Number of Solar Panels to power a Level-2 EV charger?

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
9,292
you need to offer people stuff that is commensurate with being stuck there for an extended period of time (or some combination of the two) and draws a commensurate larger amount of money out of them.
I can think of one, but it us illegal in most states.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
30,303
This has been talked about a lot in the past. Of course it takes some serious commitment, but there are a lot of advantages.
First, the battery is swapped out so with the right machinery it could be really fast. Maybe even faster than pulling up to get gas.
Then, there is the fact that the owner of the car does not have to own the battery, but rather 'rent' it. That means no huge cost to replace the battery.
After that, the owner does not have to worry about charging at home, which takes a lot of energy.
Probably the best advantage overall is that the charging does not have to take place on site. The batteries can be charged remotely and then shipped to the recharge station. That's a HUGE advantage because then the charging locations can be more easily constructed and melded into the current infrastructure, much better than in every location.
A disadvantage of course is that the charging stations would have to be a lot bigger to be able to store the battery packs. If 1000 customers pull up in one day, they would have to be able to store over 1000 battery packs, which are kind of big. Another one is the price control, which could be governed mostly by each location.
The biggest problem is probably how to get manufacturers to agree to using a universal battery pack. That's probably going to be hard to do.
This, again, completely ignores the value/risk factor.

Consider this -- we know that these batteries can and do start major fires. We know that they are sensitive to how they are treated. How comfortable are you going to be putting a different battery in your car every week and having zero idea how well that battery had been treated by all the previous people that have had it, knowing that just one of them that abused it somehow can result in it catching fire while it's in your car?

And, as the owner of the swapping stations, how much are you going to have to charge in order to cover the risk and expense associated with abused batteries and the liability insurance that will be needed to cover yourself?

How many car owners are going to be happy paying $100 to swap a battery when their neighbor is paying $10 to charge theirs? The fact that the neighbor paid (or, more likely, is paying as part of their loan) $10,000 for their battery that you avoided isn't going to factor into it for most folks -- they compare what they are paying today. And if they do take it all into account, how much more are they going to pay for the batteries they are renting over the lifespan of the battery they could have owned? They will likely have paid more than the price of the battery in just two or three years.
 

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
11,731
This, again, completely ignores the value/risk factor.

Consider this -- we know that these batteries can and do start major fires. We know that they are sensitive to how they are treated. How comfortable are you going to be putting a different battery in your car every week and having zero idea how well that battery had been treated by all the previous people that have had it, knowing that just one of them that abused it somehow can result in it catching fire while it's in your car?

And, as the owner of the swapping stations, how much are you going to have to charge in order to cover the risk and expense associated with abused batteries and the liability insurance that will be needed to cover yourself?

How many car owners are going to be happy paying $100 to swap a battery when their neighbor is paying $10 to charge theirs? The fact that the neighbor paid (or, more likely, is paying as part of their loan) $10,000 for their battery that you avoided isn't going to factor into it for most folks -- they compare what they are paying today. And if they do take it all into account, how much more are they going to pay for the batteries they are renting over the lifespan of the battery they could have owned? They will likely have paid more than the price of the battery in just two or three years.
Hello there,

Well, these questions are hard to answer. In my job experience I rarely even gauged anything by considering anything without some numbers to back it up.
For example, to evaluate the risk, I would probably take into consideration the number of battery packs that have had a problem that started a fire and the number that didn't, just to name one aspect of this analysis. Then if it seemed significant, I would look into ways to mitigate that problem to get the risk factor down lower.
I'd also have to investigate the mechanics behind swapping the battery packs out. If there was a risk of dropping the pack, that would have to be dealt with also.
I'd also have to talk to insurance companies to see how they feel about insuring a station. They would probably have to do some research also.
As to the cost to the car owner, I'd first have to find out the actual cost to swap out a battery pack. As to the $10,000 issue, that would probably be a no brainer because people who BUY a battery pack would have to be in a different class than those that swap from the original sale of the vehicle. It's also possible that after the life of the battery has expired, the owner of the $10k battery pack would not mind swapping after that.

I could go on and on, but we know these batteries were a problem from the beginning for a lot of reasons. One thing I tried to do in my career though is try to find answers to problem questions not just keep asking questions that we can't answer without more research and testing. I find in these situations there are always good points and bad points, and for the bad problems we try to find a way to solve those problems. I guess I figure, that's what we are all here for :)

This could pan out one way or the other and usually it just takes investment money. Maybe it won't work out I don't know at this current time. It's not as promising as it once seemed though because I do not see anyone doing this yet, and to add to that, it's hard to get different manufacturers to agree to standards they all seem to have their own idea of how to do things and sometimes it's because they are trying to keep ahead of the others in the market share.

So I have to conclude that it may not be easy to make this happen, but I think it's too early to decide one way or the other. Large companies have a lot of options at their disposal, so ultimately they will have to do the research and decide how to proceed.

My personal opinion is that the nature of the cells we have today are always a risk, and that's unfortunate. That means going to the post office to mail something that does not contain say a lithium-ion battery in it means we have to sign something that swears that it does not. That tells us something right there. I've always seen these kinds of cells as a possible danger and handle them much more carefully than other batteries like alkaline. This is where progress has taken us though, and there's no way around it just yet. Every cell phone has one in it. That's why I have some mechanisms in place that might allow me to deal with a bad situation, like two fire blankets and some other stuff with a planned procedure to deal with such an event that I hope never have to deal with.

What else always bothered me is that we don't usually learn everything right away. Unfortunately, and this is very unfortunate, we do not learn until after a disaster occurs. How many planes went down over the years before we learned more about the art of flying. A lot of people lost their lives, but there are something like 100k flights every day. Things have gotten safer though progress and that's all we have, I guess. Maybe battery swapping will become move viable at some point, but we can certainly expect some lessons that come from disasters in the meantime.

Now for the ultimate question...
Would I drive a car with a huge battery that has been swapped out at a swapping station?
Only if I knew everything about the battery pack and the swapping mechanics involved, and I would not drive one until I also got some history from past swapping in vehicles like mine, which also means I would not be one of the first to drive one with a swapped out battery. There may be other things I'd like to know first too, such as the history of the battery pack itself that has just been swapped into my vehicle.
 

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
11,731
To be fair, a gas fill-up takes what, 3 minutes? So if an average charge takes an hour, an EV “gas” station with 20 chargers would have the same capacity as a gas station with one pump.
Huh?
What does it matter if it has the same "capacity", the driver will not care about that they just want to get up and go.
Now if all 20 chargers could be used on that one car at the same time, that would really speed things up for the driver.
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
9,292
Huh?
What does it matter if it has the same "capacity", the driver will not care about that they just want to get up and go.
Now if all 20 chargers could be used on that one car at the same time, that would really speed things up for the driver.
You really missed my point. Consider a gas and EV station that can each serve 1 customer at a time. The gas station can serve 20 customers / hour, while the EV station can serve 1. That is what I meant by capacity.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
30,303
Huh?
What does it matter if it has the same "capacity", the driver will not care about that they just want to get up and go.
Now if all 20 chargers could be used on that one car at the same time, that would really speed things up for the driver.
Oh, but they will care, precisely because they do want to get up and go -- they can't do that until they get to a charger and how long they have to wait for that to happen is directly related to the capacity. In fact, you need greater capacity for EV charging than you do for gas pumps because the average range of EVs is still significantly less than gas powered vehicles, particular since you normally don't charge them all the way up as that takes a very long time (and is not particularly good for the battery), which means the charging infrastructure has to accommodate more stops per vehicle as well as significantly longer stops per vehicle. What do you do today if you go to stop at your favorite gas station and every pump is in use with a line of several cars waiting? Unless you are desperate for gas right now or the price is way below anyone else, you go elsewhere. But if it takes three to five minutes for each car to fill up, you are likely to be willing to wait if there's only one or perhaps two cars in line at each pump. But what if it took twenty minutes to fill up? Even if there were just one car waiting for each station, you would be more likely to keep going hoping to find one that had a free pump available, even if it was at a somewhat higher price. The same thing applies to charging stations.
 

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
11,731
You really missed my point. Consider a gas and EV station that can each serve 1 customer at a time. The gas station can serve 20 customers / hour, while the EV station can serve 1. That is what I meant by capacity.
Ok thanks for elaborating on that to make it more clear.
 

MrAl

Joined Jun 17, 2014
11,731
Oh, but they will care, precisely because they do want to get up and go -- they can't do that until they get to a charger and how long they have to wait for that to happen is directly related to the capacity. In fact, you need greater capacity for EV charging than you do for gas pumps because the average range of EVs is still significantly less than gas powered vehicles, particular since you normally don't charge them all the way up as that takes a very long time (and is not particularly good for the battery), which means the charging infrastructure has to accommodate more stops per vehicle as well as significantly longer stops per vehicle. What do you do today if you go to stop at your favorite gas station and every pump is in use with a line of several cars waiting? Unless you are desperate for gas right now or the price is way below anyone else, you go elsewhere. But if it takes three to five minutes for each car to fill up, you are likely to be willing to wait if there's only one or perhaps two cars in line at each pump. But what if it took twenty minutes to fill up? Even if there were just one car waiting for each station, you would be more likely to keep going hoping to find one that had a free pump available, even if it was at a somewhat higher price. The same thing applies to charging stations.
Hello again

Actually, my biggest problem with EV's right now is not how they intend to charge or charge now, but how limited the charging stations are in my area. I've talked to people with EV's and they all say the same thing: it's hard to find a station around here that actually works right.
When I considered (briefly) buying an EV, I quickly discarded that idea due to the problems I have been hearing about. Add to that we still don't really know if this whole idea might take a turn for the worst. We could end up seeing the fall of EV's. I guess that's not too likely, but because it's still so new there's always that possibility.

I guess what this all means is that I will not be buying one anytime soon, or at least until they fix the problem of the number of stations in my area and the problems with the stations themselves. That, in turn, means I am not really personally affected by the way they charge or the swap or no swap possibilities because it looks like I will never own one.

It's still interesting to think about though and how to make this all work better so at least other people who own these cars can feel a little more secure about the future of their travels.
I've also read that because of the way things are changing, it may be that most people end up not owning any vehicle and just use ride services. I thought I would never go there, ever, but now I find that I am in the middle somewhere where I drive sometimes and use ride services other times. Driving to the airport for example is a problem if I intend to stay somewhere for a couple months, so I have to use a ride service of some kind.

It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. For now it looks like a big maze, where the technology goes down one corridor and runs into a wall and has to turn around and search out the next path hoping for a better outcome.
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
9,292
Reading this thread, it occurred to me that the ultimate solution is to charge the car while it drives via induction through coils embedded in the highway. Sure enough, it is being investigated:

EV charging road
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,580
Reading this thread, it occurred to me that the ultimate solution is to charge the car while it drives via induction through coils embedded in the highway. Sure enough, it is being investigated:

EV charging road
Sure that works if you want to waste a huge amount of energy (10% loss is the optimistic calculation), run millions of miles of extra electrical connections and increase the road build and repair costs by a huge factor.
Boondoggle is a nice word for it.
 
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joeyd999

Joined Jun 6, 2011
5,417
Reading this thread, it occurred to me that the ultimate solution is to charge the car while it drives via induction through coils embedded in the highway. Sure enough, it is being investigated:

EV charging road
Yes. Because taxpayers have an inexhaustible amount of cash to give away so that other people can afford to signal their virtues.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,580
Yes. Because taxpayers have an inexhaustible amount of cash to give away so that other people can afford to signal their virtues.
It takes only a few seconds to see what a stupid idea general road based charging is on the practical engineering side. I would feel a little better (but not much better about the use of my taxes) if they had just given away $250M worth of EV cars instead because then, at least, we have usable transportation assets on the road instead of a set of boondoggles buried under asphalt.

How long do you think valuable copper wire will stay in the roads in places like Detroit?
 
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BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
9,292
Sorry guys, but I will wait for more data.

@nsaspook: I don’t think it needs to be ALL highways, or it will be the complete solution. I just think it is worth investigating.

@joeyd999: Is your imagination so poor that you can’t see the possibilities for having the users pay for the power?
 

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
9,292
It takes only a few seconds to see what a stupid idea general road based charging is on the practical engineering side.
As one could say about pretty much any new idea.

Edited to add; I don’t think the challenges are anywhere near those faced by fusion power and quantum computing, on which I totally agree with you. The difference is that those have been experimented with for years, exposing the difficulties. Three years from now, it might prove that you are right, or, it might surprise us all.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,580
As one could say about pretty much any new idea.

Edited to add; I don’t think the challenges are anywhere near those faced by fusion power and quantum computing, on which I totally agree with you. The difference is that those have been experimented with for years, exposing the difficulties. Three years from now, it might prove that you are right, or, it might surprise us all.
It's not a new idea for cars or wireless charging in general and it's obviously not practical for general transportation. Why would you waste as a baseline, 10% of your money.? You will be charged for the 10% because the energy supplier is paying for it.
We have a thick layer of nice lossy RF absorbing bitumen, loaded with lots of iron oxide containing gravel, with lots of RF absorbing carbon plus a lossy air gap VS a thick gauge of copper wire directly connected to the car. Only getting a 10% energy loss while rolling would be a absolute miracle.
 
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nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,580
Sorry guys, but I will wait for more data.

@nsaspook: I don’t think it needs to be ALL highways, or it will be the complete solution. I just think it is worth investigating.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/...ireless-charging-roads-for-electric-vehicles/
MAY 11, 2017
5 MIN READ
Israel Tests Wireless Charging Roads for Electric Vehicles
New technology could power buses and cars on the go, but will it be cost-effective?
The government is collaborating with Israeli start-up ElectRoad to install a public bus route in Tel Aviv, using an under-the-pavement wireless technology that eliminates the need for plug-in recharging stations.
It's been investigated and discarded several times as impractical for general transportation.

For parking lot charging, maybe if you're willing to pay a premium for the 20 seconds lost plugging in the car to a wired charger.
 
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joeyd999

Joined Jun 6, 2011
5,417
@joeyd999: Is your imagination so poor that you can’t see the possibilities for having the users pay for the power?
It will be soooooo expensive (projected cost + overruns and maintenance) that user fees will not cover it.

Ultimately, the feds will have to take over funding a project that will never be finished.

I don't need an imagination to know the outcome. Review the history of the California High Speed Rail Project to see exactly how this would turn out.

Let private investors and gamblers work on this. Leave the taxpayers out of it.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
13,580
Ideas like this are what gives the EV transition a horrible reputation as a boondoggle of wasted tax dollars, wasted engineering expertise for circular file investigations of impractical pipe dreams that eventually will turn off the general public to the whole idea because they see they are being played for fools as a few get rich playing the grant game.

Just take the money for a national lottery where people pay a dollar for a chance to win an EV up to some X amount from that $250M pot of money. That's much more likely to have positive results than wasting the money on more investigations on previously investigated bad ideas.
 
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