Electric Refueling: Doing the Math

electric car charger Oilbama and what passes for a green movement talk breezily of “clean energy,” as if the only thing blocking a rapid and thorough transition to an alt-energy economy is oil-industry corruption and political indecision.

In the misleading verbiage of such false prophets, you never get any details.  Why not?  Because the facts are entirely contrary to the promises.

Leaving aside geology and EROEI, let’s examine the single point at which the fuel meets the car, shall we?

According to recent “good news,” “JFE Engineering claim[s] to have produced a quick charger which can replenish 50 percent of an EV’s battery level in just three minutes. The company also claims the system could recharge up to 70 percent in just five minutes.”

The news here is that this promises some relief from the fact that recharging an electric automobile is generally an overnight process, not a 5-minute pitstop.

The price of the speedy new charging unit?  $120,000 per unit.

As of 2007, there were 117,908 gas stations in the United States.

$120,000 x 117,908 = $14,148,960,000.

So, putting one single electric car charger at each filling station in the USA would cost 14.1 billion dollars.

Of course, the average automobile fueling depot needs and has probably 6-10 gasoline hoses springing off its meters.  This is for the obvious reason that motorists don’t want to wait half an hour to access a single hose.

So, re-fitting the nation’s gas stations for a fully electric fleet would actually cost more like $100 billion.

And, of course, we [read: the babysitters our overclass hires for us] love the free market and don’t begrudge gas station owners getting rich.  Gas stations, in other words, are not owned by the public.  So, this $100 billion expenditure would have to be done voluntarily by the nation’s fueling entrepreneurs, for whom such outlays represent deductions from their returns-on-investment.

And, of course, all this is merely the cost of the electron-dispensing units.  It says nothing about the radical reconstruction of the underlying electrical generation and distribution system that such a conversion would require.

Bottom line:  As the car capitalists know, electric cars are a minor diversion, a profitable trick on hoodwinked green shoppers and a crucial political psy-op against the general public.

13
Leave a Reply

Please Login to comment
13 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
11 Comment authors
  All-Electric Chevy Volt Remains Vaporware - Death by CarjaggedbenPaul RobbinsAnotherEVerfree transit Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Five Star Ford of Plano
Guest

It’s a shame that it’s so expensive to equip gas stations with the proper equipment in order to charge electric vehicles. Hopefully scientists will come up soon with a solution that is more affordable and also user friendly.

dzoner
Guest
dzoner

1. mass production of the charging stations will result in mass cost cutting in their manufacture.
2. gas stations, while necessary for handling explosive liquids, make little sense when electrically re-charging cars. any time consuming destination could be a refueling station, retail stores, malls, places of work, doctor offices, national and state parks, motels, tourist spots etal. charging stations could become cost effective profit generators across a broad array of destination locations.

Ben Nelson
Guest

My “EV Charging Station” is in my garage. It’s a standard outdoor (GFI-protected) electric outlet. It cost about $15 and took about ten minutes to install. When I get home, I spend about 3 seconds to plug the car into the outlet. Think of it like a cell phone – who cares how long it takes to charge, as long as it’s charged up in the morning for you and ready to go!? Electric cars don’t have to be expensive either. I built mine for about $1300, including buying the car. I am always amazed at how people (such as… Read more »

dennis miles
Guest
dennis miles

There is but one problm with the math, the cost of a “Charging Station” meeting the requirements for compatibility with J-1772 as is being used by all the major auto manufacturers is only $2,500 and that is far les than the $120,000 quoted in this article.

Rick Beebe
Guest
Rick Beebe

I believe the exact same argument was used 130 years ago to “prove” that it would be impossible for every city (much less every house) to have telephone service. It would be impossible to pull that much wire over that much distance. As for the money, even if it’s correct, who cares? It’s not as though you or I have to come up with all 14 billion. Over the past decade the EPA has made thousands of gas stations replace their underground tanks. I don’t know what that costs, but $120,000 each wouldn’t surprise me. Somehow people have come up… Read more »

Transition
Guest

What is needed is a shift in the way we think about our transport. The idea of replacing gas pumps with chargers is only in the mind of all those who own the gas stations. It’s been said that the profit is NOT in the fuel sold but in all those little things we pick up in the gas station shop. That is what they want to protect. Living in a rural area, i have watched over the years as gas stations have closed down. It now takes a 40 mile round trip to fill the car with gas. The… Read more »

dooberheim
Guest
dooberheim

The other issue is that to recharge a 10 kwh battery by 50% in three minutes would require a power source of 100 kw (at 100% efficiency, real world would be more like 130 kw). Thar’s a much larger electrical service than most small businesses have. That’s a place the math seems to be lacking here.

Electric chain saws are considered toys by people that use chain saws for a living. Why do we think electric cars will gain a market share?

The root problem here is the intrinsic inefficiency of the car, not its fuel.

DK

free transit
Guest

You are on the right track. The bottom line is that the auto is a consumer product, not suitable for a system as large as mass human transport. A great deal of the waste is in the manufacture and the quick obsolescence as with almost all consumer products. Further, the auto promotes sprawl wherein each house must be heated and cooled separately and each must have its own driveway, garage, and shed full of more consumer products. To make matters worse, the electricity for autos will mostly come from coal. So far, growth has consumed all the increases of alternative… Read more »

AnotherEVer
Guest
AnotherEVer

An “electric fuel” station could use a relatively “normal” (low amperage) power source and inexpensive charging system if it had its own batteries. The batteries can be discharged and add energy to a customer’s EV quickly, but then can be charged (more slowly) until the next customer arrives. You size the battery bank for the peak demand – ie worst case how many EV customers an hour.

Paul Robbins
Guest
Paul Robbins

There is an alternative to your math. It’s called a wall plug. While every electric car make will have different characteristics, it is likely that many (not all) can be restored to full range with an overnight charge in the garage. And this can be reduced to about 4 hours with a 220-volt outlet. You failed to mention battery-swap stations. And I doubt if mass produced fast chargers are going to cost as much as you believe. The article you wrote was poorly thought out. There may be problems with electric cars and their math. But you haven’t found them… Read more »

jaggedben
Guest
jaggedben

14 billion dollars over how many years? We spend something like $14 billion every month on our wars for oil. We spend about that much money on oil in two weeks.

Don’t get me wrong. I think electric cars are in the future only for the better off. But that’s because of the cost of the energy sources and the cars themselves, not the cost of re-charging stations.

jaggedben
Guest
jaggedben

I forgot to mention. The other day I saw an ad placard for Coda cars, talking about how inefficient gasoline motors are. The ad placard was on top of … a gas pump.

I just thought people here would find that interesting. 😉

trackback
  All-Electric Chevy Volt Remains Vaporware - Death by Car

[…] label.  Accepting it would speak volumes both to the epic failures of General Motors and to the host of problems with the effort to preserve cars-first transportation by eventually converting vehicles to […]