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Electric Cars Won't Strain the Power Grid

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the plug-it-in-don't-worry-be-happy dept.

Earth 438

thecarchik writes "Last week's heat wave prompted another eruption of that perennial question: Won't electric cars that recharge from grid power overload the nation's electricity system? The short answer is no. A comprehensive and wide-ranging two-volume study from 2007, Environmental Assessment of Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles, looked at the impact of plug-in vehicles on the US electrical grid. It also analyzed the 'wells-to-wheels' carbon emissions of plug-ins versus gasoline cars. The load of one plug-in recharging (about 2 kilowatts) is roughly the same as that of four or five plasma television sets. Plasma TVs hardly brought worries about grid crashes."

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What if... (5, Funny)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883032)

...most people buy electric SUV's? Didn't think that one through, did they? :P

No problem, long as they charge at night (5, Informative)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883114)

If the electric cars go home and charge at night, no, they won't strain the grid. Power is overproduced at night (you actually can't spin down the generators all the way, so they produce power even if nobody wants it.)
If they decide to charge during the day (for example, if people charge them at work), it could strain the grid. Particularly if they charge during hot summer afternoons.
Unless a significant part of the grid goes to solar, which produces the highest power during the daytime at summer, of course.

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883158)

you actually can't spin down the generators all the way, so they produce power even if nobody wants it

Not sure how that works. Is there a dummy load set up somewhere? In reality I expect the peak load generators to shut down at night and base load generators to shut down as much as they can. I assume that low load conditions would lead to problems keeping generators in phase.

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883186)

you actually can't spin down the generators all the way, so they produce power even if nobody wants it

Not sure how that works. Is there a dummy load set up somewhere? In reality I expect the peak load generators to shut down at night and base load generators to shut down as much as they can. I assume that low load conditions would lead to problems keeping generators in phase.

its the fucking ghetto rat niggers who keep breeding and breeding and counting on welfare to feed their big fat fucking cow mamas and their dozen brats from a dozen different fathers and their bitchy attidues and their fucking inability to speak english after being born and raised in usa for over 200 years and well ... they're just a bunch of coons, niggers, jigaboos, porch monkeys, and are absolutely useless except they vote so politicians can get their vote by keeping them in the ghetto like the niggers they truly are.

you can take a nigger out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the nigger

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (1)

trum4n (982031) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883216)

Are you saying black cars will bring down the grid? Cause that's just mean!

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (0, Flamebait)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883566)

LOL, you teabaggers are so racist. And impotent.

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (4, Informative)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883374)

Is there a dummy load set up somewhere?

Sort of. What happens is the power company almost gives away the power between midnight and 5am to industrial customers and large cities with *lots* of street lights. Nuclear power plants in particular run extremely poorly at anything under 90% of what they're rated to run at, whereas natural gas generators, hydro, etc can be scaled forward and back.

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (1)

Omniscient Lurker (1504701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883416)

Most companies don't scale back nuclear at all for that reason (and it is the cheapest once the reactor is built)

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (3, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883536)

Sometimes you end up having to scale your nuclear plant back because there's so much renewable energy:

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/07/sudden-surplus-calls-for-quick-thinking/ [nytimes.com]

Columbia is accustomed to reducing power to 85 percent and sometimes 60 percent. In the following days, however, BPA asked the nuclear [note: I added "nuclear" for context] plant operators to go down to just 22 percent. “This year was extraordinary because it all came so heavy and so fast,’’ Mr. Milstein said.

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (2, Interesting)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883182)

If the electric cars go home and charge at night, no, they won't strain the grid. Power is overproduced at night (you actually can't spin down the generators all the way, so they produce power even if nobody wants it.)

Actually you can. You turn off four plants and keep two at half load. When there is a surge then the two plants can handle it, and when the surge is sustained then you turn on another plant.
But typically turning on the plant off and on costs more than keeping it on in the first place, so you just add incandescent light bulbs all over the power plant to use as much as running the plant at the minimum produces.

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883438)

But typically turning on the plant off and on costs more than keeping it on in the first place, so you just add incandescent light bulbs all over the power plant to use as much as running the plant at the minimum produces.

Surely thats a joke. I could believe hydroelectric storage: pump water against gravity, or selling the power to a neighboring network.

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (1)

kdemetter (965669) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883514)

Surely thats a joke. I could believe hydroelectric storage: pump water against gravity

That is a way to do it , though it's not very efficient ( but then again , otherwise it's wasted completely ).

Still , as someone pointed out , statistically , it's very likely that electric cars will charge at night , as most people will be working in the day , and will have to recharge there cars when they get home in the evening.

Also , as electricity is cheaper at night than in the day , most people would prefer charging there cars at night.

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883580)

Also , as electricity is cheaper at night than in the day , most people would prefer charging there cars at night.

It won't be when we're all driving electric cars. but then again, even if it cost the same at night it will still be cheaper than gasoline in the long run...

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883548)

Surely thats a joke. I could believe hydroelectric storage: pump water against gravity, or selling the power to a neighboring network.

Nope, That is what the local natural gas power plant does.

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883254)

Power is not overproduced at night, otherwise there would be a loss of grid synchronization, uncontrolled voltage rise, or the need for massive load banks.

Power stations which require significant startup or shutdown intervals provide base load, while flywheel, gas turbine, hydroelectric and other generation systems which can respond quickly to changing loads provide for peak consumption.

If there was a rapid shift towards night time power consumption power prices could actually increase in many areas, at least until additional base load power plants could be brought online, due to the additional cost involved in running most peaking plants.

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883306)

I think the bigger question, which I didn't see answered in TFA, is whether these things are truly better than ICE vehicles on the environment. I mean sure we know they'll probably be better than a Hummer, but has anyone figured out what the mining of lithium for the batteries, the toxic components used in such batteries, the amount of carbon put out in production, the amount used by the grid (many places still have coal plants you know) and finally the disposal and replacement of those batteries after 3-5 years, how all of that compares say to a Kia or other small 4 cyl ICE vehicle?

Because as we saw with the "get rid of teh evil lead solder!" stupidity we can often make things worse instead of better by not thinking things through. in the case of solder we ended up with a lot more e-waste because the crap solder they replaced lead with broke down much faster than the old, and thrown into a burn pit in China frankly isn't any better than the old. So I would like to see what a "birth to death" study of elec VS ICE would show before I say that elec is the way to go. After all it won't be doing us much good if we just trade carbon at the tailpipe for carbon at the plant PLUS piles of dead batteries PLUS lots of waste in mining and disposal. We need to look at the entire cycle before judging one tech or another.

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (4, Interesting)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883506)

That's a good point. I'm curious to know also if the battery production was taken into account when they decided electric vehicles would be better.

Surely from a pure power plant versus tailpipe emissions, the power plant won out. They scale better than auto gas engines do.

I'm still on the fence about lead. I'm glad it's gone from a lot of industrial and consumer products, but at the same time it did serve a valuable purpose. And when it comes to batteries, lead-acid batteries are dead simple to recycle. Lithium on the other hand isn't.

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (3, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883702)

You really shouldn't be happy about the lead. Since the switchover I have noticed a LOT more things such as everything from motherboards to DVD players "just dying" a lot sooner than they should. After taking a few of them to a retired engineer down the hall that is a wiz with a soldering iron he confirmed what I already suspected: the new solder fails much easier than the old. I'd say a good 85%+ of the pre-solder stuff I have is functioning well, while I've noticed a good 40%+ failure rate of the new solder soon after the warranty expires.

So while I can't give you hard numbers to crunch, just from watching the amount of e-waste being generated by my own family I'd say the new solder is adding a good 30-40% when it comes to premature failures. I have a feeling if someone were to sit down and do a study of the lifespan of these common consumer devices before and after the solder switch, that we'd find the amount of e-waste being generated and resources wasted (don't forget it is not just the disposal, but the amount of carbon, resources, and energy required to make these devices that is also being wasted) that the lead solder was much better for the environment on the whole than the new stuff.

This is why I pointed out the entire lifecycle needs to be taken into account. Sadly I have noticed that many are so quick to jump on anything "green" that hard data isn't taken into account before the switch. I'm all for tech that makes the world a better place to live in, but we really need to look at the "cradle to the grave" of a particular solution before deciding that one is better than the other. There may be hidden externalizations not being taken into account that might make a tech much worse long term.

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883368)

That assumes people only plug in their electric car at night and not as soon as they return from home. This also assumes they don't plug in their car while they are at work.

Re:No problem, long as they charge at night (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883710)

Must be trickle charge, surely not using a rapid charger to get home to the kids quickly due to an illness at school. The more you charge them batteries, the faster they wear out. Where do we dispose of them? What about ac lighits, heater on, that drains the batteries. The power distribution lines are quite old, and contrary to folks, takes alot of maintenance. I for one will by a gas generator, since I suspect more brownouts will occur.

Re:What if... (1)

gravos (912628) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883128)

If an electric SUV causes 2x the load of a normal car and a normal car isn't a problem, then a bunch of SUVs probably wouldn't be a problem either.

Re:What if... (4, Interesting)

JordanL (886154) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883358)

You were being funny, but I think it's important to point out: we produce about 14 exajoules of energy for electric power a year. We use about 28 exajoules for transportation.

This study seemed to overlook something rather important.

Re:What if... (4, Informative)

rsborg (111459) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883634)

You were being funny, but I think it's important to point out: we produce about 14 exajoules of energy for electric power a year. We use about 28 exajoules for transportation.

This study seemed to overlook something rather important.

No, I think the study's numbers are on-base. Electric car adoption will not be 100% overnight (or we'd be pretty screwed). They are assuming 500K (out of 300M) cars with current power plant base loads... and that would be 0.0017, about 1/6 of one percent. I think our nighttime base load (which throws away energy right now) can handle it.

And that's assuming you are calculating actual energy converted from gasoline (a horrible conversion loss) and you are not conflating industrial/commercial transport with personal transport.

Re:What if... (2, Interesting)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883734)

We do, but keep in mind that an ICE is only about 18%to 19% efficient (the engine itself is about 20% http://courses.washington.edu/me341/oct22v2.htm [washington.edu] , but not all of that gets to the pavement - 80%+ of the energy from burning gasoline ends up as heat or sound. Electric cars on the other hand are much more efficient - about 70% of what ends up in the battery goes to turning the wheels. http://ec.europa.eu/transport/urban/vehicles/road/electric_en.htm [europa.eu] .

Then you have delivery and fuel management. With gasoline, you used a lot of energy in the refining process, and then you have to put it in trucks and deliver it. Of course, transmitting electricity has it's problems as well - the average line loss is somewhere around 6.5%, and the uranium for nuclear plants, and the coal, natural gas and fuel oil needs to be obtained and refined, so I would call this one a wash, with perhaps an edge to electric since sending electricity down the wire is more efficient than delivering the fuel by truck

On average electricity generating stations (hydro excepted) are about 35% to 40% efficient. of that about 93.5% gets to your outlet. Of that 99.8% gets to the battery http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_polymer_battery [wikipedia.org] from the charger, and 99.8% gets from the battery to the motor (there are some minimal losses in the battery cables)

Bottom line is that (not counting transmission and production expenditures) assuming a quantity of energy: Joules x .998 x .998 x .70 = .697Joules for electric car, and .20 Joules for an ICE. An electric car is more than 3 times as efficient as an ICE powered car.

Plus they could be set to charge at night (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883042)

I mean for the most part you come home, you plug your car in. So, just have the car delay and charge off peak. Not a lot of usage at 3am normally and all the cars could be happily charging away.

Re:Plus they could be set to charge at night (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883196)

I mean for the most part you come home, you plug your car in. So, just have the car delay and charge off peak. Not a lot of usage at 3am normally and all the cars could be happily charging away.

Then 3am becomes a peak, and eventually there is NO peak and just a constant mid-high usage.

Re:Plus they could be set to charge at night (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883314)

Which is nice for base load nukes ..

Re:Plus they could be set to charge at night (2, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883592)

A constant mid-high usage is basically the best case scenario for a power grid. This is especially true where nuclear power plants and other electricity producers can't actually be scaled back during low-load situations.

Re:Plus they could be set to charge at night (2, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883234)

Really? Is that how you use your car right now?

You don't go to lunch?
Go out for dinner?
Run to the corner store for groceries?
Any number of other errands or other trips?

And how many of these trips do you plan far enough in advance to also plan and schedule your car to be charged?

More likely: drive to work for 9 am, park, plugin car and charge [along with everybody else] just so you can get home in it
-oops, going out for lunch, need to charge car again
-drive home
-start charging car right away, because you might decide to go out for dinner or do any number of errands that evening
-do errand and charge car again

Repeat EVERY DAY.

Re:Plus they could be set to charge at night (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883386)

More likely the car wll be like your phone. Plug it in when convenient and don't think about it too much.

Re:Plus they could be set to charge at night (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883480)

"More likely: drive to work for 9 am, park, plugin car and charge [along with everybody else] just so you can get home in it"

You work more than 20mi from your home? Last I heard the min mileage for these things was about 40mi per charge. So if you work, say, 15mi from your home you have 10mi a day for running errands before you have to consider a mid-day charge. Other than that allowing people to program their cars to charge only when certain circumstances are met (say, 1-6am OR battery is at 30% charge) would put most of the load on nighttime.

Really now, saying you'll have to charge for every trip is just silly. Batteries don't magically lose their charge if they sit for more than 10s...

Re:Plus they could be set to charge at night (1, Offtopic)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883530)

I'm not saying the batteries will discharge or that the average commute can be handled by a single charge.

I'm saying that there are enough trips that American's do, that are not planned in advance, that may or may not exceed the range of the car, that most people will rather make sure their car is charged to be able to make those unplanned trips than delay and/or cancel the trip because their car doesn't have enough charge to do the trip [or do a side trip].

Re:Plus they could be set to charge at night (1)

Pretzalzz (577309) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883512)

Come on. The Nissan Leaf has a 100 mile range. Lets call that about standard[indeed if the range were lower it would be instant fail], and likely to improve in the coming years. I would be surprised if most people drove more than 100 miles in a day. Certainly a 5 mile roundtrip errand/lunch wouldn't necessitate a recharge. Most people wouldn't even need to charge at work to get home in the evening. Indeed I would expect the facilities to facilitate this to be rare.

Re:Plus they could be set to charge at night (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883662)

Well except that for the fact that for a hell of a lot less money I can buy a car with 3 times the range and that won't reduce as the car gets older. So explain to me why I should by an electric car and not ride my bike to work if I expected to save money on fuel?

Re:Plus they could be set to charge at night (4, Informative)

cgenman (325138) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883644)

Tesla range: 160-250 miles (depending on options)
Subaru G4e range*: 125 miles
Mini Electric: 100 miles
Chevy volt: 40 miles
Coda Sedan: 90 miles
Nissan Leaf: 100 miles

*vehicle has not hit production yet

Re:Plus they could be set to charge at night (1)

LongearedBat (1665481) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883652)

I currently set my mobile phone and laptop to charge at night before I go to bed. That way they are fully charged by the morning. Yeah, I might top up the laptop battery during the day, but it's only a top up, and I only need to sometimes.

I would do the same thing with an electric car.

Well.. being in that biz (4, Informative)

gearloos (816828) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883078)

Being in that particular biz, I can say I am not concerned about it. Most of our power goes to industrial loads anyway. Joe Consumer is only a real concern to us on those hot mid July afternoons when he is at work running his air conditioner at the same time as the thirty million others Joes. Now, if they were to ALL buy electric vehicles and charge them in the afternoon in the middle of the summer while at work.. hah well, I think the major load on the charging systems would either be early morning when you just get to work and plug in, or early evening when you just get home and plug in. Not exactly prime time for brown outs..

Re:Well.. being in that biz (4, Insightful)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883340)

I think the major load on the charging systems would either be early morning when you just get to work and plug in, or early evening when you just get home and plug in. Not exactly prime time for brown outs..

My understanding, based on the time-of-use billing [ontario-hydro.com] coming soon to a power company near me, is that early evening when you just get home and plug in is exactly prime time for power shortages.

You could centrally control when recharging stations activate, but is somebody plugging in at 5:30 pm because they want to recharge it overnight, or because they want to pick up their kids from (band/soccer/whatever) practise at 9pm?

- RG>

Re:Well.. being in that biz (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883404)

your sig has a spelling error you douchebag

Re:Well.. being in that biz (1)

simula (1032230) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883628)

The Nissan Leaf (shipping in the US in December), will allow you to set the time that it charges so that it coincides with off-peak. It finishes fully charging an empty battery in 8 hours on a 240V line.

It has a 100 mile range so it should cover all the activities during the day, and after the tax credit it will cost about $25k in the US.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nissan_Leaf [wikipedia.org]

So about those fires throughout Boston... (2, Interesting)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883554)

So, being in that particular biz, would you like to comment on why, during the heat wave Boston suffered through much of the last few weeks, why Boston Fire Department spent most of its time responding to downed wires, transformer fires, manhole fires, etc? Seems to me like the grid is pushed to the seams already if large numbers of pieces of it are catching fire on hot days when electrical demand is highest thanks to AC units.

Re:Well.. being in that biz (0)

FlyingGuy (989135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883612)

Your correct but the environmentalist want every car on the road to be either electric or hybrid, preferably electric. Hmm about 25,000,000 cars registered in CA give or take, so at a 2kwh charging load thats 2,000 & 25,000,000 = 50,000,000,000 or 50 gigawatt hours and that is more then the entire supply that the state of California has available and thats a combination of all available fuels we have on line.

That is the myth if the electric car, if we shift to all electric we simply shift the fuel consumption to another type of engine. Now an electrical generating plant is more efficient then an internal combustion engine but you have to build out that capacity and keep a lot of it on hot stand-by because it takes a long time to spin up from cold to generating electricity. Additionally no one is really talking about the insanely toxic batteries that will have to be disposed of on a regular basis.

It will be interesting to see how things progress over the years, but there is no magic solution. Lots of incremental ones but no big one is coming anytime soon and more then likely I will be dead before it really comes to pass as I am 50 now and don't really see this happening before the next 40 or 50 years. Technology can move fast but we are pushing the limits of known technology as far as electrical storage is concerned. There is a lot of progress being made in Electric double-layer capacitor "EDLC's" but even those are still experimental and cannot provide the kind of power you would need to run say a Tesla car ( Who's IPO is going backwards).

This sort of thing can only be good for wind/solar (5, Interesting)

Entropius (188861) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883082)

The more uses of electricity we have that can be done "whenever", the better the future looks for power sources like wind and solar. Hopefully power companies will start charging different rates for on-peak and off-peak residential usage (like they already do for major industrial users), and the market will take care of it.

Re:This sort of thing can only be good for wind/so (1)

JustinRLynn (831164) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883112)

Hopefully power companies will start charging different rates for on-peak and off-peak residential usage...

Say goodbye another reason to get CFLs then. They mostly provide light at night, but if power becomes cheap (or even free, or in rare cases PROFITABLE) at night, who will want to use them?

Re:This sort of thing can only be good for wind/so (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883178)

They'll still be worthwhile. Do some calcs. CFLs are an amazingly sensible investment compared to almost anything else.

From memory it's about an 18 fold return. Even if your 'off-peak' (btw evening isn't off-peak) power price is half the average price you're still looking at a 9:1 ROI.

Re:This sort of thing can only be good for wind/so (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883194)

Yes. Millions of batteries connected to the power system is a good thing. In some way it's like building massive amounts of pumped storage.

No wind blowing at the moment? Then don't charge the 90% of cars which are on 'economy-charger' setting. Lots of wind blowing? Charge every car to full and use that wind!

Re:This sort of thing can only be good for wind/so (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883424)

No wind blowing at the moment?

the total amount of wind blowing is pretty much constant. It varies a bit between places, but because the earth spins at a constant rate, and the sun puts in a constant amount of energy, the total amount of (wind mass)x(wind speed) is constant.

Re:This sort of thing can only be good for wind/so (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883486)

Really? That's great news. Perhaps you should tell these people: www.hartlandwindfarm.com so that they don't have to build 500MW of thermal plant to backup their 2000MW wind farm.

I thought it was obvious that my statement was referring to the amount of energy produced from wind farms. This isn't the same as 'total amount of wind blowing in the world'. Perhaps I need to explain that in future.

Re:This sort of thing can only be good for wind/so (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883504)

http://www.sustainabilitycentre.com.au/BaseloadFallacy.pdf [sustainabi...tre.com.au]
read the part about wind power as base-load.

Re:This sort of thing can only be good for wind/so (1)

shermo (1284310) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883590)

You mean the bit where it says: "this system can be made as reliable as a conventional base-load power plant by adding a small amount of peak-load plant".

That's exactly what I said. Furthermore:

"This back-up does not have to have the same capacity as the group of wind farms ... one fifth to one third of the wind capacity"

Even the numbers are the same, my example uses about a quarter.

Reading further in your link. "If and when advanced batteries become less expensive, PV electricity would become base-load"

Sounds like they agree with me.

Re:This sort of thing can only be good for wind/so (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883694)

Some blokes put out a leaflet, so now your asshattery shall be ignored? 'Fraid not!

First, assuming constant total wind over the globe, keep in mind there's essentially no wind generation on the oceans -- as more or less of that total constant wind is in the middle of the Pacific, it alters the total available on land.

Second, electrical grids are more-or-less continental in scope, at most. This means that summing the wind over one continent together with the wind in another continent is totally useless for the available power in either continent; when it's blowing harder here, and weaker there, we have a surplus of capacity, and vice versa. It's uneconomical to deliver power across oceans, so you'll just have to fire up some local peak plants.

So you're quite simply wrong before; fortunately for Mark Diesendorf's credibility, that paper you linked says nothing to support you.

Now as for what it does say... did you even read it? They said to match an 1GW base-load plant, you need about 2.6GW of wind, plus a peak-load plant to cover low-wind periods. And you offer that as a refutation of the GGP's suggestion that you could use electric vehicles to take advantage of surplus power when wind (whether at a single site, or summed across several sites) is above average, and reduce the need to switch on peak plants when it's low? Staggering.

Re:This sort of thing can only be good for wind/so (4, Funny)

konohitowa (220547) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883282)

Hopefully power companies will start charging different rates for on-peak and off-peak residential usage...

What a great idea. And they could market it under a clever name like "time-of-use" [google.com] or something equally catchy.

Re:This sort of thing can only be good for wind/so (1)

Anaerin (905998) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883344)

Hopefully power companies will start charging different rates for on-peak and off-peak residential usage (like they already do for major industrial users), and the market will take care of it.

They already do in the UK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_7 [wikipedia.org]

Re:This sort of thing can only be good for wind/so (3, Insightful)

wwwillem (253720) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883350)

In future, it won't be enough to let a consumer make the decision on when to consume and encourage him with discounts in low peak hours. The model should be that for those loads where "time doesn't matter" we (the consumer) can indicate our constraints and then the electricity company will work within those boundaries. Of course, the more lenient the consumer is, the better rate he gets.

For this example, if I park my car at the office I don't care if the battery gets reloaded at 11 am of after lunch. As long as it's done before I drive home at 5 PM. Same for the return trip, the car could be rechared at 11PM or at 3AM, I don't care.

The crucial thing here is that fore heavier, but also time independent loads like this, your utility company gets control over when you are using electricity. We're still quite a bit away from that, but with smart grids, that's the way we're going.

And it will all benefit green power that produces electricity at "unexpected moments".

Re:This sort of thing can only be good for wind/so (3, Interesting)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883674)

In future, it won't be enough to let a consumer make the decision on when to consume and encourage him with discounts in low peak hours. The model should be that for those loads where "time doesn't matter" we (the consumer) can indicate our constraints and then the electricity company will work within those boundaries. Of course, the more lenient the consumer is, the better rate he gets.

Actually, it's quite the opposite. As a time of day electricity user, my utility sends me a forecast of power costs for the next day broken up by hour, and I can plan my energy use accordingly. So, in the future, you'll be able to tell devices in your home above what cost threshold they shouldn't run (with the devices fetching the current and predicted cost of power via a web service). So you work around the energy company and their constraints based on the market price of power in your area.

Here is the graph from my provider:

https://il.thewattspot.com/login.do?method=showChart [thewattspot.com]

Re:This sort of thing can only be good for wind/so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883532)

To make intermittent power producing machines truly viable (say, dominant) in the market, homes will need storage banks (like EVs have) also. As well as lead-acid works for a gas car, the poor cyclic degradation that happens makes it an unacceptable primary option, just yet. ATM, so long as there's no cheap method of storing electricity, and using that stored power completely, then solar/wind will be relegated to contributing energy to, at most, minimum market demand, with traditional electrical producers filling in the spikes and dips caused by the fluctuations from the ever-changing forces of nature and human demand. Certainly, there's room for expansion with wind/solar, but it is not quite "the" answer, yet.

2 kilowatts? (3, Insightful)

spmkk (528421) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883088)

I admit I didn't have time to read the study thoroughly, but:

(a) The study specifically talks about hybrid cars, not pure electrics; the headline is misleading.

(b) Let's take a very conservative estimate and say an electric car draws an average of 10hp when driving. That's about 7.5kw. Let's round that up to 8 for simplicity's sake, and if we assume 100% efficiency, the car needs to spend 4 minutes on the charger for every 1 minute it spends on the road. If we charge it overnight (8 hours), that's 2 hours of driving time, or 60 miles if you average (as many drivers do) somewhere around 30mph - before you have to plug it back in for another 8 hours. And that's in the absolutely best case.

I might be missing something, but 2kw to charge sounds very unrealistic to me.

Re:2 kilowatts? (1)

chrylis (262281) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883102)

Especially since CHAdeMO chargers [wikipedia.org] can provide up to 62.5kW...

Re:2 kilowatts? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883138)

The total energy used to charge the vehicles is important but the rate they charge at is not. If the cars charge fast then the load will still be spread through the off peak period because cars charging early will push the off peak period later into the night.

Re:2 kilowatts? (1)

spirit of reason (989882) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883222)

If you're assuming 100% efficiency and constant power (probably quite wrong on both counts), just have a look at the capacity of battery packs and divide by the charging time. We can look at 3 battery packs: the Prius (1.3 kWh), the Chevy Volt (16 kWh), and the Tesla Roadster (53 kWh). For an 8 hour charge time, that's approximately 160 W (Prius), 2.0 kW (Volt), and 6.6 kW (Roadster).

Re:2 kilowatts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883714)

you know, 100% efficiency isn't such a bad assumption for electric motors. batteries might be somewhat less efficient.

Nissan Leaf : 3KW * 8hr ~= 100 miles per day (1)

simula (1032230) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883682)

For a point of comparison, the Nissan Leaf (shipping in the US in December) will charge it's 24KW battery in 8 hours. It has a range of approximately 100 miles.

That makes it 3KW for 8 hours if you are commuting 100 miles every day. If you are only commuting 50 miles per day, that drops to only 1.5KW for an 8 hour nightly charge.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nissan_Leaf [wikipedia.org]

Electric Cars Won't Strain the Power Grid (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883092)

This IEEE article (http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/advanced-cars/speed-bumps-ahead-for-electricvehicle-charging) states a Level 2 EV charger can draw as much as 6.6 kilowatts.

Sure.. (5, Insightful)

Mr0bvious (968303) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883098)

Yes but plasma TVs replaced CRT TVs.

And I expect there was a rather large switch from incandescent to compact fluorescent globes around the same time - which may have given greater savings than losses from those plasmas....

But what on earth kind of argument is that? Electric cars wont be a problem coz plasma TVs weren't.... How absurd.

How Many Plasma TVs? (4, Insightful)

BBCWatcher (900486) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883116)

The load of one plug-in recharging (about 2 kilowatts) is roughly the same as that of four or five plasma television sets. Plasma TVs hardly brought worries about grid crashes.

Probably because households buying plasma televisions purchase one, maybe two, and they are replacing cathode tube (with shadow mask) televisions which have been consuming electric load since the 1950s. And those plasma TVs are not operating for too many hours (hopefully), never mind that LCD televisions are far more popular. It's not surprising that many people are at least more concerned when typical two-car households each might add the equivalent of 8 to 10 plasma televisions of net new electricity consumption to the grid. Thankfully that consumption should be off-peak, especially if timed chargers and peak electricity pricing are mandated, but the plasma TV analogy breaks down very quickly.

also you need add the cable / sat box draw running (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883296)

also you need add the cable / sat box draw running 24/7 back in the days where cathode tube ones where all over the place you did not need the cable box that much.

With today's cable box leavening them off most of the day is not a good idea.

Plasma is almost dead, FUD continues (1)

Ilgaz (86384) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883354)

Plasma TVs doesn't take too much power, at least the new models. They always analyze the light conditions surrounding them and set brightness based on that. They also come with that setting as default.

I won't repeat manufacturer claims as we all know they are a bit too ideal. Lets say, I connected it to a 800VA APC UPS (which, I suggest to all equipment owners) and I noticed it can feed for 15 mins along with a H264/HDTV DVR box.

Just wait couple of months until all vendors setup their LED TV etc. contracts, we will hear similar "how evil, horrible LCD is" embedded to stories like that.

While on it, this is exactly why you should never buy the new trendy "electric car" stuff. If tons of coal burns somewhere to feed the electric car, it doesn't really help much compared to lets say, a really small engine/modern/compact car. I know the "hybrid" advantages of course, it is just the way people fool themselves driving me mad.

Re:Plasma is almost dead, FUD continues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883670)

If tons of coal burns somewhere to feed the electric car, it doesn't really help much compared to lets say, a really small engine/modern/compact car.

Yes it does. All that coal is getting burned in one place, which makes it much easier to do efficiently.

Color me skeptical... (4, Interesting)

Jhon (241832) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883132)

The load of one plug-in recharging (about 2 kilowatts) is roughly the same as that of four or five plasma television sets. Plasma TVs hardly brought worries about grid crashes."

I think there are roughly 2 houses on my block (of about 20 homes) that have a single plasma TV. They do, however, have at least a single car. Many of them have 2 or more. That translates as a lot of "plasma TVs" on that block.

Also, we need to realize that they are limiting their expectations:

Even if the U.S. alone has half a million plug-ins to recharge (out of 300 million vehicles on the road, remember) within a few years, utility executives aren't losing any sleep. In fact, they're happy. They love the idea of selling you "fuel" for your vehicle.

Basically they are saying "Electric cars wont bring down the grid -- if they aren't widely adopted". What if, instead of half a million, there's 10-30 million? How many "plasma TVs" does it take to bring down the grid? Add to this that our current administration wants to increase the cost of our energy -- so not only will gas be more expensive, but so will electricity. What's the incentive?

DoE says nearly 200 million, not half (2, Interesting)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883398)

The only thing the electric car threatens is 160 billion dollars of income every year for the 2 billion barrels of oil we wouldn't have to import for finished motor fuel, if 2/3 of the country switched to electric. There's also the terror of reliable electric drive trains, fewer moving parts, and the closure of tens of thousands of gas stations.

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/12/doe_study_offpe.html [greencarcongress.com]

Current batteries for PHEVs could store the energy for driving the national average commute—about 33 miles round trip a day—so the study presumes that drivers would charge up overnight when demand for electricity is much lower.

Researchers found that in the Midwest and East, there is sufficient off-peak generation, transmission and distribution capacity to provide for all of today’s vehicles if they ran on batteries.

However, in the West, and specifically the Pacific Northwest, there is limited extra electricity because of the large amount of hydroelectric generation that is already heavily utilized, and increasing electricity from hydroelectric plants is difficult.

We were very conservative in looking at the idle capacity of power generation assets. The estimates didn’t include hydro, renewables or nuclear plants. It also didn’t include plants designed to meet peak demand because they don’t operate continuously. We still found that across the country 84 percent of the additional electricity demand created by PHEVs could be met by idle generation capacity.
        —Michael Kintner-Meyer, PNNL [DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory]


The study also looked at the impact on the environment of an all-out move to PHEVs. The added electricity would come from a combination of coal-fired and natural gas-fired plants. Even with today’s power plants emitting greenhouse gases, the overall levels would be reduced because the entire process of moving a car one mile is more efficient using electricity than producing gasoline and burning it in a car’s engine...

Re:DoE says nearly 200 million, not half (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883522)

The only thing the electric car threatens is 160 billion dollars of income every year for the 2 billion barrels of oil we wouldn't have to import for finished motor fuel, if 2/3 of the country switched to electric.

Well that and being able to drive more than 300 miles in a single go. And before you tell me those trips are few and meaning less I remind you about the slashdot article about how BING is failing because it's result don't represent the tails of the search distribution. Well cars are the same.

Re:Color me skeptical... (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883402)

What's the incentive?

The incentive is you pay for electricity to fuel your vehicle, which should be much cheaper than what gasoline/diesel in the US actually costs without subsidies ($8-12/gallon).

Re:Color me skeptical... (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883426)

"Electric cars wont bring down the grid -- if they aren't widely adopted". What if, instead of half a million, there's 10-30 million? How many "plasma TVs" does it take to bring down the grid?

In that case, they will just convert the electric consumption to something that has a better scale, like "Libraries of Congress".

What's the incentive?
There is none. Around here, they say "conserve!", but if you do, then they say "we don't have the revenue we used to! Raise the rates!". Heaven forbid a union public works utility worker ever lost his job because it was no longer necessary...

I'll believe in conservation when less use lowers overhead... like if the USPS drops Saturday deliver, and they let go of 16% of the employees... yeah, right.

4 or 5 plasma televisions? Stupid comparison. (1)

Burning1 (204959) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883140)

The load of one plug-in recharging (about 2 kilowatts) is roughly the same as that of four or five plasma television sets. Plasma TVs hardly brought worries about grid crashes.

Yes, but there are two issues with this. Firstly, most of the plasma televisions purchased replaced older CRTs. In cases where there wasn't a significant difference in screen size between the plasma TV and the CRT it replaced, overall draw would fall.

Secondly, I really don't see the average family owning 4 or 5 50" plasma televisions (especially since plasma has fallen behind the more efficient LCD.) Every family owns a car, and if the technology improves sufficiently in terms of cost and practicality, I could imagine them becoming somewhat common in the foreseeable future, especially since owning two vehicles are very common where I live.

With today's technology, a family could easily own an electric for commuting and errands, plus a gasoline car for long distance travel. Quick change batteries and fast charging systems may make electric cars suitable for long distance travel, as well.

Re:4 or 5 plasma televisions? Stupid comparison. (1)

pocketbookvote (1541431) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883272)

Stupid comparison indeed - in the early days before LCD's became viable, there were plenty of predictions that the replacement of CRTs with plasmas would create capacity requirements on the scale of a half-dozen new power plants in California alone, because plasmas used way more power. So people were worried, actually.

However, no large scale electric car adoption is going to happen without two things - 1) batteries that can last for typical commute-to-work-and-back day (already got 'em) and 2) time-of-use rates and metering that provide significant incentives for charing off peak (night), which we already have to some extent. That's why this is a non-issue.

As an aside, consider that the study's sponsors are also a bit biased, so even if this wasn't true they'd reach this conclusion - utilities love the idea of selling more power, obviously, and they are probably lower carbon emitters on a net basis, particularly in the long term if they raise the value of wind generation by raising the value of power off peak, which is when the majority of wind power gets generated. If the value of that power went up, you'd see even more wind development than we have now, or at least less dependence on tax credits to make it economic.

Re:4 or 5 plasma televisions? Stupid comparison. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883452)

1) batteries that can last for typical commute-to-work-and-back day (already got 'em) and 2) time-of-use rates and metering that provide significant incentives for charing off peak (night), which we already have to some extent. That's why this is a non-issue

Wrong they won't catch on until they can fully charge in 5 minutes and their range doesn't diminish with age.

Greeny bullshit (0)

Tailhook (98486) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883546)

Secondly, I really don't see the average family owning 4 or 5 50" plasma televisions

It doesn't take much of a skeptic to spot 'green' advocate bullshit. 4-5 plasmas? wtf? What percentage of 3 bed US households have 5x ~300W plasmas burning hours on end? That has to be a vanishingly small fraction of households.

Cnet's 'energy efficiency guide' puts 'average plasma' TV power level at 301W. 5x of those is 1.5KW, not 2KW. Even their basic math is bullshit.

Coal powered cars will likely need to charge for MUCH longer than people will be watching the 5x plasmas. A person with a job or going to school might watch 1-3h of TV a day. Your coal powered car's battery will be baking all freaking night.

Finally, most households have >1 car. That's 4+KW, not 2.

Greeny bullshit. You just see so much bullshit from these people it's hard to even consider anything they have to say.

Replacing petrol with electricity for transportation to any degree that might be considered significant while maintaining parity with present commuting and travel behavior is going to require a MASSIVE build out of power generation. Greeny bullshit can't fix that.

Is this future tense? (2, Insightful)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883162)

We don't need to worry about electric cars overloading power grids, we're already doing it right now.

You can't possibly say that the rolling blackouts and brownouts of the California power grid are "normal operating procedures" for a power system working within it's capacity, let alone a sign they have any surplus room for recharging electric vehicles.

Re:Is this future tense? (5, Informative)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883204)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_blackout [wikipedia.org]

Though the term did not enter popular use in the U.S. until the California electricity crisis of the early 2000s, outages had indeed occurred previously. The outages were almost always triggered by unusually hot temperatures during the summer, which causes a surge in demand due to heavy use of air conditioning. However, in 2004, taped conversations of Enron traders became public showing that traders were purposely manipulating the supply of electricity, in order to raise energy prices.

The DoE has stated that most of the Eastern Seaboard could support the energy requirements of every single car used for commuting today, without any changes to transmission or power production, as long as the cars are charged at night.

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2006/12/doe_study_offpe.html [greencarcongress.com]

Re:Is this future tense? (2, Funny)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883206)

Its California though, chances are they have some regulation preventing power companies from actually producing the power they need...

Well obviously that works out, then (3, Insightful)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883166)

Just like most working people, the first thing I always do when I get home is turn on my 4 or 5 plasma TVs. Since that wasn't a problem, I'm sure the electric car I buy won't be a problem either!

It may very well not be a problem, but that statement is goddamn stupid. Most of us aren't drawing that much power regularly when you get home.

Re:Well obviously that works out, then (1)

bwayne314 (1854406) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883270)

Just like most working people, the first thing I always do when I get home is turn on my 4 or 5 plasma TVs. Since that wasn't a problem, I'm sure the electric car I buy won't be a problem either!

It may very well not be a problem, but that statement is goddamn stupid. Most of us aren't drawing that much power regularly when you get home.

Exactly! And hey, why not give the car charging a "dimmer" switch to ease the spiky nature of everyone driving/charging within roughly the same few hours every day morning and evening - if you just got home, its 6 pm and you know that you wont need to drive until tomorrow, turn it on "low" and distribute the stress on the grid over the next 12 hours instead of 3!

No the main problem is (1, Insightful)

bsercombe72 (1822782) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883172)

Getting enough of the materials to make the batteries for a significant number of electric vehicles. And then the fact that you have to replace a major and expensive component of your vehicle (batteries) every 3-5 years.

Yeah, uhuh, that's logic (2, Funny)

holophrastic (221104) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883192)

TV's weren't a problem. So 5 times as many won't either.

Why are people so short-sighted. If you're running out of power now, needing way more won't help.

That said, as I said before, capitalist societies solve enormous problems quickly, and don't big problems at all.

If Obama wants to do something easy.... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883210)

If Obama wants to do something effective, easy, and popular, he should announce a push towards electric cars. If he announced $20 billion was going this year towards research making affordable electric cars, it would do something for the environment AND would help reduce dependence on foreign oil. These are things that everyone favors. It would be good for the economy, not so much because it would create jobs, but because it would reduce the $400 billion dollars a year we spend on foreign oil. That is money we could spend at home for things we want instead of to import oil to drive us around (and sponsor terrorists and organized crime).

Short Answer "wrong" (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883220)

Power Grid can't handle it. Here's the math ...

The load of one plug-in recharging about 2 kilowatts.

The average household in the United States uses about 8,900 kilowatt-hours of electricity each year.

The article doesn't state the time frame of the 2Kw draw, is it hour, day, week, month or per year. Let us ASSUME for the moment that it is over the year, the increase draw is 22.5% increase over current load.

That energy usage of that size has got to come from HydroElectric, Nuclear, Oil or Coal. Which of these are all those Prius Owners willing to build more of?

THAT is just based on guessing it is 2Kw per year, rather than some shorter period (which is more likely). Lets do a little more research ...

According to this PDF [ca.gov] the average draw per mile is slighly less than about half a kilowatt-hour per mile.

Let us assume for the moment, that the average car goes 12K Miles/yr. Let us be "generous" with the "slightly less" figure and say 40%. That works out to be about 4.8 Kw/yr, or roughly 1/2 again as much (50% more) as the average house currently uses.

Granted, that is replacing ALL vehicles with Electric ones. AND such a process will take decades (if ever) to complete. AND generation capabilities will increase over that span. AND renewables will become more economically feasible.

There are dozens of other variables as well (smart roads, traffic shaping, smart cars etc) which will help offset the increase.

However, the final, and only reasonable conclusion is, the power grid will need to be vastly bigger/better/smarter than it currently is.

plasma tv???? a crime! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883246)

My 46" led backlit lcd tv uses less than 40W at low brightness which is plenty in the evening!

Who are you trying to fool? (1)

GameTrog (1840498) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883256)

Of course it would have an impact. First, you still have your 2.5 TVs (most of which are not plasma). Now add your eCAR or 5 more TV's per house hold. But wait the average number of cars per household is something like 2.5, so we will go with 12 new plasma TVs per household. So, 115,000,000 households x 12 new plasma TVs = 1 Billion, 380 Million new plasma TVs plugged into the wall. If you cut that number in half it would still create some kind of strain. But at least there's that report thats says it wont.

Actually not quite true (1)

ashvin213 (1602795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883278)

The 2kw load is based on the fact that you would plug in at home and charge it only at night times. This business model of plugin hybrids is impractical on many fronts. Alternatively, where by electric recharge stations are set up to charge the cars much faster (typically under 15 mins). The load of each one of those charging stations is close to 75 kw. If you replace 10-12 pumps (your typical gas station capacity) with 10-12 charging station each one will be running close to a MW!!! Thats enough power to power 1000 homes!! How is that for overloading the grid?

Economic growth and energy (0)

Kohath (38547) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883290)

If the economy ever picks up, businesses will be using more electricity and this analysis will have to be redone.

Of course, if we're all forced to use electric cars, then we can probably expect the economy to shrink enough to free up all the needed grid capacity.

Electric cars may be a net benefit (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883310)

"They" have speculated that electric cars could be used for load leveling. In other words, the car's charger would be controlled by the power company ... just like all your other large appliances.

They're already doing this kind of thing with electric water heaters (and have been doing so for years).

Re:Electric cars may be a net benefit (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883610)

"They" have speculated that electric cars could be used for load leveling. In other words, the car's charger would be controlled by the power company ... just like all your other large appliances..

Yeah, I really want the power company deciding whether or not I'll be allowed to drive to work in the morning.

Vehicle to Grid (3, Informative)

onthegrid (1854536) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883332)

After we roll out the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vehicle-to-grid/ [wikipedia.org] and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_grid/ [wikipedia.org] and technology, then electric car owners will be able to sell their power back to the grid during peak usage to prevent blackouts, then recharge their car at night. Everyone wins - the owners electric bill is reduced, the utility avoids a blackout, and everyone else enjoys their AC. So - how many electric cars would it have taken to prevent the Enron blackouts?

Re:Vehicle to Grid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883528)

Considering that Enron was shutting plants down during peak hours, so that they could raise their rates, a lot.

Better comparison please (4, Funny)

gringer (252588) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883348)

The load of one plug-in recharging (about 2 kilowatts) is roughly the same as that of four or five plasma television sets.

Sorry, I don't understand this idea of power rated by plasma TVs. Could you please give that in terms of the number of slow cookers required to have the same draw as one EV charge?

Fuck plasma televisions (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883394)

They take insane amounts of power to run and they generate way too much heat.

Misleading figures (1, Interesting)

Exp315 (851386) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883448)

How easily the misleading figures slide past and become accepted truth when nobody questions them. "The load of one plug-in recharging (about 2 kilowatts) is roughly the same as that of four or five plasma television sets."? Hardly. Current 50" Panasonic plasma TV on calibrated power settings: 215.57 watts (source CNET.com). Your math is off by a factor of 2.

How much power... (1)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 4 years ago | (#32883542)

...does a big-ass, you-can-see-it-from-the-highway Exxon sign use?

Ummm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32883562)

Did someone forget about the transformer cooldowns? Charge electric cars at night and the local transformers will melt pretty fast.

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