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Utilities scramble to meet power needs of electric cars

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by Little-Acorn, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. Little-Acorn

    Little-Acorn Well-Known Member

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    Actually I think electric cars are an excellent idea. The idea of burning gasoline in a group of enclosed spaces, one pop at a time, to push a vehicle by expanding the air in theose enclosed spaces, is as Rube-Goldberg-ish as it gets. Took nearly a century of refinement to get it "somewhat" right.

    Electric propulsion is a whole lot more elegant, and seems to be more efficient, too. Decent batteries for them are just now becoming available (lithium-ion, etc.), which can finally make the car's range and performance similar to those of gasoline-powered cars. Speed of charge is another problem, which is not yet solved. But I predict that it will be, in our lifetimes.

    But OTOH, our country's electric grids are strained to the breaking point now. And as the article points out, plugging in an EV to charge, is the equivalent of putting another entire house on the grid.

    Look at the huge amount of hoops utilities have to jump through now, just to built ONE new power plant, or install one new power line. If everyone were to drive an EV, we would need to roughly DOUBLE the installed base of electrical generation and transmission. You think the electrical transmission lines and power plants in your backyard are unsightly now? You ain't seen nothin' yet.

    And check out the estimates for putting decent car-charger outlets in every home, in just one area of the country, contained in the article.

    Electric cars are a good idea. But adapting to them will be a lifetime horror story. Might be necessary. But wow.

    http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1910444,00.html

    Utilities Scramble to Meet Power Needs of Electric Cars
    By Robert Chew

    Thursday, Jul. 16, 2009

    (snip)

    One part of SoCal Edison's ramp-up involves the installation of 5.3 million SmartConnect meters in every home throughout its 50,000 sq. mi. service region, from the Pacific Ocean to the San Bernardino Mountains to the east and into parts of Orange County. Total installation is expected to be completed by 2012 at a cost of $1.9 billion. But much more will be needed to handle the widespread adoption of EVs, the utility says.

    While EV owners can charge the cars by plugging them into a regular 110-volt outlet, the "slow charge" can take up to eight hours and may jack up an electric bill the equivalent of 2 kilowatts per month. Most e-car owners will eventually want to plug in their faster, highway-approved EVs into new rapid-charging, 220-volt garage chargers. But that requires another step: finding a certified electrician and several thousand more dollars to install the add-on feature to the home or garage.

    To complicate matters more, an influx of 220-volt chargers on one block, even just two or three per a typical circuit (10 to 12 homes), could overwhelm the system, according to Craver.

    "Plug-in vehicles draw the equivalent of another house; the system can handle one per circuit, but two or three chargers on the same circuit could cause problems," he says. "Too much of a load could end up causing neighborhood outages."
     
  2. TheFranklinParty

    TheFranklinParty New Member

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    Great article...thanks for posting it!

    People just don't realize the critical nature of improving the power grid and increasing our ability to deliver electrical power. All of the renewable energy in the world won't help unless we improve our delivery system.
     
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