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Can the American power grid sustain EV adoption?

tij664

Member
May 8, 2017
402
548
Turlock, CA
The grid is not ready as it sits today. While the energy increase from EVs will steadily ramp up and existing transmission and generation will handle it over the next few years, distribution is going to be a big problem. Conductors and switches on the distribution system are probably sized ok for a modest increase in usage but substation and distribution transformers are definitely undersized.

As an example, as it sits now a typical suburban tract of homes will have 10 homes on a single 100 kVA pad mounted or subsurface transformer. Today there’s little issue overnight as AC load and other miscellaneous small loads might hit 50 or 60 kVA for all those 10 houses in aggregate so there is no worry about overloading the 100 kVA transformer.

Now fast forward 10-15 years in the future and assume all 10 houses are charging their cars on Level 2 48 A chargers overnight (totally plausible if at some point most will drive EVs and want to charge at home if you have the capability). That is at minimum 115 kVA in aggregate load overnight and if you add the 50 or 60 kVA from AC load during the hotter months then we’re talking 175 kVA load on a 100 kVA rated transformer. First of all, that transformer will fail quickly being overloaded for that many hours every night so a replacement to a bigger transformer would be needed. Now multiply this failing transformer scenario times the thousands of what then will be undersized transformers in the many neighborhoods and tracts in America and you can see that we have quite a bit of work to do.
 

linux-works

Active Member
Dec 23, 2019
2,188
4,169
mtn view, ca
So if it's no cost to them then who pays for it?
the tooth fairy. that's who.

sheesh.

we have enough incentives in terms of money that the government has and gives out, this would be just one more.

we currently have a green-friendly president; I dont see why we couldn't incentivize landlords to join the modern age.

btw, they get to keep the profits from the charge stations; and I never expected free charging from landlords.

again, sheesh. why the push-back?
 
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nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
8,338
11,374
United States
Now fast forward 10-15 years in the future and assume all 10 houses are charging their cars on Level 2 48 A chargers overnight (totally plausible if at some point most will drive EVs and want to charge at home if you have the capability). That is at minimum 115 kVA in aggregate load overnight and if you add the 50 or 60 kVA from AC load during the hotter months then we’re talking 175 kVA load on a 100 kVA rated transformer.

That's where smart charging comes in. The average commute is only ~40 miles. Lets say 60 to account for a few people that maybe travelled. So that's at most ~20kWh per car on average that needs to be recouped. 200kWh over a 14 hour period is only 14kW or < 60kVA.

Don't forget that our electric grid went from on average a ~100w light bulb in each house (There's a reason some people still call it a light bill) to the cacophony of electric appliances we have today. If we can ramp 500% to support our electrified lives I think we can ramp ~50% to electrify vehicles. EVs could be the biggest boon to electric utilities since refrigeration. For the first time there's legitimate demand side control that won't be inconvenient like changing the temperature on smart thermostats.
 

Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,630
4,197
Colorado, USA
the tooth fairy. that's who.

sheesh.

we have enough incentives in terms of money that the government has and gives out, this would be just one more.

we currently have a green-friendly president; I dont see why we couldn't incentivize landlords to join the modern age.

btw, they get to keep the profits from the charge stations; and I never expected free charging from landlords.

again, sheesh. why the push-back?
The pushback is because every person wants US to pay for their little pet project because "we have plenty of money" and these nickels and dimes have added up to TRILLIONS of dollars. With a "T".

On top of that, all of the petty bickering I hear here in the midwest from anti-EV people is subsidy this and subsidy that. "Tesla can't make it on their own w/o my taxes" is the line I hear over and over again. I get sick of trying to combat it with facts so how 'bout this: we stop asking for stupid handouts from the government and take responsibility for ourselves.

You chose to live there, not me. Nobody forced you to make that choice and now you expect everyone else to foot the bill of your decision? If enough people didn't live there the free market would correct and management would be forced to make changes to policy. Instead, people like you move in and reward the bad behavior and then want the government (aka every other tax payer) to pay for your choice.

It doesn't matter if I'm empathetic to your cause or not, we have have to draw the line somewhere. We've lost sight of what exactly asking for tax payer dollars mean to those paying the taxes. We have more and more people on government handouts and fewer and fewer contributing to the very system people keep asking money from. This balancing act is about to lose in a bad direction over stupid little crap just like this.

Your state is a mess in terms of taxes and what it costs to live there. Yet you don't connect the dot between this, the thousand other similar "small things" and these absurd tax rates and the mass exodus of people tired of government intervention. "What will one more law matter, there are so many?" right? As long as it benefits you personally. This is the crux of the collapse of this once-great society. Everyone expects the government to cure all that ails them instead of making sacrifice themselves.

This really has no bearing on this topic though so with that, I'm done with this. Your off-topic idea should have it's own thread.

This topic has been taken on quite the tangent but the bottom line is that our grid and will sustain the amount of EVs coming. This is a non-issue.
 

linux-works

Active Member
Dec 23, 2019
2,188
4,169
mtn view, ca
its true that everyone wants their pet project funded.

but while we are on INFRASTRUCTURE, for the first time in decades, this is the ideal (maybe only!) time this kind of thing could be addressed.

as for 'just find another place' - that does not work when the LL's collude (informally) and all agree to not install chargers unless forced.

see that's the problem. humans often wont do the right thing unless there's a carrot or stick. I'm suggesting a carrot ;) of the billions the gov has, asking for apartment dwellers to be able to more easily participate in the MODERN car age, I dont think that's asking too much at all.

we just pulled out of afghanistan. do you realize how much we wasted there over the last 20 years? I wont waste time on the math, but I'm willing to bet we could fund every single LL in the US (many times over) with free installs. and other things. and still have money left over for apple pie (gotta save room for desert).

we also gave billions to the ultra rich; and they certainly didn't need it.

begruding The People an infra upgrade is proper and fitting for this year and administration.

do I expect it? not a lot. there is a whole group of people who dedicate themselves to BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK everything the other party does.

but we need this and it could do a lot of good.

(I find it very telling who fights public infrastructure and asks about cost. do you also ask about cost when it benefits YOUR side? prolly not.)
 

linux-works

Active Member
Dec 23, 2019
2,188
4,169
mtn view, ca
The grid is not ready as it sits today. While the energy increase from EVs will steadily ramp up and existing transmission and generation will handle it over the next few years, distribution is going to be a big problem. Conductors and switches on the distribution system are probably sized ok for a modest increase in usage but substation and distribution transformers are definitely undersized.
when bursty traffic overwhelms a network, one common solution is to smooth things out and schedule the bursts so that you load balance the time, a bit better.

suppose there were incentives to partially charge your car overnight and maybe run the charger at half current? not only are you staggering the start-time but also the power amount.

if you need a full charge (big trip next day) you should be able to get it, but at usual rates. if you are able to 'sip' the juice more slowly, it would be a good idea to incentivize the customer with serious discounts.

try that to see if that gets us more time.

bursty traffic (or current draw) is the enemy short-term. and that can be solved if we really wanted to.
 
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tij664

Member
May 8, 2017
402
548
Turlock, CA
when bursty traffic overwhelms a network, one common solution is to smooth things out and schedule the bursts so that you load balance the time, a bit better.

suppose there were incentives to partially charge your car overnight and maybe run the charger at half current? not only are you staggering the start-time but also the power amount.

if you need a full charge (big trip next day) you should be able to get it, but at usual rates. if you are able to 'sip' the juice more slowly, it would be a good idea to incentivize the customer with serious discounts.

try that to see if that gets us more time.

bursty traffic (or current draw) is the enemy short-term. and that can be solved if we really wanted to.


There’s already a solution for that and it’s called demand charges. If demand charges were universally charged for residential service then consumers would be forced to really be informed on what their loads are and when they use them. That said big changes like that are always thorny issues. As an example, even in California consumers initially made a stink over time of use rates. Imagine how well demand charges would go over nationwide. People would riot.

Not saying demand charges for all electric customers are impossible but rather it would be a tough sell in this politically charged climate we live in. Everything becomes political at some point.
 

linux-works

Active Member
Dec 23, 2019
2,188
4,169
mtn view, ca
is there such a thing as duty cycles within demand periods or even off-demand?

multiplexing, essentially. or time sharing. each gets a slice of time. and even in that, a slice of current. so to speak.

finer granularity. more predictability and that's what power distribution companies want. less bursts and more even load.

I'll predict this: at some point, power companies could be more involved in the time-share of things that can tolerate it. washing machines and ovens, no, not at all; but slow charge things, sure, those can be muxed and time-shared across the power feed.

lots of small problems to solve to get that working, but I see it as another step that can be taken to even out the power problems. all the while, building it up so that you need less and less of these time-split kinds of measures.
 
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nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
8,338
11,374
United States
The pushback is because every person wants US to pay for their little pet project because "we have plenty of money" and these nickels and dimes have added up to TRILLIONS of dollars. With a "T".

If we don't pay as a society to wean ourselves off of fools fuel ASAP with fake money our costs will increase exponentially with real suffering from real physics. Money is fake, physics is real.
 

Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,630
4,197
Colorado, USA
its true that everyone wants their pet project funded.

but while we are on INFRASTRUCTURE, for the first time in decades, this is the ideal (maybe only!) time this kind of thing could be addressed.

as for 'just find another place' - that does not work when the LL's collude (informally) and all agree to not install chargers unless forced.

see that's the problem. humans often wont do the right thing unless there's a carrot or stick. I'm suggesting a carrot ;) of the billions the gov has, asking for apartment dwellers to be able to more easily participate in the MODERN car age, I dont think that's asking too much at all.

we just pulled out of afghanistan. do you realize how much we wasted there over the last 20 years? I wont waste time on the math, but I'm willing to bet we could fund every single LL in the US (many times over) with free installs. and other things. and still have money left over for apple pie (gotta save room for desert).

we also gave billions to the ultra rich; and they certainly didn't need it.

begruding The People an infra upgrade is proper and fitting for this year and administration.

do I expect it? not a lot. there is a whole group of people who dedicate themselves to BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK everything the other party does.

but we need this and it could do a lot of good.

(I find it very telling who fights public infrastructure and asks about cost. do you also ask about cost when it benefits YOUR side? prolly not.)
Not sure why politics keep getting dragged into this topic. I never said I wasn't for improving the infrastructure but trying to convince people that a proprietary tesla charger in an apartment complex is a universal asset takes a bit of a leap. I'm not even going to touch your politically charged comments aside from that.
 

Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,630
4,197
Colorado, USA
If we don't pay as a society to wean ourselves off of fools fuel ASAP with fake money our costs will increase exponentially with real suffering from real physics. Money is fake, physics is real.
The way this is posed assumes that spending more is the only solution while completely ignoring that simply spending less for the forces that oppose what you would like to see changed has a similar affect.
 

nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
8,338
11,374
United States
The way this is posed assumes that spending more is the only solution while completely ignoring that simply spending less for the forces that oppose what you would like to see changed has a similar affect.

??? Wasn't the original post in regards to funding EV chargers at apartments and such? Do you think people will burn more or less fools fuel if they own an EV? Do you think people are more or less likely to own an EV if they are able to charger it where they live?

Not sure why politics keep getting dragged into this topic. I never said I wasn't for improving the infrastructure but trying to convince people that a proprietary tesla charger in an apartment complex is a universal asset takes a bit of a leap.

???? Who's advocating for only Tesla chargers? Totally agree it should be a mix.
 

Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,630
4,197
Colorado, USA
??? Wasn't the original post in regards to funding EV chargers at apartments and such? Do you think people will burn more or less fools fuel if they own an EV? Do you think people are more or less likely to own an EV if they are able to charger it where they live?



???? Who's advocating for only Tesla chargers? Totally agree it should be a mix.
No, the original post simply asked if the American power grid can sustain EV adoption. The short answer is: yes.

My subsequent posts were in regards to pointing out that we could help to persuade people by cutting spending in the areas that opposed EV adoption. An easy example is gas/oil subsidies and propping up companies that crank out crap products that are stale and pose zero innovation that nobody wants anymore. This happened in 2008 and several "too-big-to-fail" companies were artificially propped up to prevent them from failing based purely on poor performance and poor management. Allow them to fail. The vacuum created would have allowed the "little guy" with the better idea to come to the forefront. As it should be. The government needs to stop picking favorites and spending OUR money to do so.

This idea that we have spend spend spend to drive an agenda is myopic at best. It's also not the point of this topic.
 

nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
8,338
11,374
United States
My subsequent posts were in regards to pointing out that we could help to persuade people by cutting spending in the areas that opposed EV adoption.

Helpful but insufficient especially with the timeframe we're working with since most boomers were content to ignore the problem almost entirely.

Sometimes the government does have to pick 'favorites'. That's why they funded actual vaccines for COVID instead of homeopathic nonsense. That's why they need to fund EV charging stations for apartments.
 
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linux-works

Active Member
Dec 23, 2019
2,188
4,169
mtn view, ca
Not sure why politics keep getting dragged into this topic. I never said I wasn't for improving the infrastructure but trying to convince people that a proprietary tesla charger in an apartment complex is a universal asset takes a bit of a leap. I'm not even going to touch your politically charged comments aside from that.
where did I say 'tesla charger' ?

regular charger - and I'll use that silly plastic adapter that I carry around in the front console area like I would at work or supermarkets. not a problem at all.

I'm not creating problems. I'm offering solutions. regular charging, not even fast charging, and non-tesla connector. I would not even think to suggest a landlord install a single vendor plug type.

sometimes, it seems that people just looks for fights. boggle. this isn't one to fight about, mate. we're all on the same 'side', on this, aren't we?
 

linux-works

Active Member
Dec 23, 2019
2,188
4,169
mtn view, ca
dude, I grew up on 300 baud modems. I'm as patient - or more so - than the next bloke ;)

I do want something better than 120vac trickle charging. that's just a last resort and works ok if you can leave your vehicle locked away for longish periods of time. but even getting a 2 hour slot, when the queue is free (not even asking for my own private spot to be electrified) and I'll take my slot and then move my car. its what we do at work; and the queue system works and all the policies have been figured out, over time. its not ideal as overnight private charging, but little steps are even ok by me.

for now, I drive down to a supermarket area where they have a brand new large array of superchargers and I've been SCing exclusively for a while, now (not by choice but by need). I'd be happy to get a 2 hour slot on the apartment slower chargers, when I come back from a short shopping trip and topoff to 80% or so, then move the car back to my own spot.

but nothing we (apt dwellers) suggest is ever heard by the LL's. no matter how reasonable we try to be.
 

BogStandard

Member
Jun 2, 2021
34
46
MN
I think one of the common misconceptions that's been thrown around is that you need a 50 or 60 amp circuit for each car. I myself even thought hey, I need to install a 60 amp circuit to the garage for when I get my EV. So that's what I did. (I downsized to 50A breaker for the Grizzl-e EVSE) As it ultimately turned out, I have my LR M3 charge rate set to only 24 amps and finish charging by 7am. In reality, I don't think it makes much of a difference if you recharge in 3 hours or 6 hours at home. You either have enough to go where you need to or you don't and have to stop at DCFC station anyways.

Not only is that better for efficiency all around, probably safety too. When I charged at 40 amps, everything became warm to the touch, including the EVSE cable, and the conduit carrying the 6ga Cu wire. Certainly not dangerous temps, especially as I'm using THHN wire, but elevated enough that it made me realize what constant loads really mean. The cooling fan on the car was always whirring away too at 40 amps, it's much lower at 24, usually even off. Quite a bit less wasted heat.

I drive 120mi a day for my commute, far more than average, and 24A is enough that the charging doesn't initiate until sometime between 11pm-1am, depending on where my charge limit is set. Usually 80%. When I have to travel to a job site and I need 100% charge, it still only comes on at ~10pm.

I know someone commented on local block transformers, I was always wondering about that too, but now that I see not everyone, if hardly anyone at all, needs 60 amps of charging for any length of time, I'm far less worried about that. But now it comes down to education and/or smart grid sharing.

Once EV's become more than 50% adopted and everyone's garage on the block starts getting 2 EV's, then the full 60 amp circuit may be needed. I think that will be quite a long time from now though, Hopefully by that time a lot of this grid infrastructure and sharing has started to work itself out.
Also, I bet a lot of these transformers out there are pretty old and will need replacement in the near future anyhow, we need the foresight to start upgrading them now if that's not being done already. Even if the wire isn't sized for it yet. That can always come later as homes are upgraded.
My sisters house is from the 50's and only has 60A service, she is upgrading and they told her that her portion of the transformer (I assume was replaced since 1950) was sized for 150A, so that's what she'll be getting.
I wonder what new developments in the last 10 years have been installing for transformers, I'd be curious to find out. I do know that around here at least, almost every new home has 200amp panels now, and I would assume that the transformer is designed to meet at least 50% of that load continuously. 200A sized homes are plenty for 2 vehicles and even at peak usage I would imagine to be under 150A, assuming you have 80A of vehicle charging, electric dryer, electric stove, and AC (or heat) all running at once.
 

Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,630
4,197
Colorado, USA
Helpful but insufficient especially with the timeframe we're working with since most boomers were content to ignore the problem almost entirely.

Sometimes the government does have to pick 'favorites'. That's why they funded actual vaccines for COVID instead of homeopathic nonsense. That's why they need to fund EV charging stations for apartments.
You do understand that they can "pick favorites" by simply cutting the subsidies for the entities they picked to win previously that are in direct competition with the entity they want to win now, right? I don't understand why you're turning this into some sort of an argument because I want reduced spending and think that we can STILL have the government help the acceleration to sustainable energy by simply NOT subsidizing oil and gas industries. It's a simple balance sheet equation and the fallacy is that we must be dumping even more money in the system to solve anything. No, we can actually CUT spending and achieve the same goal but most Americans are perfectly content talking about where we should introduce even more spending even though our country is producing zero at this point. If the ref keeps spotting a team points, and you want the other team to win... there are TWO solutions. Some seem to think the only way to balance the equation is to have another ref give more points to the opposing team. Why not just drop all points spotting and let them play the game as a solution? Why does it HAVE to cost more money to benefit a cause?

This is WAY off topic at this point. None of this is if the grid has the capacity to handle the amount of EVs that are going to depend on it.
 
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nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
8,338
11,374
United States
I want reduced spending and think that we can STILL have the government help the acceleration to sustainable energy by simply NOT subsidizing oil and gas industries.

The lack of a carbon tax is also a YUUUGE subsidy and that doesn't seem possible anytime soon. Do you want to invest Billions in carbon abatement or TRILLIONS in damage done by the carbon? The government is going to pay either way. I would rather it be in subsidies for EVs and renewables than in more firefighting, drought and flood damage.

It's similar to what a lot states are doing with vaccines. Sad Fact: Most people are morons... Sad Fact: You have to bribe them into doing the right thing. So.... NM is paying people $100 to get vaccinated because that's cheaper than the cost of all the ICU stays that will be avoided.

The government will save money in the long run by reducing the use of fools fuel ASAP.
 
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Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,630
4,197
Colorado, USA
The lack of a carbon tax is also a YUUUGE subsidy and that doesn't seem possible anytime soon. Do you want to invest Billions in carbon abatement or TRILLIONS in damage done by the carbon? The government is going to pay either way. I would rather it be in subsidies for EVs and renewables than in more firefighting, drought and flood damage.

It's similar to what a lot states are doing with vaccines. Sad Fact: Most people are morons... Sad Fact: You have to bribe them into doing the right thing. So.... NM is paying people $100 to get vaccinated because that's cheaper than the cost of all the ICU stays that will be avoided.

The government will save money in the long run by reducing the use of fools fuel ASAP.
So I challenge your stance on more taxes (even though we want the same outcome) & your retort is to bring up even more taxes. This conversation isn't going to go anywhere.
 

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