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Leaf is one of the most popular EVs  (Source: Nissan)

Some EV owners will get free home chargers
Charging will be free to start

The thing that is keeping most drivers from seriously considering an EV is range anxiety. Many drivers fear being stranded on the side of the road if their batteries run dead unexpectedly. Early reports of inaccurate range readings from some EV owners did nothing to help alleviate range worries of many people that might otherwise be interested in an EV.

Many larger cities are moving towards making EVs a more compelling option by installing a range of charging stations around the city. One of the latest cities to do so is Seattle, Washington. Seattle is the third largest EV market behind San Francisco and LA.

The first of the stations will be installed in public areas like the parking lot at Qwest Field. These are the first of 1,000 commercial chargers to be installed around the Puget Sound area by the end of 2011.

All of the chargers are being funded by the federal EV Project.

Half of those chargers will be installed in the homes of EV owners and the remainder will be public chargers. Washington is one of six states that are participating in the EV Project that will see 14,000 new chargers installed across the country.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGuinn said, "The need to drive and the demand for driving is going to remain, but we need to give people more efficient options and better options for clean energy. We'll do all we can to make sure Seattle is eco-ready."

Seattle will also be installing chargers along Interstate 5. The chargers in the Qwest Stadium parking lot take an hour to charge the batteries enough for 15-22 miles of driving. Other locations will get more powerful chargers that can supply enough juice for the same driving range in a 20-minute charge. The EV Project will cover the $3,000 price of the charger and most of the installation fees for all of the chargers around the country placed in driver homes.

8,300 chargers will be installed in nationwide in homes with the remainder of the 14,000 chargers going into public locations. Most of the chargers will be installed on the west coast. Charging at the stations to start with will initially be free. After the free period, the chargers will sell charge time for "a few dollars."

The federal government is also working with major technology firms like Google to expand the number of charging stations for EVs around the country. Google added the location of charging stations to Google Maps in April to help drivers find places to charge near them. While the EV industry and many other people hope the charging stations catch on and help lure drivers to EVs, a report published in February found that it was impossible to reach Obama's stated goal of getting a million EVs on the road by 2015.

As it is today, the most common EVs using the public charging stations are the Chevrolet Volt, Tesla Roadster, and the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf has had its share of problems so far with the latest issue being confirmed in April. The issue according to Nissan is that the Leaf will not start at times. The Volt isn't a pure EV it is an extended range electric vehicle. It has a gasoline engine to provide power when the batteries run out, but the Volt can plug into charging stations as well. GM recently announced that it was boosting Volt production to meet the demand.



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Efficiency
By Raiders12 on 6/14/2011 1:31:54 PM , Rating: 4
How about we focus on upgrading the grid to handle these new chargers and the increased loads? The government is so gung-ho about EV, but isn't thinking the strategy through at all. While we are at it, why not invest in clean coal and nuclear? Oops, I said nuclear, we know that's taboo now.
Plague the old American power grid, overload it, and see what happens.




RE: Efficiency
By ClownPuncher on 6/14/2011 1:42:49 PM , Rating: 3
True. But in this particular case, Seattle City Light and Puget Sound Energy sell excess energy to surrounding areas and states. We generate a huge amount of hydroelectric power, but unfortunately, not a whole lot of nuclear.


RE: Efficiency
By Flunk on 6/14/2011 1:50:24 PM , Rating: 5
Nothing will be done until it's a disaster. Let them bring on the chargers, it will force change.


RE: Efficiency
By AssBall on 6/15/2011 2:03:06 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
All of the chargers are being funded by the federal EV Project.


Sorry naive dude, it is everyone in the country bringing on the chargers. Get your own damn charger and I will go get my own damn gas.


RE: Efficiency
By AssBall on 6/15/2011 2:11:52 AM , Rating: 2
You know what, when the 50,000 people who have volts fork up the 5,000,000 in subsidies they owe the other 300,000,000 of us, I will support this.

(disclaimer) I made up all of those numbers.


RE: Efficiency
By superstition on 6/15/2011 8:06:12 PM , Rating: 2
It's $7500 per car plus $1800-2000 for the garage charger.

That's per car. These are the numbers I read recently.

So, we're talking about tax-payers paying big money so people can have these often very impractical electric cars.

Instead of cars like these that are already available:
http://forums.tdiclub.com/showthread.php?t=319185


RE: Efficiency
By Reclaimer77 on 6/14/2011 3:08:00 PM , Rating: 4
I don't think it's going to happen because EV vehicles in America simply aren't going to see massive market saturation. The sales might top 20k units annually in a country that has over 400+ million registered vehicles. That's not going to kill the grid.


RE: Efficiency
By cjohnson2136 on 6/14/2011 3:22:35 PM , Rating: 2
I'd agree maybe in the future we will have a huge population of EV cars but by then something else would have already killed our grid.


RE: Efficiency
By Reclaimer77 on 6/14/2011 6:29:32 PM , Rating: 2
Plus for some reason it's the popular thing for people to vastly overstate the condition of our grid. Almost as if it's suddenly set to fall apart just because Obama and the Dummycrats want to socialize this countries energy production. Like I'm so sure a few thousand electric cars or plug in hybrids are going to cause rolling brownouts or something.


RE: Efficiency
By BobMurray999 on 6/15/2011 1:26:07 AM , Rating: 1
I have a new Nissan LEAF I picked up March 21st. I now have almost 3,000 miles on it. I average 4.2 miles per Kilowatt hour. At the 10.35 cents per KWH charged by my utility (PSE), I am paying about 2.5 cents per mile for electricity. A full charge is about 25 kilowatt hours or $2.50 (yes, that is two dollars and fifty cents). My car and charger both have a timer so I recharge at night. I have a 220 Volt 40 Amp charger in my garage and it takes about 5 hours to get a full charge. 110 volt 15 Amp charge takes 20 hours. I also have the 440 Volt 60 Amp Hot Charge option ehich gives you an 80% charge in 20 minutes. However, I do not know if there are any of those aroud Seattle. I think the impact on the grid will be manageable. Getting thousands of Tanker trucks off the roads will be a great benefit.


RE: Efficiency
By Dr of crap on 6/15/2011 8:53:10 AM , Rating: 2
Thousands of tanker trucks, becuase of a FEW leafs and Volts!!

I don't think you even manage 10 tanker trucks. Do you really think there is enough money out there to buy these expensive toys?

And yes I think they are toys right now! Made for the ones that have extra money, so that they can buy them and show them off.

None for me thanks. I can't afford them.


RE: Efficiency
By Solandri on 6/15/2011 5:12:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A full charge is about 25 kilowatt hours or $2.50 (yes, that is two dollars and fifty cents). My car and charger both have a timer so I recharge at night. I have a 220 Volt 40 Amp charger in my garage and it takes about 5 hours to get a full charge. 110 volt 15 Amp charge takes 20 hours.

While I appreciate you posting real-world data, you're not paying $2.50 for a full charge. You're ignoring charging efficiency losses. That's kinda like considering only the fraction of the gasoline's energy which is used to move the car, and ignoring the rest that's turned into waste heat. If we evaluated ICE cars the way you're evaluating your EV, the ICE cars would be getting 100-200 mpg.

Most well-designed AC battery chargers have power factors of nearly 1.0. So if you're charging for 5 hours at 220 V and 40 A, that's 220*40*5*1.0 = 44,000 = 44 kWh. You're paying $4.55 for a full charge, and your charger's efficiency is only 57% (only 57% of the electricity is stored, 43% of it is converted into waste heat).

The slower charger is, as expected, more efficient. 110 V * 15 A * 20 hours * 1.0 power factor = 33 kWh, for a 76% charging efficiency. All this is still better than an ICE on a $ per mile basis, but you do have to be careful not to mistakenly overestimate the EV's performance. I'd been hoping they were able to get charging efficiency on the quick charger close to 80%, but I see now that it's far off the mark.

(Ideally you could hook up a Kill-o-Watt meter to your charger to see what its real power factor is. But I'm not sure they make one which can handle 220 V 40 A.)


RE: Efficiency
By Keeir on 6/16/2011 5:00:02 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry Solandri,

Your making a very critically wrong assumption:

The charger is working at maximum capacity 100% of the time.

This is simply not the way the vast majority of Lithium Battery items charge.

Motortrend recently killed thier Leaf and then charged it back to full. It took ~25 kWh. A quick google search is showing me values from 24-26 kWh for a "full charge".

The OP was fairly correct in his estimate. (Also consider that a Leaf's Battery will only accept ~20-21 kWh after efficieny lose and you see that even at 25 kWh, we are talking ~70% efficieny)


RE: Efficiency
By Curt4Computers on 6/15/2011 3:30:50 PM , Rating: 2
That would be VERY difficult, considering "clean coal" is just an advertising slogan of the coal industry. "Clean coal" technology is nonexistant at this time.
On the other hand, nuclear IS viable now, and even more exciting nuclear technologies are quite far along in development. The problem there is time to market. We need to start now if we want any benefit within 15-20 YEARS!
Since both are pretty much antiquated, wouldn't it be best to invest in technologies that are clearly the future of energy? Say, solar, wind, geothermal, tidal, etc.?


Nope
By Dr of crap on 6/14/2011 1:54:12 PM , Rating: 4
While this may be true -
"The thing that is keeping most drivers from seriously considering an EV is range anxiety. Many drivers fear being stranded on the side of the road if their batteries run dead unexpectedly."

The thing that is keeping most from EV's isn't running out of battery power - it's cost.
EV's cost too much.

And what is with adding chargers along a freeway. Will people pull over for 20 plus minutes of recharging on the way home??? Yea that'll go over big when YOU need a charge and they are all being used.




RE: Nope
By Schrag4 on 6/14/2011 2:18:09 PM , Rating: 2
If you truly are stranded (meaning the car is out of juice and won't move), will you be able to bring some small battery to your car to get it 5 or 10 miles down the road to a charger? I know, I know, this should never happen. Responsible drivers don't let their fuel run out. Not everyone on the road is a responsible driver though...


RE: Nope
By kattanna on 6/14/2011 4:00:55 PM , Rating: 2
no, what you will do is to carry in the trunk a gas powered generator to recharge your car

:>)


RE: Nope
By Souka on 6/14/2011 6:11:16 PM , Rating: 2
I'll just tow a gas powered generator and a 50gal barrel of fuel behind my EV.
When battery gets below %25 I'll fire it up to keep driving and charge my batteries.

I'll even setup a timer...so the generator can keep charging my batts after I've parked.

Makes perfect sense.

:)


RE: Nope
By kattanna on 6/15/2011 10:48:21 AM , Rating: 2
LOL!!

i'd love to see that driving down the road one day


RE: Nope
By Solandri on 6/14/2011 6:00:23 PM , Rating: 2
Technically, the Leaf has a built-in reserve. They limit your battery use to the middle 80% of full capacity, shutting off before you can run the battery completely flat. This is done to preserve the longevity of the battery (those of you with laptop batteries which last 15 minutes have experienced what happens if you don't do this).

So even with the EV out of juice, if you were able to bypass the car's programming, you could eek out another 12% or so of range. Not something you want to do frequently, but it could do in an emergency.


What a crock of shiit
By Beenthere on 6/14/2011 2:50:37 PM , Rating: 4
The EV Project is my tax dollars paying for some tree hugger's desire to own an impractical EV. When the Feds come to my home and install a FREE 3,000 gallon fuel storage tank and fuel pump so I can buy fuel on contract and not be subjected to the whims of the oil companies - then and only then am I willing to pay for the tree hugger's EV foolishness.




RE: What a crock of shiit
By muIIet on 6/14/2011 4:00:56 PM , Rating: 2
I couldn't have said it better myself. FREE now a days means you got it free at the expense of someone else.


RE: What a crock of shiit
By ClownPuncher on 6/14/2011 4:35:47 PM , Rating: 2
It has always meant that. Though EV owners likely earn higher than per capita income, and therefore possibly put more into taxes - it still sucks and never should be mandated by the government.


15-22 miles charge / hour or 20 minutes
By AggressorPrime on 6/14/2011 2:30:37 PM , Rating: 2
"The chargers in the Qwest Stadium parking lot take an hour to charge the batteries enough for 15-22 miles of driving. Other locations will get more powerful chargers that can supply enough juice for the same driving range in a 20-minute charge."

Seems like a while to wait for just 15-22 miles. Call me when you can spend as much time charging an EV to full as it takes filling a gasoline car with gas. We live in an age of speed, and if cars take too long to charge, they won't be able to fit into people's busy lives.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for EV adoption. I'm just actually waiting for EVs to offer more benefits than gasoline vehicles, benefits for me, not for the environment, because ultimately, gas is going to be burning either way, at the power plant, or in my car.




By foolsgambit11 on 6/15/2011 1:10:08 AM , Rating: 2
I agree that EVs aren't practical for most people. What's more, if you live within 15-22 miles of Qwest Field, you're probably better off taking public transit to games - it's way cheaper than parking at the overpriced stadium lot, will get you there in about the same amount of time thanks to traffic, and is even more eco-friendly than driving an EV there. I agree, I think EVs are a great idea, but I'm not ready to take the plunge until these growing pains are worked out.

I'm also a little disappointed the government is spending about $2.5 million on equipment alone for chargers installed at private residences. I should be able to stop at these people's houses and charge my EV there for a nominal fee.


2.5 cents per mile
By BobMurray999 on 6/15/2011 1:37:44 AM , Rating: 2
I have a new Nissan LEAF I picked up March 21st. I now have almost 3,000 miles on it. I average 4.2 miles per Kilowatt hour. At the 10.35 cents per KWH charged by my utility (PSE), I am paying about 2.5 cents per mile for electricity. A full charge is about 25 kilowatt hours or $2.50 (yes, that is two dollars and fifty cents). My car and charger both have a timer so I recharge at night from midnight to 6 AM. I have a 220 Volt 40 Amp charger in my garage and it takes about 5 hours to get a full charge. 110 volt 15 Amp charge takes 20 hours. I also have the 440 Volt 60 Amp Hot Charge option which gives you an 80% charge in 20 minutes. However, I do not know if there are any of those around Seattle. I think the impact on the grid will be manageable. Getting thousands of Tanker trucks off the roads will be a great benefit. PSE gets about half its electricity from hydroelectric (water falling downhill = garvity) and the rest from coal fired plants in Montana. If you are on City of Seattle power, you are almost totally hydroelectric because they have their own dams.




RE: 2.5 cents per mile
By klstay on 6/15/2011 9:01:28 AM , Rating: 2
I have a CNG vehicle I have been driving for 4 years. When I bought it I was paying 2.2 cents per mile for fuel and I am now paying 4.2 cents per mile for fuel. My vehicle also runs on regular gas if needed so I can go anywhere I want in this car. The fuel is 100% domestic and the vehicle has practically zero emissions. As you state yourself half the PSE power is from coal, so no ZEV for you after all ;-)

The reason I bring this up? CNG is a practical alternative (half the homes in the US have natural gas delivered right to the door for heating) never mentioned when discussing these topics.


By chick0n on 6/15/2011 1:05:21 AM , Rating: 2
It's called BEAM. They have been running for a while.

Not much charging station, like 10 right now I think? but it's adding more every other week/month.

So ... you sure Seattle is the first ?




Part of the problem.
By Motoman on 6/15/2011 11:16:31 AM , Rating: 2
1. Range.
2. Grid.
3. Charging time.
4. Cost to replace battery.
5. Environmental impact of manufacture.
6. Environmental impact of disposal of battery.
7. Environmental impact of power generation.
8. Lack of places to charge.
9. Cost of vehicle (especially *not* considering temporary subsidy).
10. Impracticality for non-city dwellers.

There - ten reasons pretty easily.

Fix the grid first. Then make sure enough power is available. Then make sure it's economically expedient to go electric instead of ICE, which may mean waiting until there actually *is* a shortage in oil supplies. Keep working on battery tech in the meantime to try to get reasonable range up, and recharge times down. And try to develop some kinds of vehicles that would be useful to people for whom a small car isn't useful.

The whole thing will likely never happen until we're *out* of oil anyway, simply over the cost of a major re-do on the grid itself. That cost will never be approved until our backs are against the wall. And if alternative fuels somehow come online well enough to feed our ICE vehicles after natural oil runs out, maybe never at all.




different approach
By valkator on 6/15/2011 4:41:18 PM , Rating: 2
It would be neat if the cars were similar to a lift truck where you just change the battery out of the car with a mechanism that extracts the battery and you can plop a new one into the car. They should make cars that have an easy access panel. Could have a full service fuel station that has batteries sitting there and you just change the battery and go. Simple and quick if they made cars to support that.




Where are they?
By The0ne on 6/16/2011 7:51:44 PM , Rating: 2
Been driving around and haven't seen or sighted one EV station in San Diego so far. Went out to the countryside and didn't see any either. Guess I need to be at the "right" place to get a charge. Did I mention my hometown was the test site and should have had many stations? No, well...PR worked I guess cause people believed in fairies now too.




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