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Old 1st February 2020, 21:49   #1
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Default Electric vehicles and their infrastructure requirements

We often hear that lack of infrastructure as one of the main hurdles for electric vehicles adoption among many other hurdles such as lack of proper EVs, range anxiety, high initial cost etc.

So I request the members of the forum to shed some light on this matter, what are the limitations, what are the solutions etc. Very particularly on:
  1. Electric power generation
  2. Electric power distribution
  3. EV chargers and their technologies

Request: Those who had been the passive members of the forum since long but are having the relevant background, request them to get active for a moment and share some knowledge with all of us here.

Last edited by Samurai : 2nd February 2020 at 19:05. Reason: You can't restrict who can reply.
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Old 2nd February 2020, 02:00   #2
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Default Re: Electric vehicles and their infrastructure requirements

As we all no it's an egg and chicken problem. People say no one wants Ev's because no infrastructure, Infrastructure companies say no charge stations because we see no cars coming to charge. Atleast EVs are at a better position than ICE vehicle 110 years back as EVs can be run daily without public chargers unlike ICE which cannot run without fuel stations.

Infrastructure do not fall from sky suddenly, just as it happened in western nations first the early adopters come, few public chargers come up and then the cycle repeats as more people learn about Ev's.

Problem in power generation and distribution in India are not problem created by EVs but exaggerated by them. We need to clean our grid and strengthen or grid.

Having said that we may see excess power generation in the day due to more upcoming solar and home generation being cheaper than coal power. I actually see a future where government says to charge EVs in day to prevent excessive generation. I even heard German govt giving free power in the day time to stabilize the grid.
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Old 2nd February 2020, 12:50   #3
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Default Re: Electric vehicles and their infrastructure requirements

It is not a question of just boosting the capacity of the current grid.

EVs are being introduced to help reduce emissions. If that results in power stations belching out more emissions it does not make much sense overall.

So it is not about just boosting the capacity of the current grid, but to make a complete change of the way electrical power is generated, distributed and ultimately also stored.

The strategies other countries have chosen vary quite a bit. It is a hot political topic and some of it also depends on the given situation in a country, geopolitical issues etc.

Irrespective of how an electric grid is build they all need to adhere to some same principles:

Stable voltage and current, no matter the load and high degree of availability. (no outages)

The problem with adding more and more devices such as windmills, solar panels etc is one of synchronisation. It becomes difficult to keep them all running at the the same frequency. It helps to have part of the total load generated by a few really large generators!

A few thoughts / comments on what is going on in many grids around the world.

More nuclear power:
Still a huge political debate in many western countries. Either you are dead against it or not, very polarised debate I believe. Truth is, modern nuclear power stations are extremely safe and generate very little nuclear waste (about a cubic meter of high contaminated waster per year)

And it has zero emissions. It is also a great way to stabilise the grid, nuclear power plants are massive. They do not do well responding to changes in demand, but are the best way to provide base load.

Coal / Gas (any carbon hydrates): One way or the other, mid to long term these fuels are on their way out. My home country, the Netherlands, that sits on a massive amount of natural gas, has declared to get rid of all gas connection to houses and industries in the next decade!

Wind / Solar: To date these are the front runners in modernising and making the grid more green. Many people here in western Europe have their own solar panels. I have 10 panels installed and they produce more electricity than we use on an annual basis!

Hydrogen: For some reason I have never understood until recently very little attention has been given to hydrogen. Yes, some technical challenges, but it will solve most of our power challenges ultimately, its green and it can be stored easily.

Others; There are all sorts of other initiatives as well, from bio masses to hydro type of solutions.

What is of course also relevant; reduce the total amount of power we need. This has turned out to be a toughy.

So the grid needs a massive overhaul. We need to add capacity from various very different sources, whilst also changing out the current sources for more environmental friendly ones.

Adding capacity to a grid is a massive undertaking. It is not as simple as adding a few more power plants. The distribution, cables, transformers, every component in the grid right to the individual users need to re-thought, re-dimensioned. So it is hugely expensive and slow.

As an example: Here in the Netherlands we have various places where we can not hook up more solar panels and or windmills. First the local power infrastructure needs to be adjusted/upgraded. So quite a logistical / planning puzzle too.

My personal favourites are nuclear power and hydrogen and also electrical storage. The latter is already taken off. EV can put power back into the grid.

A good friend of mine, recently bought a Fiat 500E. They were never sold in Europe, only in the USA. But now these Fiats are imported back into Europe from the USA and sold second hand. Nice little electric car, ideal for short city trips. My friend lives on the outskirts of Amsterdam. He has 24 solar panels installed, later this year he will get his first battery installed. Which makes him more or less completely independent of the national grid. It is also quite economical, give the current electricity prices.

To what extend a nation makes its power generation more green during this transition is of course a matter of fierce debate. And everybody has their own thoughts. Personally, I think there is no alternative, so it is just a matter of time. Unfortunately, some people do not think so. The time factor comes from two elements; whether you believe man made emission have an influence on our climate. And whether you believe at some point in the not so distant future we will run out of fossil fuels anyway.

This whole energy transition is one of the biggest chances in our world most of us will witness during our life. It has already started and the pace, globally is picking up. It will impact just about everybody’s life to some extend. A small Dutch example, within ten years I will not be able to heat our home with natural gas fired boiler. To date, every single Dutch house/building has natural gas heating. Current new building do not have gas connection anymore, by law! So you get solar panel, heat pumps etc

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 2nd February 2020 at 12:54.
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Old 2nd February 2020, 21:52   #4
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I live in a state which probably has the cheapest tarrifs in India and even sells it's surplus electricity to other states, Himachal.
However, when I tried getting a 20kVa connection for one of my upcoming ventures, I was told to pay 5L to get the distribution transformer upgraded. This would be the public transformer and not a personal transformer. To get a personal transformer installed at my place, it would cost 15L just in wire costs to get the high voltage lines to my place.
Now, I don't live in some remote place atop a hill. My house is just 2 kms from a well-paved national highway, but in my case the situation gets complex because of a railway line running close-by and they don't easily allow the electricity department to pass the wires over or under the lines.

I am still going to get an EV very soon, but it will only be a local delivery vehicle which I plan to charge using solar panels and extra batteries.

So I think you can gather from my situation that power distribution is also a major factor even if power generation might not be. However, solar and batteries are definitely going to make it easier. It would be great entrepreneurial opportunities also for people to set up their own off-grid charging stations on highways without any issues and hopefully without any regulatory bottlenecks.
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