The Future of Electric Cars

By dancurranjr On December 3rd, 2010

Utilities across the country are studying hard and fast the demand on the grid that adding tens of thousands of electric cars will bring.  The worst case scenario:  a super-hot summer day, home air conditioners on full-blast and Electric Vehicle (EV) owners all getting home at 5 o’clock, plugging in their cars and neighborhood transformers start frying.

That’s not likely though, according to Duke Energy in Charlotte, N.C. along with the Electric Power Supply Association in Washington, D.C.  The number of Americans driving fully electric isn’t expected to be massive overnight, but a gradual transition from the gas engines almost all of us currently have.  But local and bulk distribution systems are being inspected to make sure a surge in demand doesn’t lead to blackouts..

As for the new “propulsion grid” that electric cars will need, car charging stations are being built in public parking places, condo garages and office parks, but so many more are needed, like at shopping malls and the parking lots of wherever EV owners work, so that while they’re not driving, their cars can be powering back up to full battery.   EVs need to recharge when they’re not being uses, as their range on the road is a fraction of gas engine vehicles.

Twenty thousand new car charging parking spots will be online by this upcoming summer.  But the two companies which have received millions of federal tax dollars to install charging stations in public places and apartment buildings are still finding the right spots and acquiring permission to set up at those spots.  ECOtality and Coulomb Technologies are first targeting about 35 major metro areas for their EV charging stations, but that leaves a lot of rural space and most of the nation without a car charging parking spot for miles and miles.

Bonnie and John Osher just bought a $100,000 Tesla Roadster.  It’s fully electric (not a gasoline hybrid) and can go 241 miles on one charge. Both are full of excitement to be going green when they go anywhere down the road.

“(I just love) that it’s fully electric, that we don’t have to go to a  gas station again, ever, ever, ever,” says Bonnie.

Fortunately for them, their Tesla’s range allows them to always get home each night to power back up in their garage.  But “range anxiety,” the fear of running out of EV power on the side of the road and becoming stranded before reaching a place to recharge, is real, and remains a major concern of potential electric vehicle buyers.

SOURCE: LiveShots

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