Oct 12, 2009

Electric Car Update

From the limited reading we have done on the subject of electric-powered motor vehicles, it seems range is one of the main complaints, ie they can only go around 100 miles without charging. That would make them a plausible option for an urban dweller going less than 10 miles to work and back but would not help those traveling hundreds of miles per week for their jobs.
Of course if the network of charging stations is more readily available then this range problem would be modified a bit.

It is interesting to see that Mr Agassi says the effect on the current electric grid would be negligible even if electric cars were in mass use.

We are for anything that lessens the current oil addiction and replaces it with power that can be made more locally and hopefully eventually sustainably.

Making Electric Cars Practical
Shai Agassi is the founder and CEO of Better Place, a company with plans to bring affordable electric cars to the U.S. by 2012.

What does Better Place do?
We’re an energy network for electric cars. We don’t make the cars—we’re working with Renault to do that—but we’ll build a network of stations and charging spots so that people can use them. Think of us as the equivalent of AT&T for electric cars.

Why don’t more people drive electric cars?
It’s a question of the chicken and the egg. Until now, nobody produced these cars, so there was no energy network in place. But if you don’t set up a network, nobody buys the cars. It’s the same with cellphones—no one would buy the phones if there were no networks to support them.

How close are you to setting up a system in the U.S.?
We’re already running pilot programs in Northern California and Hawaii. We plan to build more than 10,000 charging spots in public areas in California and have them operating by 2012.

If Americans switch to electric cars, will we have enough energy to power them?
To drive 30 miles each day—the American average—you need 300 watts. That’s about the equivalent of having your computer or plasma TV turned on all day. A study by the U.S. Department of Energy showed you could power 200 million electric cars without a single change to the grid.

What’s happening in other countries?
Better Place is building charging stations in Denmark, Israel, and Australia. By the end of 2011, the networks will be open for consumers. China is moving very rapidly, investing billions in infrastructure. Once they get going, it will be extremely hard for the U.S. to catch up.

parade.com 10/11/09
Brooke Lea Foster

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