During a keynote address at last year's DESIGN West, J.B. Straubel, chief technology and co-founder of Tesla Motors Inc., lamented that despite some pretty serious advanced in electric vehicle technology by his firm and others, EVs continued to be dogged by the "road trip question."
While more and more car owners are warming to the idea that EVs offer an attractive alternative to gasoline-powered cars for their 50-, 100- or even 200-mile daily commute, how can they satisfy our urge to occasionally take off on a much longer trip?
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Tesla is trying to answer that question. At a glitzy event held earlier this week at the company's design studio in Hawthorne, Calif., Tesla launched its Supercharger network. Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, revealed the locations of the first six Supercharger station locations, all of which are in California.
Starting next year, the company plans to install Superchargers "in high traffic corridors across the continental United States, enabling fast, purely electric travel from Vancouver to San Diego, Miami to Montreal and Los Angeles to New York." In the second half of 2013, Tesla plans to begin installing Superchargers in Europe and Asia.
The initial locations of Tesla's Supercharger stations--all in California--are laid out to enable long trips throughout California, parts of Nevada and Arizona.
The Supercharger stations are designed to work only with Tesla's Model S sedans, which just became available in June. The 480-volt charging stations—which cost about $250,000 apiece—are said to replenish enough power to drive a Model S for three hours at 60 miles an hour in just 30 minutes. Some of the stations are solar-powered, enabling Tesla to provide Model S owners "free long distance travel indefinitely."
Doing the math, one could drive a Model S 360 miles in six and a half hours—including charging time. That's almost—but not quite—the driving distance from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Assuming the charging stations are placed at appropriate intervals, one could drive a Model S 540 miles in 10 hours. (The initial station locations, including Gilroy, Harris Ranch, Tejon Ranch and Los Angeles, are arranged to enable to Bay Area to L.A. trek).
For sure it makes no sense to compare gas station and electric charging stations. As Jhal said, most of the electric charging is done at home by night, but it can also be done at work as it costs almost nothing to add a standard main plug (no supercharging stuff) in front of any car in any company that have a private parking place.
This way you can charge 4H in the morning, 4H in the afternoon and 8H by night which is much more than necessary. Don't forget that partial charging is no issue for today managed batteries.
And "rich" companies could afford wireless charging when the technology will be viable.
Obviously, the roof of the car was intended to give an idea of the area required for solar panels. As opposed to just armwaving about how these charging stations were going to be able to give you free energy.
Infrastructure problem? We can't deliver gasoline, diesel, or bioduels to standard gasoline stations?
You put a hydrocarbon fuel in a tank in the car. And then you extract the H2 on board, and feed the H2 to the fuel cells. You may need a small battery, similar to that of a mild hybrid, for short power bursts.
No energy shortfall, no infrastructure change, no heavy and low specific energy battery to contend with, no problem with friving range.
Look it up. It's doable, and I think it has a lot more potential than battery-powered electrics.
You are thinking an electric car is like building a new gas car. 95% of my charging will be done at home in my garage. A large number of people commute less than 300 miles a day. Superchargers aren't the gas stations of electric cars, they are just for taking long trips.
As electric cars become more popular, obviously more stations will be built. You could make the same argument against gasoline cars when the first stations were going up.
Your thought experiment is pretty meaningless... the charging station is not limited to the area of the roof on the car.
However, your conclusion is probably right. If the station was being run 24/7 it wouldn't work. Good thing Tesla knows how many cars they are selling in each area and can plan accordingly.
According to a Tesla chief engineer after the unveiling, the damage to the battery is no different than any other form of charging. It's designed to bypass the charging hardware and do some other stuff that a biologist like me doesn't really understand. Keep in mind that the 85kwh batteries have an 8 year warranty.
As for Hydrogen and other fuel cell technologies... you have an even greater infrastructure problem and/or at least with hydrogen it's even worse, because you are literally using MORE electricity to make hydrogen than it would take just to run the car with electricity to begin with.
Heh. They might claim that, but does that claim cover the case case where the stations are operating around the clock?
Think of it this way. If each car had solar panels on their roof, would that provide enough energy for driving the car? I mean, assuming more than just a tiny little experimental vehicle?
Now exacerbate that problem by a 30-minute "refueling," where the energy required for each car driving 3 hours or so is crammed into 30 minutes. And by the fact that you're doing this for potentially many cars simultaneously.
I'm sure one can do the numbers, to determine just how much solar panel area would be required. All I can say is, roof panels on EVs don't come close to generating enough power. So multply that car-roof area by at least 6 * the number of cars fueling at a time * a factor to account for the fact that this calculation only works for 12:00 noon on a sunny day * a factor to accoun t for the fact that the roof area isn't enough for practical cars, and that should give an idea whether you can net give the grid any power.