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Tesla will use solar panels and batteries at Supercharger stations to help supply this extra electricity

Tesla is looking to turn the electric vehicle (EV) industry upside down once again with a new system that could fully charge a Tesla vehicle in just five minutes. 

Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel recently said that the automaker is working on a charging system that would get drivers out of the Supercharger stations and back on the road with a full charge in just 5 minutes.

“It’s not going to happen in a year from now. It’s going to be hard. But I think we can get down to five to 10 minutes,” Straubel said.

Tesla plans to do this by making sure all parts of the charging process are communicating with one another so that the battery isn't negatively affected by such fast charging speeds. A battery can easily overheat at these speeds, but Tesla's Superchargers work differently from traditional charging methods.

Traditional charging consists of on-board chargers that take AC power from the wall socket and convert it to DC. From there, it can regulate the power given to the battery. 

The Superchargers, on the other hand, skips the use of the onboard charger and converts AC to DC outside the vehicle. The outside charger keeps an eye on battery voltage and temperature and changes rates of charging as needed to keep the battery safe. But in order for the outside charger to monitor these stats, it must communicate with other parts of the vehicle. 

Aside from potential battery issues, charging more quickly can take a toll on the grid and utilities. Tesla's current Superchargers deliver 120 kilowatts of electricity while most other charging systems -- such as General Motors' -- offers a maximum of 100 kilowatts. It's difficult to draw larger amounts of power from the grid without seeing costs rise significantly. 

Tesla plans to fix this by giving its Supercharger stations solar panels and batteries. The solar power would be stored in batteries and lessen the amount of electricity drawn from the grid. Also, the system could help utilities monitor major changes in the grid, and Tesla could charge them for this service -- hence keeping costs down. 

Other automakers have employed solar power for their EVs, too. For instance, General Motors (GM) announced a solar charging canopy called the Tracking Solar Tree, which moves with the sun and helps to charge GM's EVs. It's kept in Michigan, and is able to increase renewable energy production by about 25 percent due to its movable parts. In addition, the tree will produce up to 30,000-kilowatt hours per year and generate enough solar energy to charge six EVs daily.

Deploying charging tech that will allow drivers to charge their vehicles as quickly as it takes to fill up a tank of gas could significantly help push the adoption of Tesla EVs. Convenience and cost are two huge selling points, and it looks like Tesla has tackled both in this case. 

By the time Tesla rolls out the affordable version of the Model S, which is reportedly in the works, more people may consider buying the price-friendly vehicles and using its convenient tech. 

Tesla's Supercharger stations can charge a Model S battery halfway in just 20 minutes today. 

Just last month, Tesla unveiled a convenient alternative to waiting for a Model S to charge -- battery swapping. The idea behind battery swapping is to easily open the car chassis to pull the battery out and replace it with a fully charged one. This saves the driver from having to wait for their battery to charge before traveling.

Tesla is doing everything it can to get Model S' into the hands of customers, too, as it recently ramped up production to over 400 Model S' built per week.

Source: Technology Review

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RE: yawn
By BRB29 on 7/18/2013 3:26:46 PM , Rating: 2
Except it won't because we generate way more electricity at night than we can consume. Most vehicle charges occurs at night and it's tiny compared to the surplus capacity produced. You can't just shut down any power plant at night, especially nuclear power plants. It may not save you any money and actually increase safety risks.

The only problem is during the day but I would imagine almost nobody would have this problem except for interstate travelers. Which is what those Tesla charging stations are for. They store the energy at night and some more via solar during the day. They would rarely tap into the daytime electricity load.

Even if 1 million electric vehicles appeared today and all charges during the day, it would still be less than .1% of electricity used. Therefore it won't cause any problems. Our only problem is if all the vehicles are in one city and charging at the same time. That is impossible.

I guess this is why it's freshman macroeconomics and not quantitative macroeconomics analysis.

Also, you may want to google it but numerous studies have already proven that our current grid can support millions of EV even if it magically appeared today.

RE: yawn
By JediJeb on 7/18/2013 4:20:45 PM , Rating: 2
Problem is that when it comes to something like this simple supply and demand doesn't always dictate prices.

It it were true then as vehicles have become more fuel efficient, fuel prices should have been falling with falling demand. But once oil producers sense a drop in demand, they also drop supply to maintain or even raise prices. OPEC has been seen doing this several times where they decide to cut production because prices have become too low.

If most power companies switch to Natural Gas generation, and demand begins to rise because the bulk of vehicles have become electric, what is to stop Natural Gas suppliers from raising prices now that more people have become dependent on their product? This would lead to an increase in electricity prices in areas which use NG to generate electricity, then since those suppliers get more for their electricity, hydro and nuclear based producers can charge more since the overall going rate is higher. Of course the government does regulate energy prices somewhat, but once there is money to be made, there will be calls for de-regulation just as with other industries.

Just because electricity is cheap now, is no guarantee it will always be cheap.

RE: yawn
By BRB29 on 7/19/2013 9:18:57 AM , Rating: 2
, what is to stop Natural Gas suppliers from raising prices now that more people have become dependent on their product? This would lead to an increase in electricity prices in areas which use NG to generate electricity, then since those suppliers get more for their electricity, hydro and nuclear based producers can charge more since the overall going rate is higher.

The government regulates reasonable prices. They've already broken up big energy companies in the past.

An increase in EV could actually mean a lower price for electricity for off-peak hours. Since they cannot shut down power plants at night, the cost per KW is estimated on anticipated usage and predicted production. An increase in usage would actually lower the cost as it is distributed more. This is especially true for nuclear power plants that are funded and ran by the government.

If you haven't noticed, the push for more nuclear power plants is starting again.

If everyone converted to EVs, it would mean about a 20% increase in household electricity usage. Overall, our industries and commercial entities uses much more electricity so the real increase is under 10%. Since almost all vehicles will charge at night along with the charging stations and their batteries, the extra energy needed during peak hours is probably a noticeable but insignificant increase. You're probably looking at under 1% increase for peak.

RE: yawn
By syedjnc on 7/21/2013 6:57:22 AM , Rating: 2
I’m an american citizen with 18 years of IT experience but very very difficult to get the job in US as the process is very tedious too many people calling from India and I came to know that there are 3000 recruiting companies operating from India where we share our SSN and other details. Before increasing H1B quota, shouldn't the recruiting process be? cleaned???? and get all Americans on the jobs.!!!!!!

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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