Electric Vehicle adoption

SuperMatt

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I know we have a car thread, but I wanted a thread to talk about the larger issues related to mass-market EV adoption and the related infrastructure.

The article below can be a starter for the discussion - not just getting more chargers, but making sure they are distributed equally. Most people in rich communities can charge at home anyway. We need chargers in areas with street-parking only or with lots of apartments.


Look at any map of charging stations in the United States, and in most of the big cities, what is immediately apparent are big blank spaces coinciding with Black and Latino neighborhoods. Electric vehicle advocates call them charging deserts.
While electric vehicle use is growing rapidly in well-to-do, mostly White communities, minority neighborhoods are being left behind.
 

SuperMatt

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I believe that we should have a massive drive toward conversion of existing non-electric vehicles. There is no real reason for us to sit around and wait for new electric cars to show up. We are missing the boat on this.
When I was buying my EV in 2016, I looked at tax breaks, and there is one for people that convert older vehicles to electric. However, such a conversion is far from trivial. There’s no standard “kit” for converting a vehicle. I believe this will only happen through replacement of older gas vehicles.

That being said, there are some pretty cool EV conversions being done out there…
 

DT

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However, such a conversion is far from trivial. There’s no standard “kit” for converting a vehicle. I believe this will only happen through replacement of older gas vehicles.

It's a huge, costly engineering task, that would also introduce durability, safety and all sorts of general use concerns (see my 2nd item below for the realistic solution):

- More chargers at curbside, apartments, condos, also employee parking for places like Walmart, Target, and start adding parking accessible 15a-40a outlets (since many vehicles come with a charger)
- Much cheaper EV vehicles, that maintain reasonable range and charging times - this will come as we reach better economies of scale and big improvements in battery tech (range = cost + weight)
- Move the subsidies into the lower income bracket, seriously, the tax credit caps for various vehicle types is a move in the right direction but it's still tax credit (vs. just an outright "rebate") and still helpful for people buying $55K EV sedans and $80K EV SUVs
 

lizkat

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I know we have a car thread, but I wanted a thread to talk about the larger issues related to mass-market EV adoption and the related infrastructure.

The article below can be a starter for the discussion - not just getting more chargers, but making sure they are distributed equally. Most people in rich communities can charge at home anyway. We need chargers in areas with street-parking only or with lots of apartments.


Rural and exurban areas are left behind as well, at least currently. We also lack local public transportation networks and it's not always feasible for residents depending now on old clunkers to get affordable credit or make leasing arrangements for new EVs. These are things to keep an eye on as the overall move away from fossil fueled vehicles continues. Means-tested assistance on EV car loans are one approach but the charging stations will remain an issue unless somehow incentivized by government during the infrastructure bill's rollout... because otherwise it's going to be the same as the shamefully footdragged expansion of true broadband (and adequate cellular access) already promised to rural areas for decades.

Most charging station plans involve placement near major highways or interstates because heavy usage will provide a faster rate of return on the investment.

It's not rocket science to look at the maps of thin blue lines all over this country. and then understand what that means for the Americans who live in rural and exurban areas. Yeah, more charging station deserts. Add that to the ones in black and other minority areas of our urban centers, and we're talking substantial impediments to American's traditional mobility when it comes to job seeking, commutes to jobs that don't lend themselves to remote work, plus shopping and tourism options.

The Federal Highway Administration, as of November 29, 2021, seeks public input (within 49 days) for "Development of Guidance on Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Deployment". Some of the language is not all that encouraging with respect to rural areas in particular.

...funds must be used for projects directly related to vehicle charging and only for EV charging infrastructure that is open to the general public or to authorized commercial motor vehicle operators from more than one company. Further, any EV charging infrastructure acquired or installed with program funds must be located along a designated alternative fuel corridor, unless a State determines, and the Secretary of Transportation (Secretary) certifies, that the designated alternative fuel corridors in the State are fully built out. In that case, the State could use the funds for EV charging infrastructure on any public road or in other publicly accessible locations.

Translation: y'all livin' along those thin blue lines on American maps better hope the Walmarts within 50 miles or so actually think that adding charging stations to their parking lots will help sustain their bottom lines.
 

rdrr

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The real problem is that the current grid cannot handle a big surge in EV adoption. Currently those "quick" charging stations out there, will reduce their output and increase the time for a charge if someone comes and takes the charge port next to you.
 

Herdfan

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The real problem is that the current grid cannot handle a big surge in EV adoption. Currently those "quick" charging stations out there, will reduce their output and increase the time for a charge if someone comes and takes the charge port next to you.

Prepare to get slammed over this statement the way I did.
 

lizkat

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Prepare to get slammed over this statement the way I did.

Why? I mean I think that's often true at this point, although the rollout is still young. Anyway it's annoying when it happens. People who figure to make it from point A to B and back and then find they need to stop short of the full return trip do get rightly get hot under the collar when it turns out they need to sit at a charging station a lot longer than they thought they would. A couple round trips like that would sure set my teeth on edge.

That said, it's not a reason not to focus on getting the charging station network expanded and better supplied.
 

Herdfan

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Why? I mean I think that's often true at this point, although the rollout is still young. Anyway it's annoying when it happens. People who figure to make it from point A to B and back and then find they need to stop short of the full return trip do get rightly get hot under the collar when it turns out they need to sit at a charging station a lot longer than they thought they would. A couple round trips like that would sure set my teeth on edge.

That said, it's not a reason not to focus on getting the charging station network expanded and better supplied.

Probably because it was me who said it. ;)

CA can't even keep the lights on 24/7. How in the hell do they think they can add a bunch of EV's.
 

DT

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Adoption will happen incrementally and the idea is for the supporting power requirements to grow somewhat in parallel to the new demands. There's a couple of really well-known-in-their-industry, power distro/generation SMEs on some sites I frequent, and they've been incredibly positive about the rollout of additional clean power generation and distribution networks.

Keep in mind, the entire use model for EVs is different than ICE, most people will charge at home/work, on a Level 2 charger. We're talking 15-40 amps, around the same power as a clothes dryer. And that's easily scheduled across the whole 24 hour period of a day. It's entirely different than an ICE vehicle, which people tend to run down to empty, then fill up - EVs you keep "filled" all the time, you drive to work and back and come home and toss it on the charger, schedule it for 3am, and the 35-40 miles you commuted that day gets replenished in an hour.
 

SuperMatt

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Rural and exurban areas are left behind as well, at least currently. We also lack local public transportation networks and it's not always feasible for residents depending now on old clunkers to get affordable credit or make leasing arrangements for new EVs. These are things to keep an eye on as the overall move away from fossil fueled vehicles continues. Means-tested assistance on EV car loans are one approach but the charging stations will remain an issue unless somehow incentivized by government during the infrastructure bill's rollout... because otherwise it's going to be the same as the shamefully footdragged expansion of true broadband (and adequate cellular access) already promised to rural areas for decades.

Most charging station plans involve placement near major highways or interstates because heavy usage will provide a faster rate of return on the investment.

It's not rocket science to look at the maps of thin blue lines all over this country. and then understand what that means for the Americans who live in rural and exurban areas. Yeah, more charging station deserts. Add that to the ones in black and other minority areas of our urban centers, and we're talking substantial impediments to American's traditional mobility when it comes to job seeking, commutes to jobs that don't lend themselves to remote work, plus shopping and tourism options.

The Federal Highway Administration, as of November 29, 2021, seeks public input (within 49 days) for "Development of Guidance on Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Deployment". Some of the language is not all that encouraging with respect to rural areas in particular.



Translation: y'all livin' along those thin blue lines on American maps better hope the Walmarts within 50 miles or so actually think that adding charging stations to their parking lots will help sustain their bottom lines.
Rural drivers can charge at home. That should be more than good enough for over 90% of driving, especially with most EVs having over 200 miles in range. It would be convenient to have more chargers out there too though, and especially at workplaces if people have a very long commute.

The charging station desert is a much larger problem in areas where people CANNOT charge at home. Charging stations are their sole option.

For one person’s experience: I charge at home and never once had to use a charging station - 6 years of ownership. If I needed to find a charging station every time I needed a charge, it would have been time consuming and expensive.

I think neighborhood EV charging options, like chargers along the road for street-parkers to use would be great to spur adoption.
 

SuperMatt

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It’s interesting that people think the grid will collapse as more people use EVs. There is no evidence that a) adoption is fast enough to even move the needle at this point and b) that the grid cannot be accommodate charging, most of which happens overnight during off-peak usage hours.

Bottom line: we are not going to have many millions more EVs on the roads within a year or two. When adoption starts to ramp up in the next couple decades, the power companies will have had more than enough time to prepare.

If the reactions from us “liberal tree-huggers” who presumably are concerned about climate change are still quite negative towards EVs, you needn’t worry about rapid adoption anytime soon.
 

lizkat

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Probably because it was me who said it. ;)

CA can't even keep the lights on 24/7. How in the hell do they think they can add a bunch of EV's.

Build more solar panels in states where jobs are needed --like West Virginia for instance... coal country!-- and then install more where the sun is strong, fortify transmission and storage capabilities, ship the sun wherever it's needed to heat or cool or charge stuff that needs portable power.

I mean even if that is rocket science, which it is not, just wander down to Wall Street and grab the back of the jackets of some of those rocket scientists who turned to alchemy (converting sub prime car loans into AAA-grade bonds?) and get them back where they belong. Pay them to work on renewable energy issues as if the planet depends on it, since it does.
 

SuperMatt

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The real problem is that the current grid cannot handle a big surge in EV adoption. Currently those "quick" charging stations out there, will reduce their output and increase the time for a charge if someone comes and takes the charge port next to you.
It may be that capacity is reached with the fast charge stations… but that isn’t a grid problem. That charging station may have put in more stations than they actually had power for - maybe due to greater than expected volume.

The vast majority of charging is done at home, generally overnight. That is currently an off-peak time, so until EV adoption is something like an order of magnitude greater than the current rate, the grid can keep up without breaking a sweat. Long-term, some increase in power output will probably be needed. I think you’re looking at least 15-30 years down the road for that level of adoption. That will be ample time for power companies to increase production. Of course, more people with rooftop solar could be a big impact too.
 

AG_PhamD

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I know we have a car thread, but I wanted a thread to talk about the larger issues related to mass-market EV adoption and the related infrastructure.

The article below can be a starter for the discussion - not just getting more chargers, but making sure they are distributed equally. Most people in rich communities can charge at home anyway. We need chargers in areas with street-parking only or with lots of apartments.


Biden’s BBB Plan evidently has (or had) a provision for so called equitable charging. I’m believe that could be a legitimate problem in the future.

But not to sound snobby, let’s be real here. The average new electric car is around $55,000. I don’t think many underprivileged individuals are buying $55,000 cars. If they are, they’re making poor financial choices. Yes, there are cheaper models out there (that aren’t particularly popular to begin with), but they’re still probably out of most people’s budget. For those living on a limited income, they probably want to get their best bang for their buck, buying an old Nissan Leaf for most people isn’t going to be it.

In my mind, for the time being, it doesn’t make a bunch of sense to install tons of EV chargers in an area that has virtually no electric car owners. And there’s little financial incentive to do so for companies that run these charging stations if they can’t sell the service.

That’s not to say there should be no changers in these areas. With time the cost of new EV’s will decrease and used models will be affordable and it will make sense to put more chargers in these areas. As it is, there aren’t tons of public EV chargers even in wealthy areas. The good thing about charging stations, unlike gas stations, they require little room and can be put in existing parking lots and along street parking. So adding them in does not require significant planning (at least compared to a gas station).
 

quagmire

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The real problem is that the current grid cannot handle a big surge in EV adoption. Currently those "quick" charging stations out there, will reduce their output and increase the time for a charge if someone comes and takes the charge port next to you.

Tesla’s V3 superchargers no longer share the output. So if someone is in 1A, plugging into 1B doesn’t reduce either of your charging rates. Both of you get the 250 kwh output if the battery of course can accept it. Though obviously a lot of V2 superchargers still around where this applies.
 

SuperMatt

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Biden’s BBB Plan evidently has (or had) a provision for so called equitable charging. I’m believe that could be a legitimate problem in the future.

But not to sound snobby, let’s be real here. The average new electric car is around $55,000. I don’t think many underprivileged individuals are buying $55,000 cars. If they are, they’re making poor financial choices. Yes, there are cheaper models out there (that aren’t particularly popular to begin with), but they’re still probably out of most people’s budget. For those living on a limited income, they probably want to get their best bang for their buck, buying an old Nissan Leaf for most people isn’t going to be it.

In my mind, for the time being, it doesn’t make a bunch of sense to install tons of EV chargers in an area that has virtually no electric car owners. And there’s little financial incentive to do so for companies that run these charging stations if they can’t sell the service.

That’s not to say there should be no changers in these areas. With time the cost of new EV’s will decrease and used models will be affordable and it will make sense to put more chargers in these areas. As it is, there aren’t tons of public EV chargers even in wealthy areas. The good thing about charging stations, unlike gas stations, they require little room and can be put in existing parking lots and along street parking. So adding them in does not require significant planning (at least compared to a gas station).
I’ve got a few issues with this, and I strongly disagree that the equitable charging provision is bad. It’s actually needed to encourage car makers to make even more affordable EVs. There’s a bit too much focus on the luxury end of the market currently... at least in America.

1. The “average” electric car is a poor choice of metric, and ignores the fact that, up to this point, most EV buyers are fairly wealthy and are buying high-end Teslas, which pushes up the “average” price. The median price is a better measure, and that is about $35K. I paid $25K for mine and got the $7500 credit, so I got the car for $17.5K. That’s a darn good deal for a car that has had basically zero maintenance in 6 years and the savings on gas are huge. You can lease an inexpensive EV for a few hundred a month. FYI - the average price for any vehicle in America (not just EVs) is $40K. Most people are NOT paying $40K for a vehicle. Pretending that a used Nissan Leaf is the only option for people on a budget is also absurd. Cheaper EVs are on the market - I’ve got one, and more are coming too.

2. If there are no chargers in neighborhoods where people don’t have a garage or other way to charge at home, EV ownership is not feasible. The infrastructure needs to start first. That’s why government money is needed to kick-start things instead of just relying on the market.

3. You don’t need many public chargers in most wealthy neighborhood because people have garages and can charge at home.
 

SuperMatt

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America is way behind the rest of the world in EV adoption. Those pre-orders are a good sign though.


America is a big, spread-out country. I can see why that hurts EV adoption, but as noted many times, the average miles driven per day: 29. Range anxiety is mostly an irrational fear, but having visible charging stations everywhere would help people overcome that fear IMHO.

The grid is not in any trouble from EVs in the short term, especially at America's very low adoption rates.
 
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