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Why Electric Cars are Still "In the Future"

May 31, 2010 8:47:06.944

From Popular Mechanics:

In contrast, a station with eight Eaton/TEPCO Quick Chargers could theoretically fuel just 24 i-Mievs to 80-percent full in an hour. To match the capacity of a modest gas station, completely filling 160 i-Mievs to 100-percent of battery capacity (on 25 minute charges) in one hour, would take at least 67 Quick Chargers with one parking space for each charger. Figure 300-square feet of space for each charger and parking spot and that’s a half acre of land before accounting for driveways or other infrastructure

Mind you, that kind of "quick charge" also depletes battery life - everything I've been reading says that you would, as an owner, want to limit the number of quick charges you did. Which means the picture is even worse - imagine the typical recharge station requiring a 4-6 hour parking time. That's fine if everyone lives within range of their destination (work, say), and they don't ever have to drive anywhere else after they get to work. A few minutes pondering how we actually use our cars will puncture that fantasy pretty quickly.

Of course, there's another issue as well. The "clean power" for these vehicles doesn't jump magically from a wall; in fact, it may well come from a coal fired plant. And if you were to replace a significant number of cars with electric vehicles, well - I think you would need to start putting in new generation capacity as well.

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posted by James Robertson


Re: Why Electric Cars are Still

[anonymous] June 2, 2010 15:58:48.316

Why can't we swap batteries at battery stations? That will reduce the waiting time to a manageable level.

The batteries can be pre-charged by the store-owner and available to motorists.

Ravi V

Re: Why Electric Cars are Still

[james Robertson] June 2, 2010 17:04:08.520

The Nissan Leaf Battery is over 600 pounds. Which means that a battery swap is not a trivial matter. Also, that assumes a (not yet in existence) standard for electric batteries. It's actually too soon to standardize, as they batteries aren't good enough. However, without a standard, you can't do the swap operation. Kind of a catch-22 for the moment.

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