back to article San Francisco enters Agassi's electric car dream

The San Francisco Bay Area has embraced Shai Agassi's Better Place vision, announcing a "sweeping plan" to drive public and private investments in electric cars and the infrastructure needed to run them. Today, at a press conference inside San Francisco City Hall, Mayor Gavin Newsom joined the mayors of nearby Oakland and San …


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  1. Charles Manning

    Just like minutes

    I envisage some of those iphone-style 7000 page itemised invoices.

    Drove 3 metres $0.01

    Hit brakes $0.02

    Drove 5 metres $0.01

    Hit brakes $0.02

    Turn left $0.05


  2. Chris C


    OK, I know somebody mentioned this in a comment the other day, but it's even more appropriate when we're talking about California. Let's for the moment assume that everyone has a new electric car. And let's even assume that there are charging stations all over the place, much like petrol stations today. Who will supply the power to the charging stations? Every year, California has problems with not having enough power supply for the demand (hence the bill/law to allow the utility companies to shut off residents' aircon units).

    Do we really think it's a good idea to flood the market with devices which will massively increase the demand for power without first finding an appropriate supply that can provide the capacity required?

    For those people who want to discuss slow-charging, let's discuss it. Let's use LA county as an example. According to the US census bureau, in 2006, LA county had 3,356,353 housing units (population was 9,948,081). Assume each of those housing units has an electric car that needs to be charged, and assume 70% of them will arrive home from work at the same time, and will begin charging their car. Even slow-charging at, say, 100W, that would be a power draw of 234.944 megawatts just to charge the cars. For the entire state of California, the number of households was 13,174,378. Using the same assumptions, the power draw for charging cars in the entire state would be 922.20 megawatts.

  3. Steve Lubman

    Perhaps charging is not as big a problem as you may think?

    CAL ISO currently shows the state's electrical generation capacity peaking at around 40,000 MW. I think that rises and falls as plants go online / offline, but that is what they are showing today.


    Electric vehicle charging would shift more load onto the grid at night, but historically the peak capacity the system had to be designed for was correlated with hot summer days and air conditioning usage.

    You should see that usage chart during a heat wave!

    And if we got a hot summer night, and blew the grid, we'd all just head to the beach for holiday :)

  4. Neil Stansbury

    @Chris C

    It's chicken and egg - but if the demand is there already, power companies have more of an incentive to find solutions to fill the market, rather than investing upfront & hoping that they find the demand.

  5. Anonymous John

    @ Just like minutes

    Now that's just silly. It would show yards not metres.

  6. b
    Thumb Down


    dam shame when tech innovations come out of mordor..

    i just can't bring myself to use technology that has been built on the bones of the palestinian homeland...


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ b

    "i just can't bring myself to use technology that has been built on the bones of the palestinian homeland..."

    Well you'd better take a good look at the software you have in your home and office then. You may be in for a nasty surprise.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Amongst other flaws in this system

    How are these going to be charged? Through a big hulking cable that you will have to plug in between the car and the source? And where will you store that for ready availability. Oh, that's right, just take up half the boot with it. You will NEVER be able to leave it out in a public charging area as some numpty will snip your cable and sell to the nearest junkyard for a fix.

    And the charge will be good for how many miles / days of driving? Thought not.

    And the batteries will be easily user changed / replaced? Thought not.

    California has a nice long ocean coast on which to generate plenty of leccy through wave / current action. Only problem is that California is a NIMBY state; so you won't be seeing any of that stuff there. They won't even drill off the coast for the oil and undersea methane they have readily available - NIMBY.


    @b - you're an idiot.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Flaws.

    It's a park in a special spot and attach the hose system, it doesn't sound like you plug it into the house.

    >How are these going to be charged?

    From a thing a bit like a parking meter or by battery swap, it mentions that in the article.

    >Through a big hulking cable that you will have to plug in between the car and the source?

    Probably attached to the parking meter like charging station that they mention in the article.

    >And where will you store that for ready availability.

    Probably a hook on the charging station that looks a bit like a parking meter.

    >And the charge will be good for how many miles / days of driving?

    They're claiming 150 miles in the newer cars, battery swap stations would give you a recharge as fast as petrol.

    >Only problem is that California is a NIMBY state

    Charge the batts off state and ship them in. Demand generally motivates people on these things.


    Is it just me or does everyone else think that people who use this phrase are complete witless morons?

  10. Pierre


    So now, all that California need is to buy enough oil to produce the leccy to fuel the cars. Oil consumption x5 to 10 as compared to oil-fuelled vehicles. Oil companies happy, mission accomplished. Or you could use (slightly, diy-modified) diesel engines running on crude colza oil, but it's not going to happen as there is no dough in it for the real masters of the US: oil companies. (and please don't begin the "food shortage" BS, it's mildly ridiculous when talking about ethanol, but it's completely moronic when talking about crude vegetable oil).

  11. sherry
    Thumb Up


    They are so ahead of the times and will set a precedence in this country that is badly needed. I say, go California, Go Arnold, Go Better Place, And come on America, get off your duff and go too! The gas prices this past year have seriously damaged our economy and society. We must get on with becoming energy independent.We can't take another year like this past. Jeff Wilson has a wonderful new book out about the energy crisis and what it would take for America to become energy independent. It covers every aspect of oil, what it's uses are besides gasoline, our reserves, our depletion of it. Every type of alternative energy is covered and it's potential to replace oil. He even has proposed legislative agenda's that would be necessary to implement these changes along with time frames. This book is profoundly informative and our country needs to become more informed and move forward with becoming energy independent. It is called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence NOW.

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