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Power outage, Texas, Energy market he Electric Vehicle Charging Problem

Watch an exclusive companion, video to this on Nebula, which you can access by signing up for the CuriosityStreamNebula bundle deal for 15 a year at CuriosityStream.comWendover. With any disruptive technology. Theres, a tipping pointthere is a point in time when its path towards market dominance is a certainty.. Now, electric vehicles are almost certainly a disruptive technologytheyre, almost certainly a technology that will, with time become dominant over their predecessor.. In this case, the predecessor is the internal combustion car that you yourself, almost certainly use.. Chances are, though, when asked youd say that your next car will not be electric and youre rightthe average consumer according to surveys would not even consider purchasing an electric vehicle demonstrating that the technology is not yet at that tipping point where its on a certain path towards Market dominance., But again that path is almost certain.. Evs are not there yetright now theyre too expensive, too short range and too slow to chargebut, theyre close.. In fact, research can quantify just how close they are. Its been shown that the tipping point price for EVs, the price that will lead to mainstream adoption and eventual disruption, is 36000.. Taking a look at the prices of the base models of three of the worlds best selling electric vehicles theyre already roughly there, so we know that thats not whats, holding mass market consumers back.. What also matters is range.. Consumers say they need 291 miles or 469 kilometers of it before the cars can go.

Mass market., Two of those best selling EVs the Tesla Model 3 and Chevy Volt EV – are not far from that, while the Nissan LEAF lags behind. Range and cost are closely linked and you can essentially trade one off for the other. As the battery is the single largest cost of an EV. Thats, why the industry is so focused on innovating and scaling to lower the component cost of EV batteries and its working. In 2013, the average price per kWh of an EV battery was 668, meaning the base Model Tesla Model 3s 50 kWh battery would cost 2240023rds of what the vehicle sells for.. Nowadays, the average price per kWh is all the way down to 137, meaning that same battery pack would cost just 6850, and this price per kWh is expected to lower to 100. By 2023., Its getting more and more possible for manufacturers to sell an EV for the magic 36000 price, with the magic 291 mile range., While EVs are not quite there, yet theyre really not far and will be there in the next few years.. So range is not whats significantly holding mass market, consumers back and it wont be at all within a few years.. What is, though, is charging.. The research shows that consumers want to be able to charge their cars from empty to full in 31 minutes and thats the magic number for mass market adoption.. With this current 36000 EVs just arent yet there.

The base model, Chevy Volt, EV, cant, even fast charge. It doesnt have the technology for it, and even the upgraded, more expensive model that does allow for fast charging can only get to ‘ state of charge in 31 minutes.. The Nissan LEAF does a little better, attaining 62 state of charge in 31 minutes, while the base model Tesla Model 3 does the best, with its ability to fill its battery to 83 in the most ideal conditions using the fastest models of Tesla Superchargers. But that would only give it 196 miles or 315 kilometers of range again in the most ideal, conditions. In colder weather, both that charging time would be greater and that range would be less., So its currently possible to get an EV with just about what the mass Market requires for cost and range, but reaching that charging timethats just a lot tougher.. What this research can lead us to conclude is that the largest barrier right now to mass market EV adoption is in fact the charging problem.. The tipping point just will not happen without widespread fast charging, but widespread fast charging is just difficult because of the very way our electric grid. Works., You see back in the 1880s Thomas Edison, with his direct current electric system, battled it out with George Westinghouse and his alternating current system., As the names suggest direct current electricity flows consistently and unidirectionally, while alternating current oscillates in magnitude and rapidly changes. Direction. The exact details of how each works isnt that important in this context, but what is is to know that, for a variety of reasons, AC power won its now the standard for power grids, but there are certain technologies that still need DC power.

. The most widespread example of that is batteriesyou cannot charge a battery using AC power. Thats. Why you dont plug your smartphone directly into an outletyou plug it into a power brick that plugs into an outlet and that power? Brick is an AC to DC inverter. A standard iPhone charging inverter outputs, 5 watts of electricity, which is plenty enough to charge. The phones 11 watt hour battery in a few hours. A base model Tesla Model 3. Meanwhile, has a 50 kilowatt hour battery4500 times larger.. Therefore, it needs a much higher wattage power inverter to charge with any speed.. It solves this in two ways. Onboard that Model 3 theres a 7.7 kW inverter that can take AC power from common sources like a standard wall outlet and convert it into DC power to charge the battery. At its max rate. This can charge the car fully in under ten hours and has the advantage of allowing consumers to charge using regular wall plugs or by installing relatively inexpensive chargers on existing domestic AC electric circuits.. The disadvantage, though, is that, while 7.7 kW is plenty fast enough for regular overnight at home, charging its not fast enough to compete with the convenience of filling up an internal combustion car at the gas station. Its not fast enough. If youre on a long distance trip and need to be able to gain hundreds of miles of range in a matter of minutes., So if you need more electricity faster, you need a higher wattage inverter.

To be able to take a Tesla Model 3 from almost empty To almost full, in thirty minutes, you want between 120 and 250 kW.. The problem, though, is that a 250 kW inverter costs, at least in this case 57600, and is about the size of a very large fridgeits, not exactly practical, to have this as an internal component of the car., So for faster charging, one needs to offboard the inversion. Process. Thats exactly what a DC fast charger doesit supplies a huge quantity of DC power to the car, which bypasses the onboard inverter and charges the battery directly. Between the inverter, the charger and all the other equipment needed for a fast charging station. The cost and size is not insignificant. One of the more popular models, the Chargepoint Express 250, which can charge a single car at a somewhat slow 62.5 kW sells for 40800 and thats before installation.. Meanwhile, while its tough to get an exact figure industry experts estimate it costs Tesla about 250000 to build an average Supercharging station. With 6 8 stalls delivering 120 to 150 kW each, while its closest equivalent the stations by Volkswagens Electrify America are estimated to cost 350000., But heres something counterintuitive using a 250 kW charger versus a 150 kW. One doesnt really impact how fast you charge. Batteries charge slower. The more full they are, so the first 20 will pass far faster than the last 20. In the context of EV charging. This means that, quite quickly into the charge, the speed is impacted not by how much power the station is putting out.

But by how much electricity the battery can accept. So its actually faster to charge to 50 drive until empty charge to 50 and drive until empty again than charging to 100 and driving to empty. A Tesla Model 3 can go from zero to 50 charge in 15 Minutes on a 250 kW charger and 17 minutes on a 150 kW chargergiving it enough range to drive at least 100 miles or 160 kilometerswhile charging from 50 to 90 would take an additional 27 minutes in both cases., So combining two charges from empty to 50. In two stops, you could effectively reach the tipping point: speed of 100 charge in 31 minutes with existing 250 kW chargers.. Therefore, what the industry needs is not faster chargers but more chargers which is hugely difficult, given the enormous cost of fast chargers., The average American lives. Four minutes away from a gas station.. Meanwhile, the same average American lives 31 minutes away from their nearest Tesla Supercharger.. Currently, there are 976 supercharging stations in the USeach of which have anywhere between two and 56 individual chargers.. In order to match the four minute average of gas stations, Tesla would need to build an additional 31251 Supercharging stations. At their 250000 per station cost. That would cost the company some 7.8 billion or roughly ten times their total annual profits from 2020.. In addition, only some 750000 Teslas ever have been sold in the US, meaning to have fast charging stations as accessible as gas stations.

The company would need to install a 250000 Supercharging station for every 23 cars it had on the road., Quite obviously, thats not feasible, as the stations would never break even with such infrequent use and thats the exact problem.. You need the infrastructure to sell the cars, but you cant build the infrastructure until you sell the cars., It is the classic chicken and the egg problem.. There might, however, be a solution.. According to federal government data, there are some 3845 non Tesla DC fast chargers in the USthe vast majority of which could charge a Model 3 within an hour assuming it could connect.. Just as there was a format war in the 1880s between DC and AC power. There is now a war of charging standards. Take the example of Salina Kansasa, small city off of Interstate 70, which most people only visit to refuel, or, in this case recharge.. This Supercharger uses Teslas proprietary, plug this Electrify America. Station uses CCS and CHAdeMO plugs, and this hotels charger uses a J 1772 plug.. There are four different plug types in one small city.. Now a Tesla could use the Tesla charger and the J 1772 charger with an included adapter, but it could only use the CHAdeMO charger with a speed, limited 540 adapter and it couldnt use the CCS charger at allas, theres, no adapter for that plug type.. Meanwhile, a Chevy, Volt EV wouldnt be able to use the Tesla or CHAdeMO chargers at all, as there are no adapters available for either to its CCS plug.

. This means that to accommodate every vehicle type DC fast chargers need to have three different plug types which overwhelmingly they just dont., Especially along Interstate highways. There are the Tesla stations and there are combo CHAdeMO and CCS stations., Just like Edison and Westinghouse delayed more widespread. Adoption of electric power by competing against each other in the same areas with their different incompatible, AC and DC standards. Different stakeholders in the electric vehicle market are competing against each other in the US to create redundant largely incompatible networks., But thats not happening everywhere.. You see in Europe, CCS is the standard.. The European Union has a directive, which means that many member states by law require that public DC fast chargers include a CCS plug.. Therefore, in the EU and neighboring countries like the UK, Norway and Switzerland, CCS is now the de facto or de jure charging standard. That forced Teslas hand to the point that in 2018 it retrofitted all its existing Superchargers with CCS plugs, switched its Model 3s to CCS And released an adapter allowing its other models to use CCS chargers. All told this means that pretty much any car in Europe can use pretty much any DC fast. Charger.. That, combined with Europes, higher population density, has helped ensure that the density and coverage of DC fast chargers is much greater than in the US. Despite the fact that EV ownership per capita is actually higher in the US than Europe as a wholealthough, certain European countries, far eclipse the US rate.

, Europe is almost identical in size to the US. It has a very similar number of electric cars overall, but it has double the number of DC fast charging stations. In Germany, the furthest you can seemingly get from a DC fast charger is here in Winterberg. From this small ski town. The nearest fast charger is about 30 miles or 50 kilometers away in Marburg.. Meanwhile, in the US, if you wanted to drive directly from Dallas to Denver two major cities using a base model, Tesla Model 3, you just couldnt. Theres, a 226 mile or 363 kilometer stretch with no DC fast charger between Amarillo, Texas and Trinidad Colorado, which, given the Elevation gain the car would not make., While Tesla is plugging this gap soon with a new charger in Clayton New Mexico that wont solve the problem for every single other EV on the market. Since the charging systems are not compatible. Simply put mass market, consumers are not going to buy cars that cant drive from Dallas to Denver.. What Europe has that the US does not is coordinated. Government plans., Germany’s federal government, for example, builds its own charging stations. In addition to offering strong incentives for private companies to do so as well., Meanwhile, the federal government in the US has done very little to incentivize, fast charger construction and certainly does not have a network of its own.. Certain states, such as Oklahoma or Colorado, do have strong coordinated government programs to build fast charging infrastructure, meaning even shorter range EVs can drive essentially anywhere in each state without encountering a fast charger gap.

But the problem is that EV drivers from Colorado or Oklahoma will eventually want to drive through Kansas or Nebraska or Wyoming or other states that do not have a coordinated plan.. The US Federal Government clearly wants people to buy EVs because it offers hefty tax credits to those who do so, but people are not going to buy EVs without the charging infrastructure to support. It. EVs are comparable in cost to internal combustion cars. Their range is about what consumers demand, but whats lagging behind is that charging infrastructure. This isnt even an exclusively American problem. In Australia, one cant drive from Perth to Sydneythe, countrys forth and first most populous citiesin, an EV due to a massive charging gap while in Russia. Despite similar incentives for EV purchases, there are a total of 24 DC fast chargers in the entire country.. Of course, some will always debate whether governments should be incentivizing electric vehicles at all, but regardless of that, they areits tough to find a developed country. That does not have some tax or other monetary incentive for EV ownership.. The point is that theyre incentivizing, the wrong way. EVs, are very, very close to reaching the tipping point criteria for everything, but charging. Cost is not standing in the way technology is not standing in the way infrastructure is so. Governments are putting the cart before the horse.. Individual companies cannot reach the required scale and even if they did as the format war in the US proves, it probably wouldnt be the kind of scale that the mass market consumer demands.

Individual car companies can deal with. Making individual electric vehicles attractive to consumers? The government doesnt need to worry about that, but infrastructurethats the governments, job. Governments run or regulate roads and bridges and tunnels and sidewalks railways, airports, electric grids, dams, sewers, water supply networks and even fuel supply systems, because they are infrastructure and infrastructure is essential. So the only question is: why not charging So, as you might have guessed by now, I own an electric vehicle, so I took it to my local Tesla Supercharger to make a companion video to this, where I give a super detailed super nerdy explanation of exactly how A Supercharger works from a technical perspective.. You can find that companion, video exclusively on Nebula, which, as you probably know by now, is home to tons of exclusive ad free content from tons of your favorite educational creators.. The reason we can put companion videos like this there is because of the way Nebula worksit doesnt have an algorithm to punish us when we make something different from our normal stuff and the direct subscriptions from users help fund both these and other projectslike. Our many Nebula originals., If youre interested in watching all this exclusive content plus supporting loads of independent educational creators, you can sign up using the CuriosityStreamNebula bundle.. Basically, you go to CuriosityStream.comWendover sign up for any subscriptionbut. I suggest the yearly one since its on sale for less than 15 a year right nowand. Then you have access to both streaming.

Sites. CuriosityStream itself has great stuff too, from more established names like Richard Hammond of Top Gear and the Grand Tour who made a series about how weather actually works by going out into extreme weather.. All told CuriosityStream is great thanks to their seemingly endless library of top quality stuff and Nebula is great thanks to its exclusive early and ad free videos from the educational creators you already know, and love. CuriosityStream and Nebula together is greater than great, though, because its only 15, a year with the current sale at CuriosityStream.

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