Hell Freezes over, JVH and Tony Agree

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Hell Freezes over, JVH and Tony Agree

Our buddy, Tony Jordan is weighing in on EV Charging as Public Policy. You can read the article from Streetsblog over on Parknews.biz. The problem is that the President has proposed spending billions if not more to install half a million EV charging stations across the fruited plain but hasn’t really defined how the money will be divided between private homes and public spaces.

There are, it seems, three types of chargers ranging from trickle charging that usually comes with the vehicle, Type II chargers that cost two to three grand and can fully charge a vehicle in 4 to 6 hours, and the type three units that cost over 10K, can cost up to fifty thousand to install, and can charge in half an hour. Trickle chargers can take up to four days to fully charge a Tesla.

Then there is the issue of where to place the chargers. Putting them in apartments seems reasonable, but the whole idea of apartments, particularly those built near transit, is to move people out of their cars and onto public transport. Plus, many who live in apartments can’t afford pricy EVs.

So you end up with a situation where those who really don’t need the subsidy (the rich) who can afford pricy EVs get the money, and those less fortunate, as usual get the shaft. Tony would like chargers placed in existing garages, where he admits they are more difficult to install, and on streets where anyone can have access. Of course these should be powered with solar power, he says, which can be sold back to the electric grid when its not being used.

The type two charger, attractive to garages because of the lower cost, takes considerable time to charge vehicles, means more chargers would be required.

So you can see that Tony is right. Public policy decisions will have to be made as to where, how many, and which type of chargers will be installed. I’m sure our woke friends will go nuts when they find that the only reasonable thing to do is install chargers where EVs are, mostly in affluent neighborhoods, leaving the rest of us without access to power for our nonexistent vehicles.

Of course, not one word has been said in all these discussions about just where the power is coming from (except Tony’s solar solution, which doesn’t work too well at night, or on cloudy days). It has been predicted by many, Elon Musk among this group, that powering an entire fleet of electric vehicles will take a complete reworking of our electric grid. The cost of which is unfathomable.

Automakers have committed to stop production of gas powered vehicles within the next 13 years. The expectation that the 2 percent of folks who buy EVs now will become 100 percent fairly soon.

Oh wait. Autonomous vehicles are on the horizon. Depending on who you ask, that horizon is 10 to 30 years away. One of the benefits of AVs is that they can replace uber and Lyft and make personal car ownership a thing of the past. If so, will charging stations for non owned EVs be in the same place as those placed in the ownership mode we have today.

Yep – Tony hit one out of the park this time. Public policy needs to be thought through, with guys like Tony, and those with knowledge of just how these chargers will be powered, the manufacturers, owners of parking facilities, utilities, apartment owners, and homeowners, all involved in the planning to spend the trillions the President wants to spend. Good luck with that.

JVH

John Van Horn

John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. There is a lot of misinformation and spin in that article. 4 to 5 days to charge a Tesla, even at level 1 is an anomaly ….maybe coming home after a 400 mile trip and then charging in a utility brownout? Tesla claims a 400 plus mile range. The widely accepted charge rate of “trickle chargers” is 2 to 4 miles per hour, so it can take up to 20 hours to fully charge a Tesla, not 4 to 5 days! Further they cherry picked the bottom range in that article. And does anyone drive 400 miles every day? Do you fill up your gas tank everyday? Then yes, you might not get fully charged overnight at home. But it is silly to imply that is the normal experience of ownership. The average commute in the US is under 20 miles one-way. When you can top up while at work, shopping and out for dinner, you need that much less charge at home that night. Tesla’s own website says it takes 6 to 10 hours to recharge at home at Level 1.

    Out of the park? Maybe way off base trying to steal instead?

    Do remember that only Teslas can use Tesla chargers, and they are subsidizing putting in their chargers in a lot of places. In my opinion the industry needs to be installing generic chargers, not Tesla chargers especially given the electrification planned by all car manufacturers.

    Another piece of misinformation: There is no level 3 charger, YET, according to the Society of Automotive Engineers. The one cited as Level 3 in the article is a Level 2 DC charger that does a full charge of a nearly depleted battery in about 35 minutes. Those are only needed on highways for long trips as well as for fleets (like an uber home base.) The amount of power drawn to do fast charging is a big load for your parking deck’s electrical system and on the grid if you are charging a lot of say employee vehicles at 8:30 am, when they will sit there the rest of the day. (Yea, solar is going to do that?) Do you make every employee run out and move their car when it is charged so another employee can run out to move a car into the stall, so you don’t need 10x the number of $50k chargers? I suppose the idea that it takes more level 2 chargers for the same number of cars assumes the EV cars will all be AV and can be told to go park somewhere else when charged. But how about in the decade(s) until the cars can do that? By then there may be other charging means anyway, like the robots that go car to car. Ditto short term parking. Who drives over 200 miles to a grocery store or a restaurant? If they do, they will likely pass a supercharger location on the highway and can do it there!

    In sum, nearly all the parkers at destinations will only need topping off, and will only need to be charging for an hour or two at level 2. And nearly all apartment parking only needs Level 2. What the parking industry desperately needs is power management, so that you spread out the power draw over the time the vehicle is parked, especially in light of the growing trend of cities wanting 20% or 30% of the parking spaces to be ready for EV Charging. A couple of vendors are putting power management into dual head chargers, so the device never charges more than one of the two cars at a time, but when we eventually get to needing to charge 30% of the cars parked, we can’t be doing all of them, or even half of them in the first hour the car is parked!

    The other factor is that it is going to take a long time for EVs to be a significant presence on the road. Most projections are only for % sales, not on the road, but NY Times recently projected that even if EVs are 100% of sales in 2035, they still won’t be 100% on the road by 2050. By 2030, the battery range may be much longer and there may be other ways of charging than fixed charge stations. So while there is certainly merit in the argument that we need chargers in parking to reduce range anxiety and in turn sell EVs and reduce carbon emissions, the impact on parking will actually grow pretty slowly over time.

    And a final note: The bias in the article is clearly to 90% reduction in parking due to Shared Autonomous Electric Vehicles (SAEV); anyone who still believes that is possible much less likely today is smoking something (legally or not). Yes those hardcore believers are still out there; streetlight data recently had another article on a simulation where it was possible for SAEVs to replace 91% of cars, if everyone, urban and rural, only uses SAEVs (note that is pool rides) and transit. It does have an interesting look at the impact on grid and charging stations for various penetration levels of SAEVs. Even at the height of the irrational exuberance about SAEVs in 2016-7, McKinsey projected that SAEVs would only be 10% of cars sold by 2030. It is only more clear, post pandemic, and with the difficulties getting the last 10 to 20% of AV tech/programming to work, that SAEVs are not going to come near to reducing parking demand by 90%. And again, it is going to be a long slow transition all the way around.

  2. I can change the title, Mary and JVH agree, Hell Freezes over.
    Yes, Mary, its a slanted blog as most are from streetsblog. As usual, you are backing up your comments with facts. Thanks
    But I must say that My agreement with Tony is that we need a few years of discussion and deep diving on this topic, not a knee jerk article like the one we posted.
    Way to go, Mary, and thanks

    JVH

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