Our last post discussed Recharging Electric Vehicles in Condo Buildings. This post is looking at the subject from a broader perspective and asking what will the infrastructure look like for electric cars in the future. It will take time, but this is definitely the way that the future is going. Electric cars will become more and more popular. Almost all manufacturers have introduced hybrid cars into their lineups in order to maximize gas mileage and a few have introduced electric only vehicles. A Tesla roadster for example will go 245 miles on a charge, however it needs a 24o volt charging station to charge it. You can also use 120 Volt, however it just takes longer at this lower voltage to charge it.
The trend to electric vehicles is simply a matter of time, consumers ability to figure out how and when to use them and an infrastructure to recharge them. Hybrid cars do not need to plug into the electrical grid to recharge their batteries. Cars that do not have any kind of gas engine, require available sources of electricity and need to be plugged in to recharge their batteries.
Right now if you buy an electric only vehicle, you have to plan when and were you are going to recharge your vehicle. Plugging into just any outlet is akin to stealing power and people are not going to like that. Even if you offer to pay for a recharge, there will still be some suspicion, since they will relate recharging to filling the tank with gas and wondering why you are not handing over $40 or $50 dollars instead of the $5 that you are offering which is all that it really cost! Someone really needs to figure out a solution that is economically acceptable to society and demonstrate to business how they can make a profit. All of us also need to be educated as well.
Building Electric Auto Infrastructure
There are many potential solutions, however today as we write this post, none are commercially available in any significant numbers that we are aware of. Some may not even be on the drawing board for all we know. But one way or another we need to be building an electric auto infrastructure to recharge our electric automobiles. The trigger of course will be high gas prices and by that I mean at least plus $5 per gallon. California has the highest prices in the nation, so a solution will probably appear here in California first.
Electric Meters on Our Cars
One way to deal with the cost of recharging and not just ripping people off, is to install a unit on the car which measures just how much electricity you used when recharging and the corresponding cost. You can then show whoever owns the outlet the amount used and pay them accordingly.
While this is not the complete answer, I still do not understand why the auto manufacturers have not built solar panels into the roof of the car. At least this would provide some power and help to recharge the battery. We are well aware that you cannot depend on solar panels alone for electrical power. Races across the California desert in electric solar powered vehicles have proved that. But a vehicle that gets maybe 75 miles on one battery charge might get an extra 10 or 20% power with a solar panel. If your car is parked a lot it might even amount to more than 20%.
Electrical Outlets at Work, at the Shopping Center etc
In some northern Canadian cities were it gets down to -40F in the winter, they already provide outlets at parking spots to plug in your engine warmer on these really cold days. Why not have more of these electrical plugs at work locations, shopping centers and other public places for those people who like to drive electric vehicles. This could be perceived as a benefit to employees and a competitive advantage for shopping centers!
Negotiate with Your Employer
This is one that could be interesting. Would the union negotiate with an employer to arrange for outlets at work locations as a benefit. It would be a win win for everyone! Everyone is seen to be saving energy and the employee benefits as well by getting free power at work for his or her car.
There are probably many other ideas for electric infrastructure for electric cars. We would love to hear from you about our ideas and any new ideas for electrical auto infrastructure solutions. Leave your comments and we will be happy to post them!