The biggest problem with driving an electric vehicle (EV) is not driving from home to work. It’s the long trips and vacations that scare people – beyond the EV’s range of 75-150 miles per charge. They need a network of charging stations, like gas stations, placed along highway routes for all the popular destinations.
And while the major car manufacturers are content to let governments and utility companies build these – Tesla has announced they will build their own. The company has six in operation in California and plans for twelve by next year. After that, if sales continue to grow, building 100s of them nationwide – allowing you to drive an EV from Los Angeles to New York.
And like all things Elon Musk does – these will be sleek, high technology, sustainable devices. Powered by solar technology, giving a 150 mile charge in 30 minutes, and free for Tesla drivers – while giving energy back to the grid.
For comparison, the standard models on the market offer 16-31 miles for a 30 minute charge.
The plug-in epidemic is spreading:
Electric cars now primary vehicles
Nine out of 10 owners said plug-in vehicles represent their primary ride — though almost all had a second, conventional car, according to a survey with more than 1,400 respondents released this month.
Monthly mileage averaged about 800 — the equivalent of almost 10,000 miles a year.
These are not hybrids, but the plug-into your garage kind. Pretty awesome…I keep dreaming about the day I will own one!
Not only do electric cars threaten all those gas stations on every corner, but also the auto-mechanics and car parts stores:
Mechanic worries that electric-car brakes will ruin his business
Joe Ferrer says that brakes are easily 35 to 40 percent of his total business. Replacing rotors, calipers, and pads keeps his shop humming.
But on hybrids, brake jobs aren’t needed every 15,000 miles as they are on conventional cars–more like 45,000 miles, he says.
Those regenerative braking systems reduce the impact when braking and extend the life of the brake pads.
Of course, this isn’t the only thing that will change, Jiffy Lube will also be hurt. Electric vehicles (EV’s) get rid of nearly all the liquid lube in cars, so that means no more oil changes.
What is going to happen to all that land currently used for gas stations, Jiffy Lubes, and mechanics shops?
Note these specs are the most hotly contested in the industry. The price is based on MSRP excluding tax credits and all those crazy option packages (for Tesla you can get the base model for $50k and the same car with options for $100k).
Battery power and range are based on EPA estimates (though, those vary a lot too).
Ford Focus Electric
- 23 kWh
- battery range – 76 miles
- 80 kWh
- battery range – 73 miles
Tesla Model S
- 40 kWh
- 160 mile battery range (+$10k for 230 mile range)
These two cars are marketed as Electric Vehicles (EV) even though they have a gas engine. What separates them from other hybrids is a larger battery pack that requires a charge (plug-in) to function.
- 16 kWh
- battery range – 35 miles
- 1.4L 4-cylinder gas engine
Toyota Prius Plug-in
- 4.4 kWh
- battery range – 11 miles
- 1.8L 4-cylinder gas engine
Photos of each EV:
Governor Brown joined with the California Public Utilities Commission today to announce a $120 million dollar settlement with NRG Energy Inc. that will fund the construction of a statewide network of charging stations for zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), including at least 200 public fast-charging stations and another 10,000 plug-in units at 1,000 locations across the state. The settlement stems from California’s energy crisis.
The network of charging stations funded by the settlement will be installed in the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Los Angeles Basin and San Diego County.
“Through the settlement, EVs will become a viable transportation option for many Californians who do not have the option to have a charging station at their residence.”
The Executive Order issued today by the Governor sets the following targets:
- By 2015, all major cities in California will have adequate infrastructure and be “zero-emission vehicle ready”;
- By 2020, adequate infrastructure to support 1 million zero-emission vehicles in California;
- By 2025, there will be 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road in California; and
- By 2050, virtually all personal transportation in the State will be based on zero-emission vehicles.
Just one question, not addressed in the announcement, is charging at the stations free?
What will be the cost for a full charge?
// photos via NCDOT Comms and gwyst