Another week, another astonishing claim from some other Chinese institute
At this rythm, by the end of the year they'll be declaring the flying car.
The world's top battery maker for electric vehicles, China's Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL), claimed last week that it had developed a battery that can power a car for a distance of 400km after just ten minutes of charging. But one of the world's most respected battery tech scientists, Dr Richard Yazami – …
It's great we don't have to worry about the mass of the car, driving conditions, driving style or charger power any more.
Lithium Titanate batteries charge like stink. The downside is they aren't as energy dense as LFP. Fine for a bus, not as good for a passenger car. Other types of Li batteries are less prone to self-immolation and further types are great for lots of cycles. It's going to be a combination of traits that makes for the best battery for a particular application.
When people are looking at speakers they'll be impressed by lots of power handling as the sole criteria, which is silly. I could glue a voice coil made from a coat hanger to a Lead cone and have a woofer capable of absorbing all sorts of power until the Lead melted. Other than the melty cone, the sound output would be pretty feeble and the frequency response would be very limited, but 3kW of power handling shouldn't be an issue. Oh, did you want lots of sound for that power? Hmmm, maybe some other factors such as efficiency are important too. If size isn't a big constraint, I can offer some plans for a subwoofer that will rattle the neighborhood with a very modest power input. In the days when a 50W amplifier was a monster topped with glass tubes and the ability to heat a cinema, efficiency was super important.
The moral of the story is to not get too fixated on one metric while ignoring others that can be just as important.
At least with public transport systems the battery type can be picked to suit the planned usage, for private cars the battery type will be a trade off tending towards the cheapest that gives the initial 'Range X after Y mins'*.
The average bus also has the advantage of being big enough that simple battery pack swap outs can easily be accommodated in the design, potentially making vehicle charging a moot point for a fleet operator. A return to the past when the bus sales bod would offer a range of engine options from different manufacturers.
*at the end of any warranty period if you're lucky!
for private cars the battery type will be a trade off tending towards the cheapest that gives the initial 'Range X after Y mins'*.
Or, as with current ICE cars, different fuel types and engine capacities allowing the purchasers to choose if they want long, range, high performance, economy etc, which doesn't have to be limited to choice of make/model but the battery pack itself, both capacity and the type of battery could be a user choice based on their needs within the constraints of the drive train.
Ideally, this wold mean standardised battery packs, at least per manufacturer if not across the board. It doesn't have tp be a single pack per vehicle, maybe just a number of easily interconnectable batteries of a standard shape and size.
"The average bus also has the advantage of being big enough that simple battery pack swap outs can easily be accommodated in the design, potentially making vehicle charging a moot point for a fleet operator. "
It turns out that swapping batteries isn't the simple process that was promised. High-voltage, High-current connectors are expensive and frequent cycling can cause really bad problems. Packs, especially truck and bus modules, are very heavy so they require cranes and trained/certified personnel.
A city bus on a fixed route is easy to plan for. Consider that drivers have breaks every hour to two often at the ends of a route so a bus can charge while the driver goes off to spend a penny. This is where fast charging tech has a great place. The bus doesn't need gobs of range so energy density isn't as big of a concern, but charging in 10 minutes is a big deal. Overhead lines are good for this sort of thing too as it means there isn't ground level infrastructure or the need for the driver to mess with plugs. Routes can have charging in multiple places too so even a few minutes is useful when the bus is waiting to match up with the timetable.
"And according to the US Department of Transportation, typical home, workplace and public level 2 chargers can take a battery from FULL TO EMPTY in anywhere from four to ten hours."
When talking about anything coming from a government agency, there's no end to how things can get screwed up.
I don't think that my brain could ever construct a sentence with the word "charger" and "Full to Empty".
It's even more silly when most EV owners don't drive their cars until the battery is flat any more than people will challenge the fuel gauge gods and wait until the needle is well and truly on the E before buying petrol. People charging at home/work/shopping will plug in if they are leaving their car parked and there's an open spot. A really slow set of L2 chargers at a train station is a good thing if people are commuting by train and will be parked up for 9+ hours at a time. If those are cheap, they'll likely fill up first. If you have off-street parking at home, slow is fine too and means it can be easier to provision.
And when the car is fully charged in a few hours but your in the office, a train ride away, who disconnects the car so the next person can use it? maybe the European/UK idea of having your own cables is the better idea. The charger could "eject" the cable from the charger end when full and have, for example, four parking bays per charger so at least other get a fair crack of the whip. There may need to be some care taken when ejecting a cable from the charger that is still plugged into the the care if it's raining or snowing though :-)
"And when the car is fully charged in a few hours but your in the office, a train ride away, who disconnects the car so the next person can use it? "
At an office, it would be easy to have a rota so people would move their car durning a break, lunch, etc. At a train station, the idea is to provide lots of low power charging which can be easier to provision so people don't have to move. Nothing says there can't be a charge for that. So much emphasis is put on fast charging that consideration isn't given to situations where that's not the best option. At someplace like an airport, charging could be both slow and managed so there's a queue for power. When you plug in, the system verifies all is well by charging for a minute or less and then shuts off until it's that car's turn. That technology is already available for fleet operators.
"Yeah, empty and full should be the other way around. We missed that in the edit as we were focusing on other aspects of the story."
We had already blamed some government flunky and you go and own up? What were you thinking?
(obviously somebody that doesn't have much experience working in a corporate environment)
J.D. Power, also cite a lack of charging infrastructure and price as factors influencing purchasing decisions.
I own an electric car. Whilst the amount of chargers and their prices are issues, they're not the number 1 problem for an electric car driver. It's the availability/reliability of chargers that's my biggest worry on longer journeys.
If I can guarantee getting to a charger and it working and being able to use it in a timely manner (i.e. not having to wait an hour or more before I can plug in) planning longer trips is much less stressful. At the moment, I work on the assumption that my prefered charge point won't be working and plan backup locations.
Some of the newer motorway service stations have large rows of chargers, but some motorway service stations have just two chargers.
I see in quite a lot of supermarkets and even hospital parking that charging spaces are taken by EV's, but they have not plugged in to charge.
Its as if they feel, these spaces are for EV's regardless of if I need to charge, so I will take it and leave the poor sucker who is coming here and needs to charge no where to go
Right, but you're assuming they're plugged in to charge.
I've seen Tesla c*nts using charging stations like parking spots, not even plugged in and pretending to charge, so they won't get the "idle fine"
They may or may not have gotten a handful of roofing nails under the rear tire. I couldn't possibly say.
In a nearby car park are a couple of spaces with freshly painted EV spaces, and a hole where gubbins will presumably go. Already EV drivers are parking there like they own it now. It's as if one has peed electrolyte around the perimeter and claimed the territory for their pack. I'm not upset, just amused.
(Icon is of a red Tesla Roadster seen head on but at close range so it has a strong perspective effect)
My recent motorway stops in Denmark were of large charge stations that could accommodate around 20 cars charging at a time. Only 3 or 4 in use, but good to see they're planning ahead. Didn't get to see the power output, but they did have solar panel roofing so I guess also some sort of long-term storage batteries that can collect solar + smooth out the load.
In Germany I didn't particularly notice many at the petrol station stops (though they could be hidden away somewhere) but I did notice that many motorway rest stops (ie toilet + picnic table stops with no petrol station) had 2 or 3 places, so maybe the strategy there is to spread them around more. Seen a few 350kW ones there.
Generally speaking a lot more passenger travel happens during the day than at night so solar-heavy renewables could support the grid in this respect.
There might be some multi-charger stops, but there are many with just a single up-to 50 kW charger installed under the aegis of some EU project or other e.g.
Karlslunde (has more now, used to be just one)
Things have got better over the past few years, with off-motorway charging points turning up at petrol stations and dedicated charging centres, like Fredericia Lynlader, but actual on-motorway charging at rest-stops that have petrol stations is lousy, and the more rural bits of Denmark are even worse. I've spent time pootling around towns finding the supermarket with a single fast charger in its car park and waiting in the queue to use it.
There's a tipping point where the range of the car and the density of chargers makes it no longer a problem, but the well-organised Danes are not there yet.
As far as the EU is concerned, I believe the aim is to have a fast charger every 60km on the TEN-T routes
Also pay-by-credit or debit-card or contactless (phone) is being mandated without the need for a subscription, and a requirement to display pricing at the charging point is also being mandated.
Denmark isn't quite a charging paradise, but after 2025, I hope substantial progress across Europe will have been made, Denmark included.
Agreed, I don't understand why that was not mandated right at the beginning. Now, even if mandated, it's going to take years before it becomes the norm other than on new charge points. The operators will all whinge about cost and time to retrofit existing points and lobbying will probably gain them years more time. Could you imagine the problems if the current subscription/payment methods used for EVs existed for petrol/diesel?
""pay-by-credit or debit-card or contactless (phone) is being mandated without the need for a subscription"
This should absolutely be imposed on all charging stations"
I'd also like to see cash being an option at some chargers that are coupled to a business. I've had my debit card disabled while on a business trip due to somebody trying to use it fraudulently to buy plane tickets in S. Africa. It's good the bank caught it, but they weren't that motivated to help me out at all and I would have been stranded if I didn't have workmates that could lend me some cash to pay my hotel bill, buy food and petrol for the trip home. There could be network issues as well so if the business could take cash and activate the charger, I could still download some electrons.
"My recent motorway stops in Denmark were of large charge stations that could accommodate around 20 cars charging at a time. Only 3 or 4 in use, but good to see they're planning ahead. Didn't get to see the power output, but they did have solar panel roofing so I guess also some sort of long-term storage batteries that can collect solar + smooth out the load."
The permitting and site prep can be much less per slot over thinking they'll come back later to install more when demand picks up.
Electric companies can charge a 'demand' fee so having on-site battery storage lets the chargers provide maximum power to cars without having to pay hefty added fees. Some places that don't have local lines that can serve high power chargers can use a battery to level the load without having to pay the electric company for what it would cost to run new lines, plus 10%.
I haven't finished my first caffeine injection yet so that may be the reason your post doesn't seem to make sense.
-- Whilst the amount of chargers and their prices are issues, they're not the number 1 problem for an electric car driver. It's the availability/reliability of chargers that's my biggest worry on longer journeys. --
Aren't availability and amount of chargers directly related? I understand lack of reliability may reduce the amount available to be used as will the "plug in and wander off for coffee" system that is espoused by the we love EV people. However the single biggest determinant of availability is liable to be the amount of chargers.
"It's the availability/reliability of chargers that's my biggest worry on longer journeys."
I'd say that if government is going to pump money into EV's, they should be subsidizing or guaranteeing loans for people looking to get certified to install and repair charging infrastructure. They shouldn't be paying companies to install more if there's no way to keep them maintained or it just means more dead units as the few people that can service them are stretched too thin.
My experience of them in colleagues company EV's is that it is a crapshoot whether the charging station's billing app works or not.
This is rather problematic when you have what is otherwise a 2-tonne paperweight on station.
What's so bloody difficult about insert credit card (contactless if you have to), type in pin number and go? But nooo, please register with our app so we can sell your personal data, yada...
every few days it seems some company or other announces amazing battery improvements.
But in the real world, actual real improvements are small and pretty much insignificant/tiny overall, due to chemistry and physics unless some completely unknown material with very weird properties is found, we are stuck with approximately what we have now, there will be tweaking at the edges (main due to balancing the charge rate/temperature/cycles/exploding in flames factor) but nothing profound or earth changing.
(and for tesla fan twats, musky made a new battery with 50% more charge with the brilliant method of making the battery 50% larger, pure fucking genius con)
"...in the real world, actual real improvements are small and pretty much insignificant/tiny overall, due to chemistry and physics..."
The theoretical chemistry predicts battery capacities of well over 1kWh/kg, and current thinking is that producing real-life batteries of almost 1kWh/kg could be achievable. There's a lot of research money in this area, and capacities have been rising pretty quickly over the last 10-15 years - real-life (ie in commercially sold cars) density has increased from about 100 to 250 Wh/kg, which is approx 10% per year improvement. That is absolutely not small, insignificant or tiny.
I get that the article is more about charge times than energy density, but these have also been improving hand-in-hand with energy density.
In practical terms, I also get why the new emphasis is on charge time rather than energy density. For an EV anything above 250Wh/kg is a bonus, since 125 kW is a huge battery size and EVs are already perform fairly well with half-ton batteries. OTOH, being able to top up your 'tank' in 10 minutes would bring EVs almost totally on par with ICEs for convenience (as long as the charging infrastructure is there of course)
"In practical terms, I also get why the new emphasis is on charge time rather than energy density. For an EV anything above 250Wh/kg is a bonus, since 125 kW is a huge battery size and EVs are already perform fairly well with half-ton batteries. OTOH, being able to top up your 'tank' in 10 minutes would bring EVs almost totally on par with ICEs for convenience (as long as the charging infrastructure is there of course)"
If you can drive 4-5 hours on a charge, that's the time between two meals. I'd be stopping sooner since my iron bladder has rusted over time. For several years I have been logging my trips and 20 minutes is typical for a non-meal stop which includes filling up with petrol. I'll visit the loo, buy some cold drinks, clear out any trash, check in with family/friends and check highway info to see if there are any issues on the next segment. While I'm doing all of those tasks, the car could be charging. I like to get out of the car for meals, so meal stops are 40-45 minutes with all of the above included unless I'm also doing some sightseeing. With a car that charges quickly, that's going to mean a 90% charge a lot of the time. More than enough. 500-600 miles of range isn't all that useful for a passenger car and will mean a very heavy battery that's going to impact city driving due to the increased mass. Yes, there are a few people that constantly drive coast to coast in the US, but that's way off on the right hand side of the curve. If somebody really needed to get someplace 600 miles away, it would be faster to fly to the nearest airport and go from there.
There was a guy I worked with that lives in Los Angeles and has some family in Chicago. He thought that if there were a family emergency, he could jump in his car and just start driving so having an EV would be a bad thing since it would take longer to make that trip. I couldn't get through to him that he'd get to Chicago much faster if he went home, looked up the first flight he could get leaving enough time to pack, shower and get to the airport even it would be the next morning. Even assuming that he could drive non-stop, he couldn't beat flying and it would also cost less too. One road closure or slow detour and it would be an even greater difference. That's very likely as it's around 2,000 miles. I just looked at G-maps and there's a herd of little working man icons for both of the major routes with an estimate of a 4 hour flight time (adding another 5 for the not-flying part).
There has to be a balance between energy density, safety, battery life and charging speed. A 1kWh/kg density is useless if it only means 100 cycles or it's prone to bursting into flames or takes days to charge.
Even if we DID have enough charges and an ability to charge that quick, the problem is that the power grids are nowhere near ready for delivering that amount of power - they already have a job keeping up with companies switching to electric power. I know that there's a stop in the Netherlands, for instance, of adding new industrial clients to the network as it's basically at capacity and fixing that isn't done overnight.
It will happen as the demand exists, but not quite at the speed that current proponents predict.
That is how most of them buffer, indeed. The problem is that the power has to get there first which is where the issue lies.
Another solution may be on the horizon called SMR (Small Modular Reactors) of whatever type (traditional fissile or the fertile model with Thorium that is under development) that take less time to build than a "traditional' reactor and act more as 'point' solutions rather than the 'big plant' concept we're currently using which needs the power network to be strong enough for distribution (which is the actual problem).
As I said, I expect this bottleneck to be addressed as it's already in progress in a number of nations, it just takes a bit more time than current "EV everywhere" advocates seem to incorporate in their planning.
"Even if we DID have enough charges and an ability to charge that quick, the problem is that the power grids are nowhere near ready for delivering that amount of power"
They seem to be up to the task of sending that power to all of the refineries, petrol stations, etc.
The added factor is most electric companies have EV tariffs that charge much less when using power in the wee hours when they have lots of unused capacity.
Taking a reasonably efficient EV doing 0.15 kWh/km, we're talking 60kWh of charge in 10 min for a battery that has a full capacity of 105kWh, for 700km total range. 60kWh in 10 minutes requires charging power of 360kW (technically a bit higher due to charging inefficiency). If (as is likely) there is some marketing 'taking-the-piss' and using the 400km claim for a super-efficient unloaded EV under optimal (and unrealistic) conditions, and in real-life conditions it would only really add 300km, then that's 45kWh of charge in 10 min for a battery of just less than 80kWh and total range 525km (which, incidentally, is far closer to the capacities in real-life batteries). That would require charging at 270kW average.
Chargers already exist that can deliver 350kW, although that doesn't mean the battery can handle charging at that power. Having said that, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 (which was introduced in 2021) with 800V charging is already achieving real-life charging power of about 160kW average and 220 kW peak. (Source: https://electrek.co/2021/10/22/electric-vehicle-ev-charging-standards-and-how-they-differ/ + linked article re Hyundai Ioniq). The company claim they will have the battery in cars by 2024 (3 years from introduction of Ioniq)
Bottom line, it's fairly likely that rather than absolute bullshit, it's a reasonably strong (but predictable given 3-year lag) increase in charging power, which is certainly to be applauded, but which has also (equally predictably) been over-hyped by their marketing.
Quick calculation - EVs seem to get around 6..7km to the kWh, so 400km would require at least 60kWh of charge. To get that in 10 minutes would mean a charge rate of 360kW. Even the fastest chargers don't currently get anywhere near that. And I believe the highest charging voltage currently in use is 800V, at which 360kW translates to 450A, which would need a rather hefty cable and connectors. None of this is insurmountable, but it's going to need a lot of infrastructure improvements to make this new battery technology viable.
The fastest chargers on the market that I know if, Ionity, will do 350kW, and my friend in his Porsche Taycan has successfully charged at that rate so they do deliver it. Not sure where you're based but these are all over Europe (and in the UK, where as well as being installed, some of them even work). Yes, it's at 800V/450A, and to get that rate you need to "precondition" (aka heat) your battery before you pull into the charging station.
" the highest charging voltage currently in use is 800V, at which 360kW translates to 450A, which would need a rather hefty cable and connectors"
I've built power supplies up to 300A and the wiring has been quite manageable (high capacity welding cable up to around 15mm diameter)). The connectors are also not to problematic provided they are coupled cold and clamp tightly, as the big problem with high currents is arcing. But in the UK, the mains voltage is single phase 240V RMS (340V peak) and the typical maximum current at the meter is 100A (or 60A for older properties) RMS from which you'd get about 70A (or 42A) DC even ignoring conversion losses. So you'd need at least a 1kA incomer if you want to charge at this sort of rate at home and a huge amount of rewiring will be needed, primarily to the public infrastructure if everyone wants to. This is the elephant in the street -- the potential need for feeds down the roadway in the order of tens of kA, or alternatively the complete redesign of the local distribution network to bring kV to the premises (with all the associated hazards that implies). It looks as if travelling to public charging stations will be the realistic way forward for most folks (just like now with ICVs).
Above 100A 69kVA in the UK and you are looking at 3-phase in most cases. 360kW out at 95% conversion efficiency would be 550A per phase. But for domestic use that is never going to happen as typically we have around 100 homes per 500kVA substation. Two chargers and that is overloaded, before we even talk about upgrading street cables, etc!
So such fast chargers will be at public or big company premises that have 11kV supplies coming in, as realistically who needs to charge in tens of minutes at home? Home or work the car will be sitting there for 5+ hours at a time, so no big rush.
"So you'd need at least a 1kA incomer if you want to charge at this sort of rate at home and a huge amount of rewiring will be needed, primarily to the public infrastructure if everyone wants to."
Charging at home, cars would typically have a whole overnight, at least 8-10 hours, so 240V X 40A (<10 kW) would be quite enough, no home rewiring needed. On-street, or somewhere like a supermarket forecourt parking, cars could be left for a couple of hours, and in situations where it's more of a topping-up rather than a full charge. No need for super-fast charging, anything in the range of 20-50 kW is probably sufficient. Again, probably no rewiring needed to provide a handful of parking/charging spots. What I think will happen is a lot more 'local endpoints' will be using far larger parts of their total rated capacity than they currently do, and that will mean a lot of the upstream power infrastructure at the substation / distribution and generation level would need to be improved / upgraded to handle the increased loads.
The requirement for super-fast charging is for the type of motorway journey where you would want to fill up as quickly as possible and move on, so in this case they would probably need brand-new infrastructure that can handle far larger loads eg 250 kW at a single point X 20 vehicles charging at once is 5MW requirement. Although halving the charging times doesn't necessarily mean doubling the power requirements since if you could charge at 500kW for 10minutes rather than 250kW for 20, that would see greater rotation in charging bays, so maybe you would only need 12 rather than 20. A typical motorway petrol station has 12-16 pumps, plus usually another 2-4 for commercial vehicles, and is very rarely fully occupied.
"A typical motorway petrol station has 12-16 pumps, plus usually another 2-4 for commercial vehicles, and is very rarely fully occupied."
Probably because the only people who refuel at a MSA are either a) running on fumes having forgotten to refuel elsewhere and will therefore pay the MSA markup to avoid being stranded, or b) getting someone else to pay for their fuel...
"the only people who refuel at a MSA are either a) running on fumes having forgotten to refuel elsewhere and will therefore pay the MSA markup to avoid being stranded, or b) getting someone else to pay for their fuel..."
I never really understood that mentality, but maybe it depends on the exact factors in play. If there is a fuel station close to the motorway off-ramp that sells fuel 10% cheaper, sure, go for it. However my experience is that off-motorway fuel stations sell fuel around 5% cheaper, and add 5-10 minutes to the journey. Maybe I can save £2.50 on a £50 tank, but it's cost me 10 minutes, which is selling my time for £15/hr. Not worth it for me.
Of course everyone can make their own valuation based on the actual cost of the fuel, difference between on-motorway and off-motorway, and how long it takes to get to the off-motorway.
Yup, similar around the M25 - a good 15-20% saving to be had compared with MSA pricing, and even once you come off the motorway onto other parts of the trunk route network like the A2, you'll still be looking at 10-15% markup from the services there compared with the local alternatives.
Plus, on the time-saving point, that doesn't really add up either around these parts - once you know (or have a satnav that knows on your behalf) where the convenient forecourts are just off the motorway, the time taken to get to/from them and resume your journey is barely (if at all) any different to the time required to reach the MSA forecourt given how convoluted some of the entry/exit routes are to those (e.g. South Mimms and Cobham, from the anti-clockwise side of the M25)...
"Probably because the only people who refuel at a MSA are either a) running on fumes having forgotten to refuel elsewhere and will therefore pay the MSA markup to avoid being stranded, or b) getting someone else to pay for their fuel..."
I've paid more and not worried about it as it might have been a whole 2 quid. An MSA is usually very quick to get to and from, has all the things a traveller might want and the time savings is worth the premium. It's not always cheaper to travel into a town to find a better price for petrol. Sometimes it's cheaper right at the end of the slip road.
Most people charging at home will only be topping the battery up.
If chargers are readily available the driver just has to make a minor mental adjustment. Instead of running the car until it's almost out of charge (like most of us do with ICE(*)) you charge them every time you park them. Most cars only do about 30 miles a day so even if your employer or shopping centre doesn't offer a charging facility you're still only putting 10% of the battery capacity in when you get back home. Most EVs will be recharged within fifteen minutes even on a slow charger.
(*)Okay so the more sensible of us think about refilling when the gauge says half empty but still. EV charging should be a different mindset. Very few car journeys require the vehicle to be driven for hundreds of miles between recharge points and if charging points are frequent enough it just isn't necessary.
Most people charging at home will only be topping the battery up.
Most of my charging is at home at less than 10p/kWh. My parents do most of their charging at home too. (Lucky buggers have solar so it's "free")
I feel that destination charging is the way to go as it's much cheaper than the public high power chargers.
> Charging at home, cars would typically have a whole overnight, at least 8-10 hours, so 240V X 40A (<10 kW)
The other problem (at least in the UK) is that the local distribution is struggling to keep up with the ever increasing use of electric power domestically (not to mention all those new homes being built), hence around my town for the last 3-4 years gangs of workmen have been digging trenches and laying ducting to run more power distribution cables.
Its a massive job though.
"The other problem (at least in the UK) is that the local distribution is struggling to keep up with the ever increasing use of electric power domestically (not to mention all those new homes being built), hence around my town for the last 3-4 years gangs of workmen have been digging trenches and laying ducting to run more power distribution cables."
That's mainly in the evening hours when people are getting home from work and school. At 2am, there's usually lots of capacity. We'll have to see how things shift when government bans gas and everybody has to shift their boilers, heating and hobs to leccy.
Some years ago my parents had an electric kiln installed in the their garage (mother was going through a pottery phase) and even the modest power requirements of that - only around 10kW - required them to have a completely new mains feed put in just for the kiln, at a cost of a lot of money.
I live in a block of flats and we have private parking, but away from the building. We can't even get the owner to build us a bike shed. There is no way in hell they're ever going to fork out for electric charging points of any sort whatsoever. And we're the lucky ones. Most of the rest of the people in the street don't have off street parking and can rarely even park within 100 meters of their own house. How are those people going to charge an electric car?
Without enormous investment of public money, this is never going to happen. Relying on private companies to build national infrastructure is pointless.
"There is no way in hell they're ever going to fork out for electric charging points of any sort whatsoever. "
Some landlords are going to be slow and others are going to see that if they put in some bog standard outlets that EV owners can use via their provided cordset, they can charge a monthly fee and earn a few bob. It doesn't have to be 10kW per space. At some point people will be looking for charging so properties not having it aren't going to be able to charge the going monthly rents as people look for places where there is charging.
If you live in a flat with no off-street parking, you aren't going to be in the best position to get an EV. I had a friend in San Francisco and there was no way she could own a car as parking was just a bit less dear than her rent. She used public transportation and had a small scooter. That's was just what she had to do to live in SF. I own my home now and it's in a small town where I have all sorts of space. I'd never go back to living cheek by jowl in a city flat. I get contacted all the time by headhunters (why are they all Indian, btw?) that want to recruit me for jobs in Silicon Valley and large cities. Sometimes I look the location and cost of living in the area and can see that there is no way the salary would be high enough to make the job worth moving from where I am. I make much less here, but that means I pay less in tax as a percentage and since my house is paid, I don't have much in the way of housing costs. Moving would put me right back on the treadmill of house payments (if I could afford to buy) or putting up with neighbors only 150mm away on 4 sides. No, yeah, no.
"Even the fastest chargers don't currently get anywhere near that. And I believe the highest charging voltage currently in use is 800V, at which 360kW translates to 450A, which would need a rather hefty cable and connectors."
So, USB-C won't cut it then? What's the specs. for USB-D?
It would be more than a weekend even if the vehicles electronics took no current. Doing the calculation of USB-C power output to battery charge time with 100W USB-C supply, 98% efficient 5V to charging voltage converter (the efficiency may be much lower) and 400kWh batery pack, the charge time would be about 6 months. Dont try this at home folks. I think I have the calculations right.
"To get that in 10 minutes would mean a charge rate of 360kW. "
10 minutes is too aggressive a time line. For a long trip, I know my stop times are twice that and I'm more than happy to take another 5 mins to save money on refueling.
Most people will claim 5-10 minutes to fill up a petrol/diesel car, but that's in-town when you can pull right up to a pump. The cheapest prices near me are always a 10-15 minute queue. It's not that often in town to need the loo, cold drinks and other things one might do on a long trip. Meals also add time and all of those things can be done while the car is charging since you aren't required to stand there watching the vehicle charge. Charging at home is the best feature of an EV so if that's not possible where you live, an EV might need to be something to think about in future. Charging at home means no 5-10 minute visits to a public charger to top up. The car can have a full charge every morning.
The 'full to empty' problem has been handled elsewhere :)
Regarding 'public level 2 chargers', not sure what problem you see. This is a US agency talking for a US audience. US homes are wired at 110-120V, so home chargers are level 1 chargers there. Level 2 chargers are 220-240V, which for European homes are home chargers, but for the US have to be commercial ones (hence public)
"US homes are wired at 110-120V, so home chargers are level 1 chargers there. Level 2 chargers are 220-240V, which for European homes are home chargers ..."
Not quite correct. US homes are fed 240VAC, two phase, with a neutral connection. Neutral to either phase is 120VAC for most home devices. However, high-current devices such as heat pumps, electric ranges, and clothes dryers use 240VAC by connecting to each phase. Neutral may or may not be used in such devices, depending upon internal requirements, e.g. a dryer with a 120 volt timer motor.
It is easy to have a level 2 charger at a US home.
"This is a US agency talking for a US audience. US homes are wired at 110-120V, so home chargers are level 1 chargers there."
Homes are commonly wired for 240v split phase (2x 120v) in the US. Adding Level 2 charging is possible and depending on where the panel is, can be easy or very expensive. I have a 240v outlet in my garage the former owner had installed to run a welder. I've changed the plug to match what's standard for motorhomes and ran the appropriate wire. The first gen Nissan Leaf only had around 80 miles of range and US owners often just charged them using the 120v EVSE that came with them. A 30 mile round trip commute to work and back could be replaced overnight without having to pay a sparky to fit a new outlet. If you can replace range at 5mile/hour and travel less than 50 miles per day, that works out. I could do that most of the time unless I had two field days back to back. To cover that, I'd need at least 2.4kW of charging or less if I didn't care about being completely topped up the next morning.
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You chain together those cheap TDA based "1000W audio amplifiers" off of teh Interwebs that run from 12V @ 15 Amps. Each stage gives you more than 5x as much power as went in. The only hard part is trying to figure out peak-to-peak momentary driving range into a 0.1 Ohm road.
Of course a plug and play battery cartridge swap out system would be quicker, just go to the battery station and swap your nearly empty one for a charged one; it could even be automated. Some have said that you will then need twice as many batteries in circulation but if you make them half the capacity with good infrastructure then problem solved. All it needs is for car companies to come up with a battery cartridge standard.
Car manufacturers would never agree to that, they'll all have their own extensions to the standard to explain why say, BMWs run better on genuine BMW batteries.
In any case it doesn't change the fundamental problems of getting enough energy to the battery swap stations to charge all the batteries they're storing. Then there's the small problem of persuading the local fire authority that the storage facility is safe. Personally I'd be happier with a SMR nuclear reactor next door than with a warehouse holding 200 Li-Ion car battery packs on charge.
" I get the impression that most car makers build the car around the batteries making it difficult to swap them out"
Elon is talking about making the battery pack a structural element of the car. To take one out, you would need a fixture to support the car while the battery is removed or it might bend and never go back together. Every service center will need several of those fixtures for each model that requires them. How many independent shops are going to want to invest in that?
You'd have a "musical chairs" problem. Batteries circle around from car to car. At some point the battery swap station says your battery is worth significantly less than a replacement. Pay $8000 for a swap.
Now consider the how honest these stations are going to be about $20000+ batteries. Also, you need new brake rotors or your car isn't safe to leave the shop. $1500.
"At some point the battery swap station says your battery is worth significantly less than a replacement. Pay $8000 for a swap."
I expect there would be a swap plan where you lease the battery in your car and every battery pack in the system would be at least a certain percentage of capacity from new.
"a swap plan where you lease the battery in your car and every battery pack in the system would be at least a certain percentage of capacity from new."
Great. Now, instead of keeping my fingers crossed that I can find a public charger, I have to keep my fingers crossed that my particular battery lease company has an outlet in the area. And what if I'm vacationing in a state that my lease company doesn't operate in? Etc. etc.
No. Just fucking no. The whole concept is flawed, right from the git-go. Electric cars don't scale, on so many levels.