The EU

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Electric Cars

If one believes this article, "Will Electric Cars Wreck the Grid?," in Scientific American, there are possible problems ahead as the nation switches toward electric cars.

The theory is that delivery of electricity consists of three phases, production, transmission and final distribution.  The author of the article, Colin Sullivan, suggests that it is that third phase that is endangered by electric cars.  He was talking to Ed Kjaer, director of Southern California Edison's electric transportation advancement program.
Chief among those challenges is how thousands of power-hungry vehicles would tax distribution transformers at the local level. Such transformers have historically handled electricity load for about 10 average-size homes each.

Adding a plug-in car to the grid is equal to about a third of a house, Kjaer said. And because early adopters are likely to spring up in geographic concentrations, that could mean overloaded transformers at the distribution level or plug-in cars potentially causing power outages.

"The worst imaginable situation you could have is your neighbor yelling at you because you blacked out the neighborhood," Kjaer said.
But, it isn't just the transformers.  Apparently there is the question of the outlets for charging at home.  Having to "plug in" our two cars in Alaska, during the winter, I hadn't thought about the extra power drain, but there is this paragraph:
Among the obstacles are building out charging sockets in homes and permitting them through local authorities, in addition to mapping a future network of charging stations. The process for residential construction can sometimes take months, which would likely deter buyers. And limited range means charging stations away from the home are a must.
Somehow I don't see myself driving an electric car down from Lowell to Virginia to visit some of my grandchildren. Although, if we could leave late and stop overnight at Armonk, NY, that might work. If the la Quinta has a "hitching rail" with places to plug in one's car.

I wonder who I call to see if anyone is working the home outlet problem in Lowell?

1 comment:

John McDonough said...

We already have a Hybrid and will get the Cadillac Converj for my wife if it is all wheel drive and the Chevy volt for company errands, the Hybrid you can drive as far as you want it is self contained recharging itself as it drives, the Chevy Volt and Caddy Converj can only go 40 miles on a charge.
Charging will happen at nighttime setting the timer for self start at 2am perhaps, the power company will tell us when the best time of day would be for a charge. Also to be considered is how the government will make up all the taxes paid on gasoline, when electric cars take off.