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Old 11-21-2010, 10:51 AM   #31 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bennelson View Post
The odd part about this is that is supports the newly manufactured vehicles from GM, Nissan, etc., but is USELESS to people who have a homebuilt EV or an NEW with a standard 120V power connection. I suppose that's good for the economy... force people to buy expensive NEW vehicles, because those are the only ones supported by the infrastructure.
The cost to also include a 120V plug in this unit would be minimal. But they don't want to do that. It is not about the charging point, but selling the vehicle to use that charge point.

EDIT: Just read farther in the thread that you found that it does have a 120v plug. Cool!

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Old 11-21-2010, 11:20 AM   #32 (permalink)
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I can't actually tell just by looking at the photo, but Chargepoint DOES have one version of their station that supports BOTH plugs.

Also, what if you live in a very cold area?
If you have both an EV and a gas or diesel vehicle, you could use the charging station (with a 120V plug) to run your engine block heater as well!
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Old 11-21-2010, 09:42 PM   #33 (permalink)
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The whole "why do EV charging stations have to be so expensive!?!?" question is the current hot-button issue this evening on the Electric Vehicles Discussion List (EVDL).

Many of the comments mention that an EV charging station IS a glorified electric outlet. (Once again, just a reminder that the CHARGER is a separate item, usually built into the car.)

Other comments refer to specifics in the electrical code, and mention changes that were made to the electric code during the EV-1 time period.

Other persons spoke of "boycotting" level two J1772 chargers until they come down in price, or that part of the cost may be simply because the CAN charge that much money, especially with government incentives.
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Old 11-21-2010, 10:40 PM   #34 (permalink)
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I'm going to boycott a J1772 charge plug, just like I'm going to boycott the Tesla roadster, and I'm also going to boycott a 300 foot yacht, filled with servants.
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Old 11-21-2010, 11:22 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Too true, Paul, thanks for putting that all in perspective.
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Old 11-21-2010, 11:44 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Couldn't decide if this merits a new thread or not but here goes:

Electric cars: Will the power fail? | StarTribune.com

(Newspaper article about anticipated grid inadequacy due to electric cars)
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Old 11-22-2010, 06:08 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Lee View Post
Couldn't decide if this merits a new thread or not but here goes:

Electric cars: Will the power fail? | StarTribune.com

(Newspaper article about anticipated grid inadequacy due to electric cars)
Probably does need its own thread - but here are some additional points to ponder about EVs and electricity use.

Since about 1980, even though the number of electric gadgets in a typical US household has increased dramatically, consumption has actually remained flat.

http://www.energy.ca.gov/2007publica...0-2007-018.PDF (see page 3, or the attached picture)

This is because over time, most items using electricity have become more efficient.

With the shift to electric vehicles, there will be some -reductions- on the grid that will have some balancing effect to the power drawn by EVs for charging.

Refineries consume a significant amount of electricity in the production of gasoline. About 20% of the energy content in oil is consumed during the refining process. In other words, a refinery uses about 9 gallons' worth of oil energy per barrel - the energy equivalent of 329 Kilowatt hours (kWh) electricity - to produce 44 gallons of fuels and other products. 329 kWh of electricity equates to roughly 1,300 miles of driving in an average electric vehicle at 250 watt-hours per mile.

Interestingly enough, if a better-than-average IC car (30 mpg) were to use the rest of the barrel of oil (44 - 9 = 35 gallons of gasoline), it would only be able to drive about 1,050 miles.

<soap box>

In other words If we did NOT drill, extract, protect, fight over, transport, refine, sell, spill, or burn ANY oil - simply left it in the ground - and recharged electric cars using the electricity that would otherwise be consumed to extract and refine crude oil into fuel - an electric car could drive 1,300 miles - 250 miles farther than the fossil fueled car.

</soap box>

Many EV owners have solar electric systems installed on their houses. Buying an EV is oftentimes the tipping point for a homeowner to also install solar. This reduces the overall grid load.

Because an EV doesn't use gasoline, it won't need to use a gas station. Gas stations use electricity to pump gas out of the ground. The reduction is small (perhaps 200 watt-hours when the in-ground gasoline lift pump is on) but nonetheless a measurable reduction. Putting about 2,000 electric vehicles on the road should eliminate the need for one gas station, which would further reduce electricity demand - no 24/7 lighting, pumps, soda refrigerators, coffee machines, etc.
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:50 AM   #38 (permalink)
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The article is a bit of fear-mongering.

Nothing it says is an outright lie or anything, but it does seem slanted to the gain readership by being shocking.

Many of the quotes are from electric utilities, yet ELECTRIC UTILITIES have been LEADERS in purchasing Hybrid PLUG-IN kits and Neighborhood Electric Vehicles. They love the fuel and maintenance savings.

Electric Forklifts have been around for a long time, and work great. Nobody has fears of forklifts crashing the grid. If anyone really IS worried, it's only because mainstream electric cars are new and different.

My microwave oven uses more electricity (power) than my EV does.

The article says that adding an EV is like adding a small house to the neighborhood. Well, that's true.... kinda.. When my house is at Peak Load - (that is if I am using the microwave, the electric coffee pot, the television, clothes washer, and dishwasher all at once,) I use about 3500 watts. But the rest of the time, I use between 200 and 500 watts. Thats a peak load to base load ratio of somewhere between 17:1 and 7:1.
So, 17 energy efficient houses use the same total power as one energy hungary home.
Obviously, not all homes are the same.

So, don't charge your EV in the middle of the day in summer while everyone's AC is running full blast. Charge it at night, when less electricity is used. Sometimes you can even get cheaper electricity at night. I think that both the Leaf and Volt have a timer feature built into their charger systems. You can plug the car in, and program it to start charging some time later.

The article also had a quote from the utility in Austin. I did some work down there for the University at Austin, which has it's own power utility. Their main concern was always about power for air conditioning. However, guess what all the maintenance vehicles on campus were? Electrics! Piles of Gem cars and similar running around there. (Helps on parking too

Lastly, the article mentions that plugging into "regular" outlets can be a problem as well, as you could accidentally blow a breaker and have power out to other items on the same circuit. REALLY? Oh my, the utter inconvenience..
Any household electric item known to have a large power draw always gets it's own circuit. My microwave oven has it's own outlet, on it's own circuit. It never blows the fuse, and never "knocks out" any other electric items in my house.

An EVer with a 15 amp charger is going to be charging in his garage, or maybe at an outlet on the front porch. Not usually places that you have other large loads going on.

And why didn't the article mention the electrical ADVANTAGES of EVs? I constantly hear talk of "Smart-Grid" technology, where the car's batteries can PROVIDE power to the grid when it needs it. (Granted the round one of commercial EVs don't have this feature, but it's a well-known concept.)

Oh, and now that I think about it. A level 2 charger really is nearly identical in use to an electric water heater or electric clothes dryer. I don't see the utilities worried about people switching to electric appliances, or everyone on one block all happen to run their microwave oven at the same time.

If adding a couple of cars to a neighborhood would wreck the transformers, it was time for new infrastructure already.

Also, people who drive electric cars typically think about their energy use a whole lot more. I don't think I know any EV driver who doesn't use CFL bulbs, timers, power strips, etc to reduce the rest of their electric load.

I think that brings us back to renewable energy. As Tom said, you can make your own electricity. You can't make your own gasoline. Electricity as a fuel (er.. energy carrier, technically..) is amazingly flexible. We can get if from natural gas, coal, wind, solar, nuclear, and a variety of other sources - and for the most part, you get to choose your own source!

Diversification is a good thing. If something goes wrong somewhere ( say, an oil embargo, for example) we still have other options, instead of being held hostage to the costs and politics of one particular fuel.

Also, think how long it took for the Prius to catch on. It took a while. If we DO run into any problems from mass-produced EVs charging, it's not going to hit all at once, the utilities have a while to work out any bugs.


PS: I just read through some of the comments added as public responses to the article. I can NOT believe the lack of knowledge of the public! Wow! Talk about fear-mongering and ignorance!
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Last edited by bennelson; 11-22-2010 at 11:23 AM.. Reason: actually read the comments on that article.
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Old 11-22-2010, 12:20 PM   #39 (permalink)
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As far as charging station costs go, I was in the "its too damn expensive" pack until I got the opportunity to live with an EV. After 8 months of use, my NEMA style (household plug) cordset was pretty much destroyed. You pay for durability with the J1772 system.

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Old 11-22-2010, 12:42 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Oval_Overload View Post
As far as charging station costs go, I was in the "its too damn expensive" pack until I got the opportunity to live with an EV. After 8 months of use, my NEMA style (household plug) cordset was pretty much destroyed. You pay for durability with the J1772 system.

~Jimbo
Well... Yes, and no to that one... The difference might be a bit sturdier plug and a thicker cord with strain relief on it... But you can get that with a bit more expensive household cords as well...

But in terms of mechanical failures, you are certainly increasing the potential with the J1772 as it has the twist lock, ie more "moving parts" (plastic rubbing on plastic)...

But given that, and the cost of a comparably "better" household cord, I'd say it has still moved from "too damned expensive" into "damned expensive"...

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