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The 322-kilometer Electric Vehicle Paradigm

by joelado Thu Oct 20th, 2016 at 04:32:09 PM EST

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Tesla Model 3s

For those of you who have not been tuning into what has been going on in the automotive industry with respect to electric vehicles (EVs) lately, when Tesla introduced the first viable electric vehicle to the market back in 2008 to now there have been over 1.5 million electric vehicles sold world wide, and sales will probably reach over 2 million by the end of this year. Most electric vehicles sold by the major automakers to this point have had the distances that they can travel on a single charge run from 105 to around 160 kilometers. Tesla Motors, on the other hand, has had its vehicle's ranges typically set at 322 kilometers or above.

Tesla's vehicles so far have been marketed to the upscale luxury/performance market, which inadvertently is like saying its vehicles so far have been relatively expensive. Tesla introduced itself to the automobile market with it's Roadster, which sold for €99,325, and gave consumers a two seat sports car with 356 kilometers range. Tesla then introduced an electric full-sized luxury sports sedan called the Model S with a 491 kilometer range and a price tag of around €78,431 and an SUV known as the Model X with a sale price of €72,900 and a range of around 402 kilometers per charge. Despite the higher price tag of Tesla vehicles they sell in large quantities and its sales are increasing month over month. When we look at the EV market from its current renaissance that began in 2008 to now we see Tesla with vehicles having ranges of 322 kilometers and above and the major automakers producing and selling electric vehicles with ranges of 161 kilometer range or less.

In 2007 Tesla's visionary CEO, Elon Musk put in its business plan that it would make an affordable electric vehicle later named the Model 3 that would have a range of more than 322 kilometers. This summer Tesla began taking orders for this vehicle and took around 400,000 $1,000US deposits for it. As excited about this vehicle as I am, this isn't the point of this article.

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Chevy Bolt 200-mile range electric vehicle

The point of this article is that with Tesla's announcement of a 322-kilometer range, affordable EV the reality of the EV world as was known had changed. In particular the 322-kilometer range EV has changed the infrastructure question for EVs. Ever since Elon Musk tweeted out to the world the idea of the Model 3 on July 16, 2014, major automakers have been making plans for their own versions of a 322-kilometer range electric vehicle. First to market in the US will be GM with its Chevy Bolt EV. The Bolt will be available for purchase late in 2016 with a price tag in the United States of $37,495US (€34,167) and an EPA rated range of 383 kilometers. GM's Bolt twin, the Opel Ampera-e, will be available in Europe in 2017, but with a range of 400 kilometers. Renault will beat GM to market in Europe with the 322-kilometer Zoe. Tesla will be making deliveries of its Model 3, priced at $35,000US in the US (€31,893) with a 346 kilometer range in late 2017. According to Kazuo Yajima, Nissan's global director of EV and HEV engineering, Nissan will completely redesigned the Leaf with at least 338 kilometers range for 2018. Hyundai will be coming out with a 322-kilometer EV also in 2018. Ford's president and CEO Mark Fields announcing that the automaker wants to be the leader in affordable 322-kilometer EVs starting with an entry, most likely called the Model E, in 2019. These proclamations were followed by announcements by VW, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and others quickly rising to encompass nearly all other major automobile manufacturers, sounding a death knell of sorts for the low range EV. This future onslaught of 322-kilometer plus range EVs entering the market creates a base model of 322-kilometer range EV from nearly all major automobile makers. In the next few years all these base model 322-kilometer EVs dramatically changes downward the infrastructure needs for EVs.  

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Tesla level 2 charger at home

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j1772 convenience ChargePoint charger on the street.

The problem is that the current model for EV charging infrastructure championed by the major automakers is based on low range vehicles of less than 161 kilometer range charging typically at home, work and other places. Both home and work charging allow for long stretches of charging at the 220 volt SAE j1772 standard. The SAE j1772 standard is a standard all electric vehicles being manufactured today are compatible with. Even Teslas can charge off of these chargers with an adaptor that comes with the vehicle. Outside of home and work the current charging model strategy is to develop convenience charging opportunities at places like businesses, shopping centers and public parking. Typically this type of charging, depending on the amperage, can take a vehicle like mine with 120 kilometer range between 4 to 8 hours to charge. In the old model battery capacity is small and most charging is done at home or work where there is plenty of time to charge. If you are planning to go to an event that is over half of your available range you may want to find a place to charge near the event so you can charge while you are attending and get enough juice to get home. Are you getting the picture? Low range EVs require a greater infrastructure to deal with their low ranges. It also increases the hassle of owning an EV since you have to look for charging stations to help you complete trips and hope that they are near to where ever you are going and not occupied by other vehicles.

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There is a way out of the small battery model hassle and that is with bigger batteries and faster chargers.  Most EVs are equipped with quick charger options. Charging is done at 480 volts and can charge a vehicle like my Nissan, Leaf up to 80% typically in a half hour. Unfortunately there are four standards for quick charging. The Nissan championed Japanese model is called CHAdeMO. There is the challenger to CHAdeMO called the SAE Combo developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) championed by GM and is considered the US and European standard. The third option is the Tesla Supercharger. And the fourth standard is an AC standers with a plug called CEEplus. Tesla, since it's vehicles have much larger battery capacity, needs a system that is much more powerful then the standard ones being championed by the major automakers to achieve shorter charge times. The idea behind quick charging is that long distances can be traversed with shorter, half hour or so stops, or trips to areas without chargers could be still accessed as long as a quick charger is available nearby or along the way.

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Tesla SuperCharger location

Tesla's long range vehicles simply don't need an extensive infrastructure of convenience chargers since even at 322-kilometer range Teslas have plenty of range to do commutes, event trips or shopping and return home. Where charging was needed for Tesla's long ranging EVs was on long trips between cities and in cities for those people who don't have access to a designated parking spot. The small battery model rules out taking road trips of any real length. The Tesla concept is to travel a few hours stop at a Tesla Supercharger area, plug-in, walk to a nearby place to get food, use the restrooms or just relax for about a half hour and then unplug and drive for a few hours again before repeating the process. Tesla is building out its own charging infrastructure to advance this concept. They focused their proprietary infrastructure on connecting cities and makes it available to most of it's Model S and X owners for free.  

The quick charger long distance model for the major automakers doesn't really exist. Nissan has moved to mimic Tesla's model by insisting that its Nissan dealers install CHAdeMO chargers and make them available to Leaf owners for free. However, Nissan dealers are a hit and miss proposition for travelers, typically located only in or near cities. The other quick chargers that have become available have been installed by personal, institutional or business investment and not by coordinated planning. Where I live some churches have installed CHAdeMO quick charging stations, while, some retailers have installed some SAE Combo chargers. A grocery store here, a local government office there, a business here and there, all installed willy nilly. Willy nilly is not a plan designed to make the quick charging infrastructure useful. From my perspective there needs to be a change in how charging infrastructure is being done. Especially since the EV world will change due to the coming 322-kilometer range paradigm arriving in the next few years.

This new move to 322-kilometer range EVs gives us an opportunity to rethink what we are doing. First, it means that most of the money being used to develop level 2 convenience charging infrastructure will be, in the very near future, unnecessary. With 322-kilometer range EVs slow 220 volt charging simply doesn't do enough to help at shopping centers, restaurants and convenience stores to be useful. They will still be useful at hotels since plenty of time can be devoted to charging with an overnight stay. However, the wattage of the chargers needs to be brought up to the maximum of the SAE j1772 standard (19.2 kW). The vehicles need to also be equipped to accept this wattage through their j1772 standard charge ports.

I believe that the Tesla model for EV charging infrastructure is a glimpse at what the EV charging infrastructure from now on should be. Let the infrastructure for 220 volt charging build out organically, based on particular need, however, the focus of nearly all of the money available for developing charging infrastructure from governments, businesses and other sources should be used on developing a network of quick charging stations connecting cities and situated at strategic locations inside cities.

Relatively few quick charging station locations are needed to service all of Europe. I calculated that around 22 quick charging locations would meet all of the charging needs for Belgium, and that is with charging stations spaced only 80 kilometers apart. The entire Europe would be fully serviced with somewhere around 7,300 charging station areas. This was surprising to me, especially when you think there are around 118,000 (2013) retail gasoline stations across Europe in comparison. Why so few?

The reason why EVs need much less infrastructure then internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles do is that the infrastructure that powers electric vehicles is already at our homes and work, and electric vehicles get their fuel to move mainly at home or work. Let me give you an image that might help you understand how EVs are different. Just imagine that you had a gasoline or diesel pump at home or work where the gasoline was piped to it directly from the refinery. Also, imagine that you got in the habit of filling up your car before going to bed or starting work every day. You would have a full tank of gas every time you left your home in the morning or work in the evening. The only time that you would need a gasoline station would be on long trips that were beyond the range of the gasoline or diesel in your tank. Now imagine everyone having the same pumps as you do. The need for petrol stations would drop dramatically. Well, with electric vehicles that pump at your home or at your work exists with the electricity that comes to your house or work anyway to power your lights, computers and appliances.

The paradigm shift to 322-kilometer range electric vehicles is upon us with production by nearly all the major automakers set to begin now. This new paradigm has changed our charging infrastructure needs going forward. Gone is the need to have a bunch of 240 volt j1772 charging stations all over, 322-kilometer range EVs don't really need them. Also, having quick chargers placed willy nilly about based on random funding and support should give way to a plan having quick charging stations positioned mainly on highways spaced at 80 kilometer intervals connecting major cities and much fewer but more strategically placed quick chargers located inside and around cities. Government, businesses and other organizations investing in building out the EV charging infrastructure should concentrate their efforts on the 7300 or so quick charging locations needed across Europe to make EVs fully competitive with fossil fueled vehicles. The pieces for creating a world of truly cleaner and quieter transportation is nearly in place thanks in large part to the vision of Elon Musk and the willingness of the rest of the industry to follow suit. All we need now is for us to take the desperate pieces that make up that future of the infrastructure and put them together in a cohesive plan of action we can all participate in.

Some questions:

  1. What is the lifespan of current battery technology and what is the cost of replacement when a battery pack has reached the end of its lifespan?

  2. Will world-wide adoption of the EV paradigm result in a shortage of the raw materials required to make such batteries?

  3. What improvements in battery technology are in the pipeline?

  4. All new Tesla vehicles come equipped with self-drive technology and are permanently connected to internet. Presumably this means the car "knows" when it needs to re-charge, and what the re-charging options are on the pre-input route.  This could reduce "range anxiety" whereby a driver may be unsure of being able to find a free charge point en-route.  In theory charge points could even be pre-booked as part of a satnav generated itinerary. Is this part of the plan?

  5. The self-drive capability will also facilitate the hourly renting of cars based at charge points rather than drivers buying cars outright. Is this part of the business model?

  6. There needs to be a national strategy to rationalise charging standards and infrastructural development.  Is there any sign the EU or USA are developing one?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 20th, 2016 at 10:51:16 PM EST
From my fallible memory - I try to keep up with Musk's doings - Tesla offers a 10 year warranty on their Powerwall home system and I recall talk about using out of warranty car batteries as a supplement to storage capacity, though I don't know if they have any hardware for that purpose. These products are relatively new and such issues have yet to become timely, except, for projected product line capabilities.

 Tesla's Gigafactory in Utah is just coming on line to address storage needs for all product lines. They will be able to create gigawatt storage packages or greater for commercial and industrial purposes. If their purchase of Solar City is approved by the board they will offer custom solar roofs with Tesla storage capacity for the construction industry and for consumer applications as well. They will be a one stop supplier for Net Zero construction. The rest of your questions are worthy, but I will confine my answers to the first one for the time being.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 21st, 2016 at 12:42:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps joelado will respond in due time.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Oct 21st, 2016 at 12:45:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I ask question #1 because I have heard that current car batteries only have a limited lifespan and are prohibitively expensive to replace - but haven't seen any official confirmation of this.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 21st, 2016 at 12:48:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Battery prices have come down very rapidly. Much more rapidly than was predicted by the experts. Battery cost versus petroleum  will reach parity next year, about 15 years before predicted. Tesla's battery Gigafactory has been the catalyst for change. This has spurred on multiple battery makers to do the same thing. Batteries are normally warranteed for 10 years. In 10 years our battery choices will be greater with possible major advancements in range and longevity. Tesla offers its Roadsters a new battery upgrade that changes its 354 kilometer battery for one that will take the Roadster 530 kilometers. It is expensive, but wow what an increase in range in the same space.
by joelado on Fri Oct 21st, 2016 at 05:07:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think this is true for older models.

I noted so in a brief debate some year ago in Sweden when older EV models (bought under a government subsidy program, and apparently people thought it would create a second-hand market) were recalled and scrapped because batteries were going bad. Didn't note brands or models.

by fjallstrom on Fri Oct 21st, 2016 at 07:30:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The chemistry is the important thing. The used batteries from the Nissan Leafs that did not do well in the hot climates would not be good batteries to help peak shave power plants in southern Libia. Batteries that self discharge and then can't hold a charge can not be stored for long periods of time before being deployed for a second purpose. However, for the most part, advanced batteries charge capacity drops slowly over time if not deep cycled constantly. That means a battery will loose 20% of its capacity over a 10 year period as an example. A 100 kWh battery will still be able to hold 80 kWh after 10 years. After another 10 years the battery will be 64 kWh. What is changing is the energy density. You can reconfigure a battery based on its voltage. If you have a 100 volt battery that has gone down to 80 volts over time you can add 20 volts worth of other batteries and even though the volume has changed the energy is the same (very simply put). They can be used to store wind power produced late at night for use during the day. They can be used to store solar energy on bright sunny days for use at night or during cloudy days. They can be used to store hydro power produced off peak for use at peak.
by joelado on Fri Oct 21st, 2016 at 03:25:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've long been excited by the prospect of millions of EV's on our roads also acting as a giant storage battery evening out the peaks and valleys of both the supply and demand for electricity.  This is especially relevant for  a country like Ireland with a great wind (and potentially wave/tidal resource) but few other non carbon based indigenous sources of energy.  We also need to reduce our carbon footprint - especial the production of methane by our large cattle and sheep herds - see adding seaweed to animal feed could reduce methane production by 70%

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Oct 21st, 2016 at 05:04:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Tesla is involved in all of this. SolarCity is now a part of Tesla. Tesla will offer to new Tesla vehicle purchasers a way to charge the vehicle from solar that will be stored in the Tesla Wall batteries. The Gigafactory is in Sparks, Nevada, USA and will have space for building Tesla Model 3s, batteries for Tesla vehicles, batteries for PowerWalls. There is even talk of locating the solar panel manufacturing under that enormous roof.

When you think about how LED lights are 88% or higher in efficiency over incandescent light bulbs and that energy efficient appliances are becoming even more efficient year after year. Insulation is getting better. All this reduction on demand, which utilities first loved because they could charge more for electricity but not take the expense of having to build new power plants, have turned around to bite them. I saw an invention aimed at providing light in the third world that used a small bag full of dirt to pull on a strap that turned a generator the lit an LED for half an hour before needing to be lifted to start the process again. Imagine instead of a light switch you pushed a lever attached to a weight up the wall to power your lights. No need to have electricity generated someplace else to power your lights. All the energy you would need would be the energy you would expend lifting that slot lever up the wall. It used to be that lights were about 30% of your household electricity use. In the near future that will most likely be 5% or less. SubZero has a refrigerator that uses very little electricity made so by just by better design. It has thick insulated walls, all its heat generating electrical equipment is placed on top of the unit so the heat dissipates upward and away from the unit rather than through the box. Lighting is in the fridge is all cool LED so extra energy doesn't need to be used to cool down hot light bulbs in the box. Just these simple things have made for a refrigerator that is far more efficient than others on the market.  

At this point if someone wanted to build a net zero energy house, it just wouldn't be that hard. Solar is cheap right now. If the house is positioned to take maximum advantage of passive solar energy, foam insulation, thinker outer walls, geothermal heating and cooling. Solar water heating to assist tankless water heaters and geothermal heating. It can be easily done.

by joelado on Fri Oct 21st, 2016 at 08:04:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
... You have no conception of which parts of your household actually consume electricity, and how viable it is to cut down on the parts that actually matter.

Hint: it's not the lights. The thing that makes the entire modern economy - and incidentally, such advances as feminism even possible - is the fact that housekeeping has been electrified. You can do without a vacuum if you have a house with only hard floors. You cannot do without the stove, the fridge, and the laundry stack. Those replace dozens of labor hours every week.
This is why electrification is so important - it frees up immense amounts of labor. But these tasks are not very amenable to extreme efficiency gains. The motor in a washing machine is already pretty close to physical limits as far as that goes.

by Thomas on Wed Oct 26th, 2016 at 06:21:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lets have numbers:

How much electricity is used for lighting in the United States? - FAQ - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that in 2015, about 404 billion kilowatthours (kWh) of electricity were used for lighting by the residential sector and the commercial sector in the United States. This was about 15% of the total electricity consumed by both of these sectors and about 10% of total U.S. electricity consumption.

Saving much of 15% is sizeable, but lets look at the rest.

European Union energy label - Wikipedia

EU Directive 92/75/EC[1] established an energy consumption labelling scheme. The directive was implemented by several other directives[2] thus most white goods, light bulb packaging and cars must have an EU Energy Label clearly displayed when offered for sale or rent. The energy efficiency of the appliance is rated in terms of a set of energy efficiency classes from A to G on the label, A being the most energy efficient, G the least efficient. The labels also give other useful information to the customer as they choose between various models. The information should also be given in catalogues and included by internet retailers on their websites.

In an attempt to keep up with advances in energy efficiency, A+, A++ and A+++ grades were later introduced for various products

(Note how efficiency development was stimulated.)

You can read for yourself, but the difference between best and worst for many appliances gives a saving of 50% or more.

Combine with established technologies for building passive houses that only needs little external energy for heating and add solar cells and you can build energy-plus-houses.

by fjallstrom on Thu Oct 27th, 2016 at 12:39:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In defense of clothes washers and dryers, their use is large but quite intermittent.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Oct 27th, 2016 at 01:15:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea I only do my laundry once a month, whether I need to or not!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Oct 27th, 2016 at 04:12:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes to all of that BUT :
  • all cooking should be (bio) gas
  • clothes dryers should be outlawed.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Mon Oct 31st, 2016 at 10:12:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You could run dryers off bio-gas too!
Or design houses to channel a portion of the home heating distribution to one.
Conversely -or complementarily-one could harness waste heat from dryers to aid in warming the house.
My family had a house once which had a laundry cupboard felicitously situated to take such advantage, resulting in always crispy dry sheets and towels, zero clammy  factor.

There are sewer turbines installed in Seattle driven by millions of toilet flushes.

All farm effluent should undergo bio-gasification and resultant slurry dug into the fields, as should city sewage.

(After quitting feeding them on GM soy and antibiotics!)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Mon Oct 31st, 2016 at 09:01:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Really no.

Biogas means the conversion of biomass to fuel. If this is biomass produced as a side-effect of food production, the ecological footprint is low. But the total amount of bio-waste that can sourced from that is very finite, and should be allocated to niche uses where concentrated liquid fuels are very useful - like flight.

Using it for domestic heatsources is extremely poor stewardship of a finite resourceflow.

Producing biomass specifically for conversion into gas is not green - it is the conversion of nature into mono-culture to capture energy extremely inefficiently. Biomass runs on sunlight, and solar cells are a full order of magnitude better at energy conversion than photosynthesis is.

It's terrible in terms of output per acre killed, and you could get your cooking done with far less ecological impact by choosing literally any other source of energy.

by Thomas on Tue Nov 1st, 2016 at 10:58:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What about all those family bio-gas units dotted around India which transform family and homestead sewage into cooking gas with low-tech, sustainable methods?
That what I had in mind, scaled up for small communities, villages etc.

Not talking about quick-growth trees for pulping and pellet ingredients.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Nov 1st, 2016 at 06:37:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They don't output remotely enough. The biological waste from about 4 households allow one household to cook with gas, given optimal practice, and this requires the extremely efficient use of the gas on the cooking end, not just a gas stove, and they're chucking in waste from household livestock to get to that ratio.

I mean, it's totally possible to add bioreactors to our sanitation facilities. The equipment is very simple, easily mass-producible, (or centralizable.)  and getting people to pee and stool into separate systems, which is the primary requirement is not much of a social engineering challenge.

After doing that, it would still be completely insane to burn it to cook with. Firstly: You would not produce enough gas this way to get the job done. Secondly:  You sell it to someone who has a need for portable power and cook your food on an electric range like edison intended.

by Thomas on Tue Nov 1st, 2016 at 10:12:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Note that the people in the third world doing this currently are mostly doing so at least as much to get less noxious fertilizer as to get free gas.  
by Thomas on Tue Nov 1st, 2016 at 10:19:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I heard waste from 5 pigs gave enough gas to fuel a family's needs. Being India probably not 2.3 kid family.
Yes about digested slurry being easier to use, it also has other advantages over raw manure.
A win-win for many people previously condemned to stick-gathering or premature blindness from dried cowdung cooking fires.
Not sure all would agree with either your projection of Edison's legacy or the superiority of electric hobs over gas viz a viz home safety in 3rd world situations.
But maybe you're right...
(Except about the nukes.) ;)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2016 at 09:32:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... an adult pig weighs in at 150-250 kgs. 5 pigs are thus a full tonne of meat on the hoof and produce manure accordingly, and eat as much as several entire households.
You can feed pigs many things people can't eat, but you cannot justify keeping them unless you're eating them, and five pigs are not a typical household - that's a meat production operation for profit. A small one by western standards, but it's a pig farm. And you're plowing fields to feed them, or letting them forage on some acreage. Meaning, they represent significant land use.
by Thomas on Wed Nov 2nd, 2016 at 10:10:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or cooking sugar molasses into rocket fuel...

Bio-gas, not bio-mass (though the two are inextricably married, and both have huge potential for a quantum leap in composting.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2016 at 09:37:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's no point in involving sugar-cane at any point. Rockets fly fine on hydrogen. You can fly to space with a patch of equatorial desert paved in solar cells easily enough - The land use doing it that way would be a minimum of 30 times less due to lower conversion losses and the fact that solar cells are just that much better than chlorophyll, and you ideally want your space ports to be on the equator anyway.
This generalizes - brute-force synthesis from base elements is far lower-impact than any "Bio" anything that involves dedicated energy crops.
Waste is one thing. But it's also a small thing. Its worth doing but it's no kind of general answer to energy supply.
by Thomas on Wed Nov 2nd, 2016 at 10:28:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We can do a lot better with our appliances. If we use axio flux motors that adjust the energy draw to match the energy needed to move the load of a dryer, the we use permanent magnet centering of the drum so like a maglev the drum turns without friction, then we use a heat pump and a high volume blower to dry the close using convection rather than a heavy dependence on resistance hearing, you could create cloths dryer that would use far less electricity than the commonplace cloths dryer. We will use energy but what we need to do is to bring it down to the amount of energy that can be generated locally by solar panels and wind power stored in used EV batteries. We can use the warm air coming from our cloths dryers to warm and add humidity our houses in winter.

We can use our own sewage gas to heat our homes. There is a lot more room for efficiency. We are not looking for zero in consumption we are just trying to reach that level where we could produce the energy we need at our own homes. We can do that right now. Every two years the US Government sponsors a challenge of engineering schools around the world to produce zero energy homes. Fifty schools are chosen to display. All the schools manage to have zero energy homes, it is the degree of comfort that they are judged by. The winners normally produce very comfortable homes that have all of the conveniences of todays homes but produce all the energy they used from solar. You add wind to that mix and there would be an abundance of energy. One year since all the homes produced excess energy they had them charge up electric vehicles. The students would drive the vehicles around so they could show they were consuming all the energy produced. It got ridiculous because the students were spending large amounts of time driving around trying to "burn off" the extra electricity. The next year they were judged on how much electricity could send to the grid, no driving around in continuous circles.

by joelado on Mon Oct 31st, 2016 at 10:36:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
1. Lifespan and cost of replacement?

Currently both Tesla batteries and the batteries in the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid have shown very little degradation over a five year period. The Chevy Volt battery has actually shown no battery degradation. Nissan's original chemistry did not do well in very hot climates. Nissan offered replacement to batteries lost more than 20%. New chemistry is doing very well. My Nissan, Leaf in a cool climate is at 100% with 48,000 kilometers. At 80% batteries are not so useful in their vehicles, but a secondary market is evolving for renewable energy storage and power plant peak shaving. Both Tesla and GM current battery cost is at $190 per kWh. Parity with petrol is $150 which will be achieved once the various competing Gigafactories from Tesla and others are completed.

2. Will world-wide adoption of the EV paradigm result in a shortage of the raw materials required to make such batteries?

Enormous deposits of lithium have been discovered in Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Peru and various other locations around the world. Only small amounts of lithium are actually used to make the new advanced batteries. Growing supply will easily meet increasing demand. Other chemistries are also coming online. Recycling in the future.

3. What improvements in battery technology are in the pipeline?

The demand for advanced batteries has bloomed an enormous amount of research on improving energy density, longevity and discharge/recharge capacity. MIT announced a breakthrough in a new lithium based anode that could double the energy density in current battery chemistry.

4. All new Tesla vehicles come equipped with self-drive technology and are permanently connected to internet. Presumably this means the car "knows" when it needs to re-charge, and what the re-charging options are on the pre-input route.  This could reduce "range anxiety" whereby a driver may be unsure of being able to find a free charge point en-route.  In theory charge points could even be pre-booked as part of a satnav generated itinerary. Is this part of the plan?

This is already in place. All new Teslas even the Model 3s will come with "AutoPilot" Tesla's self driving software. Both reserving and mapping charger locations are available through free apps for other vehicles and Tesla.

5. The self-drive capability will also facilitate the hourly renting of cars based at charge points rather than drivers buying cars outright. Is this part of the business model?

Self-driving capacity is an issue apart from the fuel/propulsion paradigm  Tesla already has an letter of understanding with Uber to provide it self-driving vehicles.

6. There needs to be a national strategy to rationalize charging standards and infrastructural development.  Is there any sign the EU or USA are developing one?

I would very much like to see one standard, the Tesla standard, which is already designed to handle large battery capacities. A single standard would do much to make electric vehicles more acceptable. Unfortunately, this is something that government is going to have to step in and do. The manufacturers do not want to agree on a quick charging standard. Maybe we can see some leadership in this area from the EU. Corporations have too much power in the United States for a standard to be established.

by joelado on Fri Oct 21st, 2016 at 04:52:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As you all know, I follow energy issues quite close, even if I do not write about it as much as in the past. Articles like this one are churned almost daily in multiple blogs around the world dedicated to prop up the Tesla brand. Words vary, but the story is essentially the same, underpinned in a few myths:

 1. Tesla is the source of all invention and innovation in electrical mobility;

 2. Tesla faces no competition (even when other brands market similar products years in advance);

 3. Tesla is immune to resource depletion.

Last year I took some trouble to demystify the Tesla Powerwall. Months later production of the 10 MW pack was halted and while the 7 MW is officially still on sale, the brand is no longer promoting it.

Tesla faces a major problem the next few years: it must take up all the Lithium mined the world plus some more to meet its production targets. Not impossible, but certainly not possible at present prices. Moreover, by 2020, advances in battery technology will mean that 70% or more of the cost will be the Lithium itself.

In sum, this article looks like any other paid Tesla advert disguised as a blog post. Apologies to the author if this is not the case.


by Luis de Sousa (luis[dot]de[dot]sousa[at]protonmail[dot]ch) on Fri Oct 28th, 2016 at 01:56:55 PM EST
Did you read my post? It wasn't so much about Tesla but the oncoming onslaught of 200-mile electric vehicles coming from nearly all major automobile manufacturers, and the relatively few DC fast charging stations that would be needed to charge them since charging would be mainly done at home.

I am a long time published expert in the areas of alternative energy and alternative fuels. I owned two experimental electric vehicles prior to them reaching production as they are now. I did so to understand for myself whether EVs would be viable back in the early 2000s. My first EV was converted from a Pontiac Fiero back in the mid 1990s.

I don't work for Tesla or any one working for Tesla. I am not a freelance person being paid on the sly to do praise posts of Tesla. I don't own Tesla stock. I might own some through my mutual fund, but I don't really know what is in my one mutual fund, I bought it because it was a risk averse fund that would preserve my principle. I don't think Tesla would be among stocks that would be considered risk averse. Anyway, even though I like Tesla and write honestly about Tesla's contributions to the industry I am not what would be called a Tesla fanatic.

My post was honest. As to:

 "1. Tesla is the source of all invention and innovation in electrical mobility;..." You are right. They are not. However, Elon Musk did put in his 2007 business plan a detailed description of what eventually became the Model 3. He did this and that is merely the truth.

 "2. Tesla faces no competition (even when other brands market similar products years in advance);" In this case Tesla is the uncaused first caused of the 200-mile plus EV. Its first vehicle had range over 200-miles and with the announcement of the Model 3, the affordable 200-mile EV, way back in 2014 Tesla was the thing that spurred on the rest of the industry to do the same. Chevy and Renault are beating Tesla to market, but both companies didn't have plans for such a vehicle prior to Tesla's announcement.

 "3. Tesla is immune to resource depletion." As an amateur economist I wonder how the world is going to deal with the enormous increase in the demand for lithium. However, lithium in batteries is not a primary cost factor. Lithium is used in lubricants and is quite cheap. The batteries in my Nissan Leaf use only 4% lithium for its chemistry. I hope that some of the battery makers have written futures contracts with suppliers, because this could become a serious issue in the near future.

As to the TeslaWalls, Tesla just announced a new PowerWall version 2 that is 28 kWh. They are trying to pair them with new solar tiles from SolarCity a partly owned subsidiary of Tesla. This was announced just yesterday.

Apologizing after an accusation like the one above is a courtroom tactic turned into a tool for trolls. It puts a kernel of doubt in what I wrote in the mind of the reader and is a personal attack on my character that also adds to the doubt that can't be shaken from the reader's mind easily. I am open to discussion and the questions in comments. If you want to be taken seriously, just post comments based on what is written in the main post. Stay away from personal attacks before contributing to the conversation.

by joelado on Sat Oct 29th, 2016 at 07:20:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What Tesla have done is make EV sexy by creating powerful sports cars that are attractive to (wealthy) buyers who want more than a city runabout. This newer technology can then become gradually cheaper as volumes rise and initial overhead costs are covered.

Established auto-mobile makers have an vested interest in optimising the utilisation of their current manufacturing capabilities - and newer technologies like EV are often just a "me too" gimmick to show how innovative they are without ever really getting into volume production and the economies of scale this can generate.

By shaking up the market and forcing mainstream car makers to compete, Tesla can have an outsize influence on the marketplace as a whole, raising technical standards and reducing prices. Solar panels have become a lot cheaper now that they are being massed produced - the same is beginning to happen with batteries.  Hopefully, soon, evs won't cost all that much more than petrol/diesel cars.

The more manufacturers/brands, the merrier. If Tesla are occasionally guilty of over-hyping their products and plans, at least they are stimulating the market and the more established manufacturers should have no difficulty in competing.  

I think this article is valuable in highlighting that an extensive infrastructure of re-charging stations may not be required to allow local markets to take off.  Tesla Ireland are planning 4 re-charging stations in the 4 main cities and hopeful this will increase sales of evs in Ireland, where sales from traditional manufacturers have still been at pretty anaemic levels.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 2nd, 2016 at 01:10:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks Joe, for the great diary, info, homework done and optimistic tone.

We really could have all this...if those avidly blocking such progress woke up one morning and did the right thing.

Diaries like this do a lot to remind me never to give up hope.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Nov 1st, 2016 at 07:01:49 PM EST

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