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Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

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Published by Michael James Casey

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Michael James Casey on Dec 27, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Tis report is a critical examination o the eorts being put orth by governments and private corporations to prepare the United States or widespread usage o electric vehicles (EVs). While the technology to run auto-mobiles on electrons rather than ossil uels has existed or decades, there has been a recent resurgence in theEV industry, due to hey ederal incentives and the impending rollout o several new all-electric vehicles romseveral automobile manuacturers. Although a consumer’s options or the purchase o a new electric vehicle aregoing to exponentially increase, there are still many steps to be taken in terms o electric power inrastructure andthe recharging process, beore EVs can truly become a protable and substantial share o the global automobilemarket. Te report will begin with a recent history o electric vehicles and brie overview o some o the latestmodels about to arrive in American showrooms. Next will be a technical breakdown o the battery recharge process, ollowed by analysis o how energy utilities are going to meet demand, with a ocus upon the leading e-orts o Portland, Oregon and the west coast as a whole. Te second hal o the report will discuss the lingering environmental consequences that still accompany a shi rom ossil uels to grid power, ollowed by a compari-son between the EV inrastructure goals that have been set orth by China and the United States. Te goal o the report is to assess current implementation eorts and give a comprehensive overview o how the widespreadrollout o electric vehicles will be acilitated by corporations and governments in the next decade and beyond.
by Michael James Casey, December 9, 2010
Troughout most o the 20th century, automobilemanuacturing represented the backbone o theU.S. economy, with “locally made cars powered bylocally-produced oil”. But by the start o the 21stcentury, the once sturdy U.S. auto industry had beensupplanted by oreign made cars running on oreign-sourced oil, to keep up with the climbing Americandemand. Te market or producing and powering  vehicles has shied overseas so much that today,every time an American purchases a new car, theyare exporting $15,000 in capital to oreign econo-mies that provide the oil and parts to run that car
.Electric vehicles as a viable alternative to traditionalcars did not truly enter the mainstream consciousness
until the major oil crises o the early 1970s, whichmade clear or the rst time that the developing world was rapidly depleting the planet’s crude oil stock.Te shock o sudden uel shortages awakened acomplacent auto industry to the need or improving engine eciency while also developing alternative propulsion technologies. Aer the crisis passed andthe country re-entered an era o cheap and seem-ingly abundant oil, this early spark o progress wasstifed by the public’s demands or increasingly largeand consumptive personal vehicles, epitomized bythe “SUV craze” that gripped automobile makersor the better part o the past two decades. In thethree plus decades since C.A.F.E. standards wererst mandated at 18 MPG, that rate has only risen to
Electric Vehicle Inrastructure
ongoing development o hybrid vehicles by agrowing list o manuacturers has spurred newdesign innovations in battery technology,gradually reducing weight and increasing powerstorage capabilities and driving range
, steadilyimproving the appeal o all-electric vehicles as viable transportation options or American drivers.
Te New EVs
Aer years o well-publicized research and promotion, a number o major automobilemakers are poised to rollout new electric vehiclesor the 2011 model year. Between next year and2014, the infux o EVs into the marketplace willaccelerate rom a trickle to a deluge, as over thirtycarmakers have announced plans to introducenew electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid modelsin the coming years
. Te earliest o these modelsare the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Lea, with the35 MPG, while according to the census bureau thereare 117,000 gas stations operating in the UnitedStates, or one gas station or every 2,500 people
.Tere was a well-documented push to bring all-elec-tric vehicles into the mainstream in the 1990s, withGeneral Motors developing and test-leasing theirEV1 model to buyers in select markets in the Ameri-can southwest beginning in 1996. Aer producing nearly 1,200 o the vehicles, in early 2002 GM beganrecalling the vehicles rom lessees and systematicallydestroying them. Te ollowing year, GM’s CEORick Wagoner ocially cancelled the EV1 program,citing doubts that the company could sell enough o the cars to make it a protable long term investment.It is remarkable to consider that in less than a de-cade since abandoning their electric vehicle pro-gram, GM is now heavily reinvested in developing EVs or its automobile portolio. Tis abrupt turn-around is due to a number o actors. In the aer-math o the nancial collapse o late 2008, assistancein the orm o a government bailout o GM andChrysler ollowed the near-collapse o both compa-nies in 2009. Forcing out Rick Wagoner, the Obamaadministration was explicit in their stipulationthat nancial assistance was contingent upon GMre-tooling their manuacturing process or small-er, more ecient models while simultaneouslyexploring new propulsion options or their vehicles.In the years since GM lost out on the earliest stages o the electric vehicle era with termination o the EV1,oyota has taken up the slack with its wildly popu-lar Prius model. Instead o a purely electric vehicle,the Prius utilizes both a battery pack and traditionalgasoline engine, a compromise that allows drivers toexploit the eciency advantages o electric propul-sion with an unlimited driving range. Aer a decadeo production, oyota Motor corporation has soldover two million Priuses worldwide
, and while thisonly represents a small portion o the 1 billion strong global vehicle feet, the success o the electric-gas hy-brid rom oyota has orced GM and other car com- panies to develop their own electric vehicle modelsin order to compete. Just in the past ew years, the
Te systemic destruction o GM’s rst electric ehicle project Te hybrid-electric 2011 Cherolet Volt 
ormer being a range extender EV (battery toppedby a gas-powered generator) and the latter being a purely battery driven vehicle
. Te Volt is aimed atthe driver with a disposable income (prices start at$40,000) who is wary o being stranded roadside with a dead battery, oering 40 initial miles o all-electric driving until the small gas engine kicks into extend range up to hundreds o miles
. Te Lea, which costs signicantly less ($25,280 aer a ed-eral tax credit), is an all-electric vehicle with a statedrange o 100 miles, aimed at the earliest technol-ogy adopters who have the capacity to charge their vehicle overnight in their own garages. o increasethe Leas viability and chances or long-term suc-cess, Nissan is banking on the widespread imple-mentation o electric vehicle inrastructure along American roads in the near uture. Te companyis condent enough in its prospects that it has al-ready retooled its manuacturing plant in Smyrna,ennessee to make up to 150,000 Leas annually
.In addition to these new models rom the majorautomobile players, there are growing number o electric vehicle startups making notable inroads intothe EV industry. Coda Automotive is a Caliornia-based company that is developing an all-electricsedan with a range o 120 miles, powered by Chinesebatteries and American electronics and assembled inOakland, the company plans to put 14,000 Codason the road starting next year with prices starting at $37,000
. Smith Electric Vehicles is a KansasCity-based subsidiary o the UK automotive com- pany. Tey developed a line o all-electric mediumduty trucks or delivery feets that run on electric
Te 100% electric 2011 Nissan Lea  
 power trains made by Enova Systems o or-rance, CA, to be initially sold to major deliverycompanies like UPS and FedEx
. Compared to thedirectional whims o individual vehicle owners, theset routes that are driven by delivery trucks makerange anxiety less o an issue or delivery companies.Over the next ew years, EVs are sure to take hold o the automobile market in a signicant way, but willbe most concentrated in urban locations and with-in local delivery feets
. Electric vehicles will notappear on a majority o American roads until thereis a recharging network with enough reach to acili-tate travel not only within but between major cities.
Charging Infrastructure
Running more and more vehicles on electrons insteado ossil uel will require both a substantial invest-ment in power distribution inrastructure and signi-icant public education eorts. Tere are three powerlevels o recharging stations that have been identiedby electricity providers.
Level I
is a standard 120-voltelectric outlet, which can be ound in the garage o many homes and will ully recharge an EV battery in14 hours.
Level II
is a 240-volt/32 amp AC system with a specialized plug and socket (similar to the onesused or rerigerators), which will ully charge a bat-tery in 4 to 8 hours but require substantial electricityservice upgrades or homeowners.
Level III
is a 500- volt/125 amp system that will charge a battery in just30 minutes, but require three phase electric circuits(similar to the ones ound in the rooop HVACsystems o high rises) and in the case o service sta-tions with multiple recharge points, will require anelectricity capacity on the order o megawatts
. Widespread usage o electric vehicles will presentthe U.S. economy with a variety o downstreambusiness oppurtunities. Te recharging o EVs willrepresent a huge increase in the peak load demandon electric power utilities, and will be dependent ontechnology or charging providers to communicate with power plants or load shedding and suddenincreases in demand. Utilities and large electricalequipment manuacturers are realizing the potentialo the Electric Vehicle Service Equipment (EVSE)

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