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Old 02-01-2011, 07:01 PM   #1
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Utilities thrilled, worried about electric cars

Utilities thrilled, worried about electric cars.

When plugged in, an electric car can draw as much power as a house. The surge in demand could knock out power to a home, or even a neighborhood.

By Jonathan Fahey, APMon, Nov 22 2010

"A combined 30,000 Nissan Leafs and Chevrolet Volts are expected to be sold over the next year. Over the next two years, Ford, Toyota and every other major automaker also plan to offer electric cars."

"Auto executives say it's inevitable that utilities will experience some difficulties early on."

http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/ene...-electric-cars
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:24 PM   #2
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Re: Utilities thrilled, worried about electric cars

I think this article is a little over the top.

"An electric car can draw as much power as a house"?

An electric water heater draws about 5000 watts so the current 3,300 watt car chargers shouldn't be an issue. Even a 6,600 watt charger would only draw about 30 amps (a typical kitchen range runs on a 50 amp breaker so it likely draws only 40 amps with all burners and the oven going).

Most older homes have 100 amp service (22,000 watts) even the Tesla charger doesn't draw that much power. New homes in this area must have 200 amp service.

It is likely that they could just design some sort of computerized switch so that the water heater would kick off at night while the car was charging. Or even have it interact with the air conditioning system so that when the compressor periodically kicked off, the charger is activated and vice versa.

I agree that electric usage will increase, but if most people charged their cars at night (when the grid still has lots of capacity) it shouldn't be a huge issue- until everyone gets an electric car. And by the time everyone gets an electric car, the electric rates would increase to the point where it would cost 50 cents per mile in electricity to drive one so people would cut down on their driving.

If everyone tried to charge their car during the day, then yes, it would be a big issue.
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Old 02-01-2011, 07:38 PM   #3
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Re: Utilities thrilled, worried about electric cars

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erik View Post
It is likely that they could just design some sort of computerized switch so that the water heater would kick off at night while the car was charging. Or even have it interact with the air conditioning system so that when the compressor periodically kicked off, the charger is activated and vice versa.
Thanks for putting that in perspective, I was thinking in terms of 110 volts thereby doubling amperage requirements.

I'm sure those "computerized switches" exist in several forms. I recall having to lease a fridge/microwave combo for my kids while they were at college. First it looked like a money grab, turns out to be a unitized consruction with said switching to prevent overloads.
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Old 02-01-2011, 11:13 PM   #4
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Re: Utilities thrilled, worried about electric cars

Try running a stick welder, large air compressor, and your dryer. All of those pull a lot of amps when in use. Sure, the overall power usage would increase. Most of it would occur at night even without intelligent chargers.
Above that, the chargers would float on and off. When the car was fully charged, the charger would stop charging.
The increase in overall power consumption has probably already been planned for. I imagine most areas are planning for higher usage as the years go by.

Even a 100amp service would work just fine for the 3300 watts assuming you weren't running the dryer, welder, and air compressor at the same time. (even that is probably possible, I'd have to look at the specs on the welder/air compressor.

All new homes in my area have to be 200 amp service by code. That seems to be the way of the future. I guess people are already planning on using tons more electricity in the future.

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Old 02-01-2011, 11:25 PM   #5
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Re: Utilities thrilled, worried about electric cars

Forgot to mention:
16,800 watts at a shot is a decent amount of juice. I suspect, however, that the owners of these electric sports cars will be in a high enough income bracket to have 200 amp service anyway.

OTOH, the only way these chargers will make sense for a lot of people is to charge the car quickly. That means the higher wattage chargers will be much more common. That could be a big issue in California, I imagine.
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Old 02-02-2011, 03:38 AM   #6
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Re: Utilities thrilled, worried about electric cars

I don't think the issue in question is the service to individual houses, but rather the combined load on the grid when the whole neighborhood is charging their cars. Sure, each house is pulling no more current than it normally would with all its services running, but now it's doing it at 100% duty cycle along with the rest of the houses instead of only half of the houses doing it at any moment.

I don't think it's a real problem though. Electric companies will happily find ways to charge enough to cover their costs (and profits) for upgrading transmission systems. The manufacturers who supply those systems will thrive. Maybe it'll be good for the economy.
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Old 02-02-2011, 08:34 AM   #7
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Re: Utilities thrilled, worried about electric cars

I agree with HC-
Utilities here are a joke. There is only one electricity provider. There are a couple of sources, but the company that sells it to you have a monopoly.
Is it that way where you live?

The utilities usually come out on top. They really can't lose.
Either way, seeing production electric cars is really a good thing in my mind. I'm glad it's happening to some extent in my lifetime.
Now, that being said, electric cars have been around since the 1800's. It's also a travesty that we haven't gotten here sooner.
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Old 08-26-2014, 08:30 PM   #8
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It is normal to encounter problem for a new invention. Good thing improvement is continuous. New research into the lithium-ion batteries used in electric and hybrid vehicles may create a battery that yields a longer range for the driver, as well as eliminating the fire dangers associated with the batteries presently being used. The secret, claims the report, is in trading out the liquid electrolytes for an innovative solid form.
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Old 04-01-2016, 03:36 AM   #9
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Much of this thread is a non issue.
Utilities have a problem with lack of draw on the grid at night. Many electric cars charging at night would help them. It should be a cheaper rate. Of course restricted to at night.
This is why you can get a street light from your utility at a flat rate that is cheaper than putting one up yourself. The cost of the electricity is discounted.
So. Cal. Edison has a string of lakes in the Sierras. At night, the generators literally pump water back up to a higher lake. This uses up power at night.
A typical large generator takes 24 hours to put online. They can't easily turn them on and off.
For those in So. Cal. ... I wonder if their enron fiasco has made it uneconomical to own an electric vehicle? Last I heard. Rates were something like 27 cents a kwh? That's outrageous. But places like the City of Los Angeles public utilities are reasonable.
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