Print 31 comment(s) - last by The0ne.. on Jun 16 at 7:51 PM

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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RE: Efficiency
By Solandri on 6/15/2011 5:12:58 PM , Rating: 2
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)

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