You have to give the Israelis credit, THEY HAVE A PLAN. Interesting option, think about how that changes the economics of the EV if they own the batteries. Is this the answer, an answer, who knows, but the Israelis are testing it out for us. What I do know is the EV is a BETTER IDEA, coupled with CNG for trucks, and truck fleets and we will be a long way to a SAFER America.
A typical four-bay gas station / convenience store in N. America pumps 60-80,000 gal/month. Let’s say 2000 gal/day just for simplicity. Assume as well that the average non-commercial motorist gets 20mpg (perhaps a bit high, but this number sets a conservative number) and purchases 10 gal per visit. That means 200 customers a day , each purchasing in effect 200 miles of range. Now, assume that we choose the average electric car to be Leaf-sized with 200 miles of range. (Mind you, that’s twice the optimum of the current Leaf, but some sort of wonderful battery gizmology will happen by tomorrow, I’m sure.)
So the facility will need to charge 200 batteries a day. For a 200 mile range, let’s be very optimistic about the as-yet-undefined battery: Twice the current Leaf, or 2x24kW-h = 48kW-hr. Plus let’s say we the incoming units aren’t bone dry, but need about 35-40kW-hr of charge. At 95% battery charging efficiency that’s 45kW-hr of input charge; with electrical conversion efficiencies that’s 50kw-hr input at the meter outside per battery.
Currently, using the 480v quick charge station, it takes 30 minutes (according to Nissan site). If you open this station 20 hours a day (0600 to 0200), that means you will move 10 batteries an hour on average, or one every 6 minutes. In order to keep customers happy, minimally you will need to have 10 batteries charging at all times. The 10 batteries charging will draw 50kW-hr x 10 x 2/hr (remember we’re doing it in 30 min) = 1000kW. I’ll leave this power installation cost/ complexity to the interested student. But in any case it’s 1000 kw hrs, which at a $0.05 industrial rate is 1000kW-hr x 20hr x $0.05 = $1000/day.
One megawatt per station is an interesting challenge. There are about 150,000 gas stations in the US, but some of those are really small, so let’s say probably 50,000 in the range of what we’re describing here. That’s about one station per 6500 people or so. So, as an example, the Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington metroplex at about 6.5M people would have about 10,000 stations. If 20% became Better Places, that’s 0.2 x 10000 x 1MW or 2000MW of demand: two new power stations at $1-3B (natural gas cheaper, cogen coal more expensive). Call it $2B to underwrite the 20% of DFW area drivers who would use the Better Places. And so it goes around the country.
Nothing insurmountable, to be sure. But this isn’t a case of just building cute, Starbucks-like facilities with a focus on connectivity to your iPhone. This requires big, hairy-armed guys digging up a lot of dirt, laying a bunch of copper, and making some big power facilities.
I was thinking along the lines of a BIG BALANCE SHEEET utility, oh lets say NRG. They would have the financial muscle, and experience making large capitol outlays that they then earn their return on over a LONG periods of time (this would be very normal business for them). Doesn't hurt that they like to sell electricity versus gasoline either :-)
I would imagine a battery change facility more along the lines of a quick lube/oil change location. You drive in there and some guys-gals with special equipment and hoists swap out the battery in a few minutes while you have a cup of coffee. Now I don't expect that to happen in the US any time soon. Plug in chargers are what we will have. Get the quick charge in 30-45 minutes while you have lunch. Swapping out batteries brings about many issues, primarily compatibility between different EV models. The Leaf battery will not fit the Tesla. Israel is mandating compatibility and standardization. I don't see that happening in the US.
A person could get an extra battery and fix up their garage with special equipment to change them out. Perhaps a service bay where you can drive over it, unbolt the battery onto a special lift that would move the battery away and get a fresh battery. Lift the fresh battery into position where you bolt it on. But I don't really expect much of that. Just park the EV, plug it in, and if you need to go somewhere take the ICE equipped car.
Good plan for Israel, not so much for the US. We have a much larger nation and population with more diverse needs. EVs will work well in many applications. But for us, I don't see the ICE going away for a long long time.