We’ve been discussing the charging of electric cars in previous posts and I’d suggested a vision of rows of charging posts and it taking 20 minutes or so to fill your car up while you surfed the net or otherwise chilled out. In a nutshell.
Two good counter points were made – we’d need big garages if it took that long to fill up (to hold all the cars) and why not swap batteries instead.
I think the case against swappable batteries is pretty clear, primarily that we just won’t need them and secondarily that it would be a huge undertaking to standardise car designs to accept a common ‘cassette’ and we’re talking maybe 100 Kilos each – that’s a hefty thing to just ‘swap’.
On the question of how many charging posts we’d need at these new garages, I pointed out that most of us (70% – I stand corrected that it’s not all) could charge at home each night and so would only need a ‘garage’ on long journeys. How long typical car journeys are, I thought, is going to be key to this.
I went away and did some digging and it’s altered fundamentally how I see garages of the future – I don’t think we’ll have any!
It turns out that less than 1% of all car journeys are above 100 miles. There are no figures above 150 miles, which is easily possible with today’s batteries – but it would follow that it’s a smaller number again. Some people talk of 200 miles being possible now – certainly in the future we can expect that. So far (far) less than 1% of cars on the road at any one time will need a filling station – as we know them.
There are 27 Million cars on the road today by the way – re-fuelled by under 10,000 petrol stations. Clearly we don’t all want fuel at the same time – except when there’s a scare on – otherwise that would be 2,700 car visits per garage per day. The fuel tank range of cars is a buffer, a vast rolling fuel tank. And so it will be with batteries. The big difference will be that we can fill up our cars at home and for most people (70%) and most journeys 99%+ that will be enough.
If just half a 1% of cars on the road were on journeys their batteries could not support (ie 200 miles or more) – which is a very reasonable ‘if’, then in theory, if it takes say four times longer to charge batteries than it does to fill with petrol (20 minutes versus five minutes) – we’d need four times one half a % of existing garages (if you follow). I make that 200 garages max, to simply meet the capacity – not taking location into account.
But if you factor in the probability of charging points in car parks and supermarkets – giving the chance to charge at your destination, for the return leg (doubling the range before a garage is required) I think we’ll need virtually no garages at all. Maybe a few on the motorway network – but then again, they can be in car parks.
Petrol Stations are destined to be extinct.
Where does this leave Oil companies?
With no liquid fuels to make and deliver (though they’ll try and foist Hydrogen on us first) and no retail outlets. There’s no future for them, except as reborn renewable energy companies. Or footnotes in history.
Roll on the day.