up the storage and it is put back on the grid when demand is high. Again this uses the distribution grid that is already there more efficiently. The grid storage is intended to be close to large users/industrial so that there is little loss when the energy is put back onto the grid.

In my opinion, there needs to be lots of discussion between now and when it is implemented. And different things will be implemented in different areas. Heck, the solution may be to do ALL of the various solutions (plus a few we have not come up with as yet) in a different mix for each area.

cowmeat 10-02-2017 12:10 PM

After driving an EV for a year I would find it hard to go back to an ICE on my next car, I really don't miss anything about internal combustion vehicles!

I'm pretty sure the power grid will accommodate EVs by the time they are mainstream.

NeilBlanchard 10-02-2017 12:13 PM

Extracting oil and transporting it, and refining gasoline - takes a lot of electricity.

JockoT 10-02-2017 12:59 PM


Originally Posted by cowmeat (Post 551626)
I'm pretty sure the power grid will accommodate EVs by the time they are mainstream.

I wholeheartedly agree with this. Add to that the fact that many motorists will have their own source of electricity from PVs, as they become cheaper and more efficient. I know a couple of people who have PVs and a Powerwall, solely to charge their car (one a Model 3, the other a Leaf).

redpoint5 10-02-2017 03:02 PM

Humans are very efficient at solving technical problems using technology. How to generate enough electricity to charge EVs is a minor issue that will be addressed as the adoption rate steadily increases.

The immediate problem is the cost of EVs, and more specifically the battery. An EV sceptic is right to bring this up as a hurdle to the feasibility of EVs. Besides cost, the next biggest hurdle to overcome for the typical consumer is access to charging, and charging speed.

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