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Can the American power grid sustain EV adoption?

nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
8,466
11,667
United States
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.

If people are throwing their trash in the street and you mandate garbage service to avoid that..... is that a tax or are you just removing a subsidy where they were able to externalize a cost?

Call it a carbon service instead of a carbon tax if you want then.... if someone puts 10 tons of carbon in the air they need to pay to have it removed.
 

Ostrichsak

Active Member
Sep 6, 2018
3,695
4,279
Colorado, USA
If people are throwing their trash in the street and you mandate garbage service to avoid that..... is that a tax or are you just removing a subsidy where they were able to externalize a cost?

Call it a carbon service instead of a carbon tax if you want then.... if someone puts 10 tons of carbon in the air they need to pay to have it removed.
Your analogy isn't even remotely close to what I'm saying. In your scenario, is there a tax subsidy rewarding people to dump their trash in the street you can roll back? Seems like a pretty silly comparison.

We subsidize fuel, oil & the manufacturers who produce items that use them. Stopping that if you are against them is step one. How 'bout we start there?

Spending even more tax payer money to counteract misspent tax payer money isn't solving a damn other than guaranteeing higher taxes & more government dependency.
 

nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
8,466
11,667
United States
We subsidize fuel, oil & the manufacturers who produce items that use them. Stopping that if you are against them is step one. How 'bout we start there?

.... for the same reason we're never going to get a fee for carbon service. It's a political non-starter. The only viable option is to bribe people to do the right thing.
 

CrazyRabbit

Member
Apr 21, 2020
447
154
Fort Worth TX
actually, I'd like to see a law that forces landlords to install chargers (and they get 100% reimbursed by tax refunds or such, so its no cost to them) if the tenants request it, even if just one requests it.

I live in an apartment and I've asked the LL, and its basically like bambi in headlights; total stare back at me when I ask about getting chargers or even plugs installed. they couldn't care less. there is nothing to force them and if they have no 'vision' they wont put any time toward it.

right smack in the dead middle of silly valley; and my LL wont install chargers. there are teslas all over this complex, too. and when we still WENT to work, most of us did have l2 charging at work and life was good back in the old days... but for the last year and a half, few of us have been AT work and so we lose the benefit of at-work charging. I've had to use ONLY sc'ing and I hate doing that, but I have no other options.

the grid is fine. its people that are broken. (well, in texas, its both, but that's for another thread, lol)
tax pays should not pay for level two chargers to be installed. fix is easy, right now only power companies can bill for power usage. so pass a bill allowing for car chargers to bill based on usage... then chargers will start appearing all over.

side note or should i say back on topic. grid can't handle 100 conversion to all electric right now. i see battery/hydrogen (or some similar "fuel") fuel cell powered vehicles as the future. we need a way to store up to a weeks worth of fuel to keep the grid reliable, you can't do that with batteries... look at texas with 40GW of installed wind generation, we had rolling blackouts last winter. we had two days without any wind (and correctly forecasted to be zero), power from wind was going to be zero any way you look at it, freezing or no freezing.
 
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nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
8,466
11,667
United States
grid can't handle 100 conversion to all electric right now.

... if all ICE was magic'd into an EV literally 'right now' there might be a few small problems depending on how well charging sessions are manages but if we convert to ~100% electric over a few years that's more than enough time. The main constraints are local transmission and that's not too difficult to upgrade given several months to do it.

And for the ~100th time... the issue in Texas was that their gas turbines failed to meet their sole purpose in life. Had the turbines and their fuel source been winterized it would have been fine. Texas can merrily keep building out wind to reduce how many GWh of gas they use and keep adding GW of reliable gas turbines so the lights stay on even as the use of those turbines falls...
 

CSFTN

Member
Aug 24, 2014
953
551
Memphis, TN
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.
Curious about this. My knowledge is limited to my experience, when paying attention. At my previous home there were 4 houses per pole mounted transformer. At my current there's 2 houses per ground mounted transformer. Is 10 truly typical? (in neither case do I know the power level of these transformers)
 

tij664

Member
May 8, 2017
409
556
Turlock, CA
Curious about this. My knowledge is limited to my experience, when paying attention. At my previous home there were 4 houses per pole mounted transformer. At my current there's 2 houses per ground mounted transformer. Is 10 truly typical? (in neither case do I know the power level of these transformers)
That could be the case for homes that are in less dense areas or even in rural areas where they may underground newer services (meaning the primary connection comes off a pole and goes underground to a pad or subsurface mounted transformer located closer to the houses). Depending on the size and age of those homes, those 4 houses on a pole mounted transformer you mention are probably served by a 25 or 50 kVA transformer. In areas (at least in the west) where there's newer more modest sized tract homes (1k-3k SF size with 200 A panel and maybe 3500 SF lot) it is typical to have 10 houses on a 75 or 100 kVA subsurface or pad mount transfomer.
 

Big Earl

bnkwupt
Supporting Member
Jul 12, 2017
6,088
11,630
Springfield, VA
In our 1950s neighborhood, 7 houses share a 50 kVA. No problem now since most people have gas heat and hot water, but adding EVs and heat pumps to the mix will require more and/or larger transformers.

No big deal in my part of the neighborhood where the 3 phase lines (only using one phase) are still on the poles, but they recently buried the lines in the culdesacs behind us *without* upsizing things, making future upgrades more expensive.

At our family’s lakeside cottage in southern Michigan, six houses share a 25 kVA, which is crazy.
 

GSP

Member
Supporting Member
Dec 28, 2007
2,577
832
At our family’s lakeside cottage in southern Michigan, six houses share a 25 kVA, which is crazy.

At our family vacation cottage there must be 15-20 homes on a single 25 kVA pole-mounted transformer! When I tried to upgrade our 100 A service to 200 A, the utility said only if I buy them a new transformer, and new wires for their side of the meter. I elected to stay with my 100 A service, and set up my Tesla wall connector with a 50 A circuit (40 A max charge rate). I used delayed charging starting after midnight, and only use 32 A instead of the full 40 A available. I don’t want to be the cause of a village power outage!

I think the takeaway is that utilities will have to upgrade transformers when EV adoption gets high in a given neighborhood. However, managed charging can delay the need for quite some time.
 

nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
8,466
11,667
United States
At our family vacation cottage there must be 15-20 homes on a single 25 kVA pole-mounted transformer! When I tried to upgrade our 100 A service to 200 A, the utility said only if I buy them a new transformer, and new wires for their side of the meter. I elected to stay with my 100 A service, and set up my Tesla wall connector with a 50 A circuit (40 A max charge rate). I used delayed charging starting after midnight, and only use 32 A instead of the full 40 A available. I don’t want to be the cause of a village power outage!

I think the takeaway is that utilities will have to upgrade transformers when EV adoption gets high in a given neighborhood. However, managed charging can delay the need for quite some time.

Another fact to keep in mind is that a 25kVA transformer isn't actually limited to 25kVA. I'm not entirely sure what the 'limit' is but I think it's probably based on ambient temperature. I did find a fuse chart that shows a 10A fuse on the 7.2kV side of a single phase 25kVA transformer. So you could push ~72kVA through without blowing the fuse.

I remember charging at a RV park with 4 50A spots that was fed from a single 10kVA transformer. A single spot would push that 'limit' charging from a 14-50. Xcel also installed a 25kVA transformer at the Roswell GFM charging station. I've shared that spot with another Tesla pulling >30kVA combined with no issues other than a little voltage drop.
 

ThomasD

Active Member
Nov 22, 2019
1,261
629
Breckenridge Co Ky
Would Farms need to setup their own mini grids to charge their Farm equipment? I see large Farm tractors, Sprayers Combines and Threshers almost every day. What kind of power grid setup would be needed for Farmers to keep all of their Farm equipment charged up?
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Big Earl

bnkwupt
Supporting Member
Jul 12, 2017
6,088
11,630
Springfield, VA
Would Farms need to setup their own mini grids to charge their Farm equipment? I see large Farm tractors, Sprayers Combines and Threshers almost every day. What kind of power grid setup would be needed for Farmers to keep all of their Farm equipment charged up?
img.axd

6167d05da0f89d1ad9042090.jpg

11342710613_W_S.jpg

maxresdefault.jpg

Getting battery packs large enough to support farm work is going to be a challenge.

Back of napkin math:

Combines can range from 12 - 22 gallons per hour depending on size and crop moisture. 1 gallon of diesel fuel is the equivalent of about 40 kWh of electricity, although the diesel engine is only has about 30% thermal efficiency; with that in mind, you're looking at roughly 144 - 264 kWh per hour. You'd need a 1 to 2 MWh pack for a full day of continuous work. To recharge that overnight (12 hours), you'd need a pretty beefy connection - something in the range of a 150 kW DC fast charger. Most large farms have 480 volt three phase power, so that DC fast charger would require 200 amps.
 
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nwdiver

Well-Known Member
Feb 17, 2013
8,466
11,667
United States
Getting battery packs large enough to support farm work is going to be a challenge.

Back of napkin math:

Combines can range from 12 - 22 gallons per hour depending on size and crop moisture. 1 gallon of diesel fuel is the equivalent of about 40 kWh of electricity, although the diesel engine is only has about 30% thermal efficiency; with that in mind, you're looking at roughly 144 - 264 kWh per hour. You'd need a 1 to 2 MWh pack for a full day of continuous work. To recharge that overnight (12 hours), you'd need a pretty beefy connection - something in the range of a 150 kW DC fast charger. Most large farms have 480 volt three phase power, so that DC fast charger would require 200 amps.

I bet it wouldn't be too hard to set up some kind of cantilever system to deliver power. Most fields already have a center-pivot for irrigation. Providing an overhead power source wouldn't be that much different.
 

Big Earl

bnkwupt
Supporting Member
Jul 12, 2017
6,088
11,630
Springfield, VA
I bet it wouldn't be too hard to set up some kind of cantilever system to deliver power. Most fields already have a center-pivot for irrigation. Providing an overhead power source wouldn't be that much different.

That's an intriguing idea and would allow you to leverage solar production during the day rather than the grid mix at night. 300 kW of solar requires about a half acre of land (~2000 square meters). You'd likely need some sort of hybrid setup, with a tethered/catenary connection to the solar/grid plus a modest (400 kWh?) on-board battery pack on the machine itself.

Such a setup would allow for equipment electrification with minimal changes to the grid. The idea behind the battery pack would be to allow machine use on battery power during the shoulder periods of the day when you don't get full solar production. As long as you have enough solar, you can recharge the battery during the peak of the day while running the equipment from solar, in preparation to run from the battery again in the late afternoon. Battery requirements would vary by latitude.

This all seems incredibly expensive. I suspect there is/will be a stronger value proposition in electrifying things other than diesel farm equipment for some time to come.
 

mociaf9

Active Member
Oct 18, 2018
2,927
6,071
CA
Would Farms need to setup their own mini grids to charge their Farm equipment? I see large Farm tractors, Sprayers Combines and Threshers almost every day. What kind of power grid setup would be needed for Farmers to keep all of their Farm equipment charged up?
Getting battery packs large enough to support farm work is going to be a challenge.

Back of napkin math:

Combines can range from 12 - 22 gallons per hour depending on size and crop moisture. 1 gallon of diesel fuel is the equivalent of about 40 kWh of electricity, although the diesel engine is only has about 30% thermal efficiency; with that in mind, you're looking at roughly 144 - 264 kWh per hour. You'd need a 1 to 2 MWh pack for a full day of continuous work. To recharge that overnight (12 hours), you'd need a pretty beefy connection - something in the range of a 150 kW DC fast charger. Most large farms have 480 volt three phase power, so that DC fast charger would require 200 amps.
Such heavy duty farm equipment is one of the decent use cases for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles instead of BEVs. Farms can even run their own electrolyzer to generate the hydrogen on-site, so the fact that the wider vehicle market isn't going to switch to HFCVs isn't so much of an issue as they don't need to rely on hydrogen delivery infrastructure being built out.
 

cpa

Active Member
May 17, 2014
3,267
4,458
Central Valley
Getting battery packs large enough to support farm work is going to be a challenge.

Back of napkin math:

Combines can range from 12 - 22 gallons per hour depending on size and crop moisture. 1 gallon of diesel fuel is the equivalent of about 40 kWh of electricity, although the diesel engine is only has about 30% thermal efficiency; with that in mind, you're looking at roughly 144 - 264 kWh per hour. You'd need a 1 to 2 MWh pack for a full day of continuous work. To recharge that overnight (12 hours), you'd need a pretty beefy connection - something in the range of a 150 kW DC fast charger. Most large farms have 480 volt three phase power, so that DC fast charger would require 200 amps.

C'mon guys. We're talking farmers here. Republican red, dyed in the wool conservative people who don't cotton to other folks telling them what they can and cannot do.

Really? Farmers (especially midwestern farmers) embracing battery electric technology? Those same people who refuse to receive vaccines because, well, reasons, yet will vaccinate their livestock? 😵💫

I'm sorry. Even my [somewhat] progressive ag clients here in California will never switch to battery electric unless the cost is so attractive that they will take a chance. I just don't see the farmers in the Great Plains and east of the Mississippi having any desire to change.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
7,035
8,646
Boise, ID
@cpa Yeah, I've seen this about a month ago. There was an article about some kind of potential electric farm equipment--no specs on it yet.
And there was a farmer in the comments adamantly insisting that it was totally unworkable, impossible, could never at any point forevermore in the future, be usable in ANY way. I replied just with the uncertainty perspective, pointing out that he didn't even know what the capabilities were. He angrily answered back, challenging me and demanding why I was trying to forcibly tell him it would work? I had to correct his false accusation, saying that I was not saying it WOULD work--just that we didn't know yet, because they haven't announced the capabilities. Don't we need to learn what a piece of equipment can do before finding out if it will serve the purpose or not to make a decision? He didn't like that answer at all and continued ranting about how nothing could ever be capable enough to replace diesel equipment.
 
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dipper

Member
Nov 4, 2017
333
243
92129
Even with Europe planning for EV conversion, they are still short of power for this winter.

I can see the "fun" with US Government planning to go full EV.
 

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