Reader Question: On EV “Fast” Charging?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Ed asks: Not really a question, just a note of appreciation for your contribution to the discussion about EV charging. You did a thorough job from the perspective of a user.  However, there is another side and that is from the perspective of an electric utility that has to deliver to the (future) charging stations.

Quick-chargers require massive amounts of electric power (kWhrs) for relatively short times – unless you have many people waiting in line for constant charging. This produces high peak demands (with significant investment) for relatively low energy sales to recover the investment – particularly in residences.No politician wants to admit this by allowing utilities to charge a commensurate “connection charge” for EV chargers. Take my word for it, utilities are going to have to upgrade equipment especially in compact affluent neighborhoods where everyone runs out to get an EV to keep up with their neighbors. Also, the home EV chargers will be drawing their maximum demand when the electric chariot pulls in the garage after the sun has approached – or gone below – the horizon. So much for recharging with solar power.

Please excuse my Luddite rant, but I am an engineering consultant to electric utilities trying to meet he needs of their customers. I am also a long-time fan of Crown Vics and am presently on my (apparently) last Taurus SEL.  Any suggestions of where go from here? Keep up the good work.

My reply: It’s not Luddism to  state facts about problems with technology. And your facts are both spot-on and alarming… if that is, anyone is interested in what it is going to cost us in time and money and mobility to “electrify” transportation.

I think the costs you mention – like all the other costs – are being shoved under the rug, for now  . .  . to get people into EVs. Once people can’t get out of EVs, then the Big Surprise will be unveiled. This is sinister, I realize – but the only other explanation is a degree of stupidity on the part of both government and corporate interests – the ones pushing this – that I simply don’t buy.

Rather, I believe they are both motivated – and afraid.

Motivated, by the prospect of further control and further profits (by eliminating vehicle ownership in favor of endless revolving debt/ride-sharing/transportation-as-a-service ) and afraid – of publicly contradicting the “climate change” orthodoxy, which has become something you just can’t question – like “diversity.”

All of this is coming to a head soon. I expect either the entire economy will be Sovietized – or the forces behind this Sovietization will be given the treatment meted out to Mussolini at the gas station in Milan back in the spring of 1945.

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Nowhere in this discussion do we hear about how our electric power infrastructure, from the generation plant to the transmission lines to the transformer substations and switchgear to the plugs in your walls, will be able to take the sudden forced increase in demand — nor do we hear about its environmental impacts, not to mention the costs.

    In my mind, these are some of the things that have to be in place as minimum requirements for EVs to be viable (if they are in the first place):

    A massively upgraded power grid, to include a lot more and more advanced nuclear power plants.

    A means of being able to quickly “refuel” by making EVs’ battery packs quickly and easily swappable, like the ones for cordless drills.

    A means of replacing the revenue generated from fuel taxes for road maintenance, such as a per-mile tax.

    A way to maintain batteries’ optimal temperature range in all weather conditions.

    A battery design that holds a charge comparable to the range of most gasoline/diesel/CNG vehicles.

    A repair infrastructure in which it’s relatively easy to find qualified service facilities and personnel to fix and maintain EVs.

    But none of these things are happening now, and aren’t likely to happen soon, if ever.

  2. eric, “I think the costs you mention – like all the other costs – are being shoved under the rug, for now . . . to get people into EVs. Once people can’t get out of EVs, then the Big Surprise will be unveiled.”

    I believe you’re correct. The only thing I can’t say for sure is WHEN they fools are going to get their “bill”. They won’t be shoved anywhere other than where the bill will fit, even if it’s a human orifice… least that’s what I think a great many will feel like and maybe “Broken off” will figure in for many.

    I’ve notice in heavily populated areas electrical rates are very high. Our last bill was either 8 or 9 cents per KWH, don’t remember exactly. 9 is the typical rate though for us. I’d like to see what people in other places pay. I’d bet our rate is low to most city dwellers.

    • Eight, just FYI your electric rate is less than half of mine here in Boston. We pay about 20 cents per kWh, and the crazy greenie/nimbys up here fight any proposals for additional capacity – don’t want to have to look at those ugly transmission towers bringing in cheap (and green!) hydropower from Canada. Also don’t want to spoil the view of the harbor with windmills, and don’t even think about nuclear (also green) power. Makes me crazy, I just want to be comfortable in my own house without going broke paying for heat now and a/c in the summer.

      • Mike, so with your electricity rates and your ever-increasing tax rates, exactly how long does your wife figure you can hold out? Wait, I know, she doesn’t figure. Good luck living there in the land of high wages and higher taxes… a retiree. My wife and I could probably make it for oh, say, a day or two before being on the street and begging for food in your neighborhood. Well, to be honest, we could never live there even a day if we had to pay on a per day basis. I”m not saying Texas is some great place to live but it’s cheap, the very reason our population is growing exponentially with people from the NE and the left coast.

        • Hi Eight, we’ve seriously considered moving to Florida, my parents did when they retired and my sister lives there now. We spent a few months there last winter but by April I couldn’t take the heat, especially with the near 100% humidity. Way cheaper living than here for sure, property taxes on their house are less than a quarter of what we pay here for a similar size house. My favorite thing is the great luncheon specials with happy hour drinks, the two of us can have a really good meal and a couple drinks for less than $25 without having to cook or wash dishes 😊

  3. Crown Vics and their Mercury cousin the Grand Marquis are still hugely popular where I live in central Georgia. I see them everywhere: beat up survivors, repurposed surplus AGW cars turned into latter day hot rod things, like-new ones — and driven by all races, ages, men and women, young mom with three kids, you name it. It’s crazy how many I see on the road. You could probably buy one in decent shape and pay a restoration shop to fix it up all for well under $15,000.00.


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