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How Much EV Infrastructure Is Necessary? - Quiz

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by DavidM, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. DavidM

    DavidM P2624, Delivered

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    I came up with an awesome question to ask people whenever I hear them saying the charging infrastructure is inadequate. You can do this too. Tell them you want to ask them an important question, but you want them to think before answering quickly.
    "If you were able to refuel your gas powered car at home, in your garage, how often would you use a public gas station for refueling, and would you really need for there to be a gas station on every street corner?"

    I've found that people who really think about the question surprise themselves and reply by saying that they would only need to use a public gas station several times a YEAR! I follow up by reminding people that 95% of all EV refueling today happens at home in your garage. Then I ask folks if an EV could serve them well as a second vehicle in their household? Many say YES, if it was affordable. Interesting.
     
  2. tdelta1000

    tdelta1000 Active Member

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    Great question!!! It forces them to rethink their position on ICE and EVs.
     
  3. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Agreed, a great question. The problem is perception. As long as EVs can only be counted upon to go sixty miles, like the Leaf, or have to have an expensive gas engine, like the Volt, the perception will be that either I'll run out of charge if I have to do more than go to work and back or I'll have to pay for both the gas and the electric maintenance which will make it just too expensive and too troublesome. Once the perception changes and most EVs get 250-400 miles wide spread adoption will take place very rapidly.
     
  4. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    I think everyone who keeps asking for a 250 - 400 mile "affordable" EV is looking for the wrong thing ( when affordable is in the $30k to $40k range )
    A 75 mile range EV that cost $12,000 would be far more revolutionary.
    Cars in that class could serve as the 2nd car for most 2 car families, and the only car for some - which would be over 50% of the new car market.
    With a charge plug at every workplace, apartment complex, strip mall, and fast charging along every major route, your range easily doubles for the one time per year you need it.
    They need a lot of plugs, but the good news is vanilla 110v charges them overnight.
     
  5. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    If EVs are going to replace ICE cars, they have to be as good or better than ICE cars. If 250 to 400 miles is what my ICE car will do, I expect an EV to do the same--otherwise it fails the as good as test. Driving to work and back is 50 miles. What if I wanted to go someplace after work--that's easily another 25 to 50 miles. This is a no-brainer in an ICE car, I couldn't do it in a 75 mile car.

    Assuming that it got 75 miles in the worst situation. Not 75 miles marketing 40 miles in real life.

    Agreed, but how many families have a new car as a second car? Aren't most second cars the car they didn't trade in when they purchased a new car?

    Unless the government mandates this, it's just not going to happen. Today most U.S. employers begrudge even having employees (unless they're in China or India), they sure as heck aren't going to give them any perks.

    I travel more than 150 miles one way on any vacation I've ever taken. Doubling the range of the 75 mile car isn't going to cut it. EVs must be able to compete with ICE cars. So far the Model S with the 85 kWh pack is the only EV that can do that. Anything else is a limited use car. Sure, a limited use car will be fine for some people, but that's not the goal. The goal is to have most people driving an EV.
     
  6. smorgasbord

    smorgasbord Active Member

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    This is precisely why DavidM's logic is so good. It's not about any individual metric whether range, or how long it takes to fill, etc.: it's about what set of parameters make the car practical for your use.
     
  7. ckessel

    ckessel Active Member

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    I have a similar question I use:

    Pretend you had a tiny gas station at home, it fills at drip speed so it'd pump about gallon an hour, but it only costs you 40 cents/gallon. However, you have to choose to only use that or use a normal gas pump when you buy your car. Which would you choose?

    So far most folks picked 40 cents/gallon and even those that don't stop and think about that for a bit. Now, that's a sound bite so it leaves out important factors like the extra cost of a battery on the negative side and the rising EV charging infrastructure on the plus side, but it seems to be a good way to get them to start thinking about the value they really put on "endless range due to 5 minutes at a gas station".
     
  8. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    +1 Agreed.
     
  9. daniel

    daniel Active Member

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    You seem to be saying that an EV must equal or surpass an ICE car in every parameter. Or else you are saying that range is the only parameter that matters to you. In the marketplace, for an EV to sell, it must be a better choice overall, for some buyers, than the alternatives.

    This is just semantics. Every car starts as a new car. Some people only buy used cars, and some only buy new cars. A family's "second car" is whichever car they regard as less important. Right now, my Prius is my second car because I drive it only when the Roadster will not serve.

    Most multi-car families do not need every car to be a long-distance car. If one of their cars can make the vacation trips, other cars can be chosen based on other criteria.

    Based purely on range, nobody would buy an EV. Yet many people have. Based purely on lifetime cost of ownership, nobody would buy a Model S or a BMW or Ferrari or Tesla Roadster. But people do. A 5-year-old Honda Civic will cost less. But people want more from cars than merely the cheapest transportation, and plenty of people own cars that they never take on vacation.

    An EV to be successful must offer value, and much of what goes into that equation relates strongly to individual preferences, needs, and driving patterns. An EV is an excellent fit as the commuter car in a multi-car family. I bought my Roadster because I like driving electric, and I'd venture to guess that many, if not most, Model S reservation-holders are buying the S for the same reason. Some people recognize the economic, environmental, and national-security disaster caused by the burning of gasoline, and choose to take steps to reduce their own use of it, even in the face of some trade-offs, such as maybe having to switch cars between family members based on the drive each is planning on a given day. So instead of "This is my car and that is her car," the paradigm becomes "These are our cars. Which do I need today and which does she need today?" and "This is the car we use for city driving, and that is the car we take on vacations."

    Any EV can be a perfect fit for certain people as their city car, depending on their driving patterns. So, depending on what matters to an individual, which parameters are most important to her or him, EVs today are indeed better than ICE cars, for some people, for certain spots within their car-owning plan.

    It will be a very, very long time before EVs replace all ICE cars on the road. That would probably require $100/gallon gas or laws against the use of gas cars. And it will require many more EVs to be built.
     
  10. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Of course, this is somewhat subjective because different folks have different thoughts on what's the most important, but the goal should be to equal or surpass an ICE car in every parameter. The closer an EV can come to this goal the fewer (valid) objections there will be to EVs. Range certainly isn't the only parameter, there is also TCO, environmental factors, cool tech factors, reliability, low maintenance, performance, etc. But which topic comes up first or second when EVs are discussed?

    I disagree. Going out to purchase a new car to be used as a second car is quite a bit different than using the car you already have as a second car. "Hey, Honey, I'm going to spend $35,000+ to buy a second car, and we get to take our ten year old car on vacation next summer." doesn't sound like a winning proposition to me.

    I don't think anyone disagrees with this. My point was that often their second car used to be their primary car. Few people buy a new car to use as their secondary car. Exceptions are if a new driver comes into the family and doesn't have a car. Most people (or at least myself) purchase a new car to be a primary car.

    Of course.

    Again, that's certainly correct. We're not really that far apart but our focus is different. My assumption has been that Elon actually means it when he says that he wants to replace most gas cars with EVs. Having EVs as secondary cars isn't the way to do it. My intention for purchasing the Model S is to have it as the primary car. I'll put up with some inconvenience because I think it's the right way to go (and I already have a few arrows in my back--another couple of dozen won't make any difference). But that's me.
     
  11. DavidM

    DavidM P2624, Delivered

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    Great discussion here. I recently posted the following on another site:

    Elon Musk recently said (last month), that "if he wanted to make a sedan with a 500mi range, he could do it now."

    But from an affordability standpoint, it won't hit Tesla's target market. Thing is - I don't think we need an EV with a 500 mile range - ever. That's about 9 hours of continuous driving. Most people only need to drive 9 hours per day, maybe several times in their entire life. Why pay a premium every day for a task you need to fulfill once every few years (on average)? The household that only has one car could rent an ICE for those occasions and come out far ahead.
     
  12. vfx

    vfx Well-Known Member

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    True, but it's not the point. Only when "500 miles" the answer to "How far does it go on a charge?" is when the naysayers shut up. Precisely because it is the most ridiculous number of miles they could drive in a day.

    As for price, It will come down. In 10 years a 500 mile car will be affordable and maybe the battery will be lightweight too.
     
  13. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    #13 Norbert, Jun 3, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
    I see two aspects in this:

    A) Most EV charging is done at home, and people will be surprised that "most", with a good-range EV, is actually almost all charging. So the demands on infrastructure are far *less*, in terms of quantity charged, than for an ICE.

    B) The range of EVs, in general, is smaller than the range of ICEs, so *more* charging locations, at the right point(s) without too much detour, are needed for the same trips, *once* the travel distance is further than the range.

    The question(s) above are great to highlight (A), but without the answer to (B), a real-life implemented infrastructure, they might surprise and silence the "opponent" for a while, but won't be fully satisfying. The discussion will soon come to the "but-what-about-longer-trips" phase. The good news is that a fast-charging infrastructure is much easier, and less expensive, to build, than for example a hydrogen infrastructure. Especially compared to the more than $400 billion which the US spends on gasoline *each year*. We'll soon know what Tesla's plans are.

    Since I'd hope to see (pure) EVs become a mainstream product relatively soon, and not just an additional option for those who want affordable torque for smoking Ferraris in the neighborhood, I'm not very fond of the idea to keep EVs limited to "second" cars. Unless it were necessary for technical reasons. Which it isn't (anymore). People would be asking: "It seems possible to build a fast-charging network, so why don't you? Something wrong?".

    Although there probably is a large potential market, far from being saturated, for short/medium-range EVs as "second" cars, this market is greatly reduced for as long as battery prices are as high as they are (even though TOC is better than one would expect). So, especially while battery prices are high, a fast-charging infrastructure is a relatively easy way to increase the market for EVs. Fast-charging is a way to get more range out of the same cost battery (although it works better with larger batteries).

    While for large ICE auto manufacturers, it may be quite convenient to put EVs on this side-track, for a company like Tesla it wouldn't make sense. Tesla needs to widen the appeal especially for as long as battery prices are high. And a fast charging network does that. Once such an infrastructure actually exists at some representative level, and users report that it works, it will help get the mainstream to start paying attention to what the EV guys are doing, and get the message across that something is happening there. Depending on how things work out, it may be the crucial step in getting the mainstream to acknowledge that all-electric cars are a technology worth our full support. It'll be the best form of marketing, too. Every article, positive or negative, about the future of the electric car, will have to discuss Tesla's SuperCharger network. ;)
     
  14. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I consider 600 to 700 miles about the right amount of driving for a day. Agreed that 500 miles is when the nay-sayers will shut up (or move on to some other aspect).
     
  15. daniel

    daniel Active Member

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    That's just not going to happen in the near term. For an EV to match the range of an ICE car at a comparable price point while maintaining a similar level of comfort and quality will require battery technology that is years away. Until then, EV adoption will be gradual. While such technology is being developed, we can push EVs to people who can make practical use now of the technology that's available now.


    I bought my Roadster to use as my primary car. I take my older, secondary car on my road-trip vacation. My secondary car is more comfortable for long trips. If I had a Model S it would be more comfortable than my Prius, but without the ability to obtain 250 miles of range in under 30 minutes, reliably, without waiting an hour for my turn at the charger, the Prius would still be more convenient for those road trips.

    The goal of making EVs match ICE cars in every parmeter is very far into the future. In the mean time, an EV can be the primary (commuter) car for many families, while the older, secondary, ICE car is the road-trip car.

    Again, Elon's goal is a long-term one. And the primary car is the one you drive every day. Replacing "most" ICE cars with EVs will not happen with a car that starts at $57,000 for the shortest-range model and costs $77,000 to get 300 ideal miles under ideal conditions at 55 mph. The EV that replaces "most" ICE cars will have to cost less than $30,000 and we are decades away from a $30K car that has 300 miles of range.

    My point is that the transition must be gradual. Promote the EVs we have now, for the uses where they work well now, to the people for whom they fit now, and as technology improves and gas becomes more expensive, more people will find them desirable. EVs will never match the range of ICE cars. But gas will reach a price when people can no longer afford the convenience of a five-minute fill-up.

    The hard-core gas-head naysayers will never be convinced, and will never shut up. But they will become irrelevant when a sufficient number of people understand the advantages of EVs and how best to fit them into their driving pattern.

    The likes of Jeremy Clarkson will never accept a car that does not produce a lot of noise, because that noise is an important part of the experience for them. It tells the world "I'm coming, and I'm bad." A quiet car for them is like a B-B gun at an NRA convention. But when gas is $25/gallon, the rest of the world will accept that making a lot of noise is just too expensive, and they'll accept the inconvenience of cars that need to be plugged in after 100 miles, or 300 miles, depending on what you can afford.

    EVs are coming, but the transition will be gradual, because manufacturing capacity will grow slowly, and people will replace their ICE cars only as they wear out, and charging infrastructure will grow gradually, and public perception and willingness to accept the new technology will change gradually. So again, we need to promote the EVs we have now for the uses where they make sense now, rather than focusing on the technology we expect to have in 20 years.

    Tesla understands this, which is why they started out with a niche car that only a tiny number of people could afford, and then a couple of high-end cars for the upper middle class, in the 50 to 80 thousand dollar class, and only in two or three years from now, a $30K car that will probably have 160 miles ideal range and still not be great for extended road trips, and only when technology has advanced leaps and bounds ahead of where it is, will there be an EV that matches the range of an ICE car at a similar price point. Elon is looking ahead 20 years in his plans for SpaceX, and he's looking ahead at least that far when he says he wants most cards to be electric.
     
  16. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    You are exceptional, most people do not do this.

    The same technology that enables a 300 mile range $30k EV likely would enable a 75 mile range $12k EV.
    Both of those cars would sell in huge volumes. I believe that the 75 mile range EV would be the bigger seller and have a greater impact.

    For EV infrastructure, I think we will always ( where always means the next 10 years ) need a two tiered strategy, and we should remember that they are separate.
    The first is to extend the range of short range commuter cars ( like the Leaf ) to make them practical for more people and for more of their driving.
    The second is to allow long distance driving of the more expensive ICE replacement cars ( like the Model S ).

    Tesla is the only manufacturer making what I think are "ICE replacement cars" - cars that could do 100% of the driving for 90% of the population, and 90% of the driving for 100% of the population.
    The Leaf ( and other 75 mile range EVs ) is probably more like a 100/50 car.
    We can debate those numbers, but the 100/50 car that is about one third the price of the 100/90 car is going to sell a lot more.
     
  17. daniel

    daniel Active Member

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    Even a 50/50 car would find a big market: 50% of the driving for 50% of the population. It would replace one of their ICE cars and they'd use whichever car was best for any particular trip. If only 5% of the population chose it, it would be a significant part of the overall solution. That's still a huge market. It could even be the second car for an all-electric family where the first car is a longer-range EV.
     
  18. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    #18 Norbert, Jun 4, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
    It doesn't seem to matter since that isn't possible yet. The Leaf doesn't make profit yet, and Ghosn seems to say that the first cost improvements (for example by producing in the US) will be used to increase Nissan's margin, not to reduce the price. The Model S might sell more in its first 12 months in the US, than the Leaf (of course we don't really know that yet). Partly because Tesla will be more willing to sell than Nissan.

    Agreed. For cars like the Leaf, fast-chargers in the vicinity of cities are more important ("the belt around London"), and to some degree even within larger cities, in larger quantities, than for the Model S.
     
  19. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    The transition will be gradual until it reaches a point where electric cars are considered equal to ICEs. At that point there will be a huge change in short time.

    The part which is 20 years away is a low battery price (which has a larger effect on cheaper cars), not infrastructure (except maybe in Spokane, WA). The more important part of an infrastructure, along both coasts, can be implemented in relatively short time (1 to 4 years).
     
  20. Norbert

    Norbert TSLA will win

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    That's not how I see Tesla selling the Model S, and I disagree with quite everything in the quote above.

    - It is as much about selling a concept for the future of electric cars, as it is about selling the car itself.
    - Fast-charging is a substantial selling point for the Model S, even if many Roadster fans are the ones who can do without it.
    - The Model S *is* selling now, the SuperCharger *is* selling now, and the current phase of opinion-forming (including next month when the SuperCharger announcement comes) is as important as any other.
    - It seems that fast-charging with the Model S *will* work very well, this year already. About one 40 min stop is not asking too much for a trip SF to LA, for example, as you'd probably stop for at least 25 min anyway. And certainly much easier than having an additional Prius, or renting. That's as much as most people need.
    - EVs may very well match the range of ICE's, they may even exceed it by multiples.
    - Don't wait for technology to improve, the Model S *is* that improvement.
    - Don't rely on gas prices alone, they are high in Europe already.
     

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