Infrastructure for Personal Electric Vehicles (non-autonomous) in Boston

bigpicture7

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If the policy here plays out like is has in the few locations with plans on the books, they will likely count PHEVs as electric vehicles. So what will happen is a lot of people who street park are going to end up charging their vehicles using the onboard gasoline engine. Which, of course, defeats the purpose of the EV policy.
I don't disagree, but that would be really unfortunate. And if PHEVs are used widely, it means a sizable gas station infrastructure needs to remain in place. And, corresponding with that, lower income individuals who street park will likely be motivated to stretch their use of older and older conventional gasoline cars well into the future.

I can't help but sense there are missing policy pieces here to do this right.
 

JeffDowntown

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I don't disagree, but that would be really unfortunate. And if PHEVs are used widely, it means a sizable gas station infrastructure needs to remain in place. And, corresponding with that, lower income individuals who street park will likely be motivated to stretch their use of older and older conventional gasoline cars well into the future.

I can't help but sense there are missing policy pieces here to do this right.
Really high gasoline taxes to encourage a move to pure EV.
 

shmessy

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I don't disagree, but that would be really unfortunate. And if PHEVs are used widely, it means a sizable gas station infrastructure needs to remain in place. And, corresponding with that, lower income individuals who street park will likely be motivated to stretch their use of older and older conventional gasoline cars well into the future.

I can't help but sense there are missing policy pieces here to do this right.


Don't.....tempt.....me..........😉
 

millerm277

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I don't disagree, but that would be really unfortunate. And if PHEVs are used widely, it means a sizable gas station infrastructure needs to remain in place. And, corresponding with that, lower income individuals who street park will likely be motivated to stretch their use of older and older conventional gasoline cars well into the future.

I can't help but sense there are missing policy pieces here to do this right.
I'll counter argue to some extent:

Widespread PHEVs, even if many aren't actually being used as hoped much of the time, still gets us past the big adoption chicken/egg issue and makes private infrastructure investment without government mandate/subsidy covering most of the costs, a way more plausible thing to work with.

If I own a private garage or lot right now, I don't think there's a reasonable financial case for me to go install chargers at every parking spot unless the government is bribing me with a 90% subsidy or the like. Maybe 2-5% of my users can use them and future adoption is....in the future. Meanwhile, equipment costs money now that it's not going to earn back right now, and equipment ages. Even if that equipment is still serviceable in 2030 or 2035, it'll likely be worse than whatever I could install then in various important ways.

If we're sitting here in 2030 complaining that there's lots of cars on the road that could be being charged but aren't, it's a lot more likely that it'll be financially viable for "Chargers R Us" to be approaching the strip mall operator and offering X% of revenue if they can install chargers at every space in the lot. And it's certainly easier to get public investments going that have obvious immediate use and public demand as well. I'm sure there would be plenty of owners complaining at their legislators about inadequate places to charge, for example.

----------------

We're talking about ending gasoline vehicle sales in 2035, and vehicles have a substantial life span. A sizable gas station infrastructure is going to be remaining through at least 20+ years from now with any of the schedule that's on the table.
 

ra84970

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I think the focus on fast charging for personal vehicles is a bit mistaken in the city as well. Thinking about how often average city dwellers go to the gas station - maybe once a week, sometimes every 2nd week - I am assuming that an L1 or L2 over night charging is going to be something that many EV owners without private parking can be okay with.

Where you'll really get the benefit of fast charging is for the delivery vehicles or out of towner's visiting the city who need a quick charge or top up. Those delivery vehicles put a lot of miles in a day and they'll need like 5 or 10 minute fast charging to be able to electrify and still keep their logistics working well. And out of towner's should have to pay for the benefit of fast charging.
 

JeffDowntown

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I think the focus on fast charging for personal vehicles is a bit mistaken in the city as well. Thinking about how often average city dwellers go to the gas station - maybe once a week, sometimes every 2nd week - I am assuming that an L1 or L2 over night charging is going to be something that many EV owners without private parking can be okay with.

Where you'll really get the benefit of fast charging is for the delivery vehicles or out of towner's visiting the city who need a quick charge or top up. Those delivery vehicles put a lot of miles in a day and they'll need like 5 or 10 minute fast charging to be able to electrify and still keep their logistics working well. And out of towner's should have to pay for the benefit of fast charging.
Actually, out of towners may have less need for fast charge than you imagine. I have observed this with a couple friends who have EVs. When visiting a location with limited and expensive parking, they "park" at an EV charging station, and pay to leave their car to charge for 2-3 hours while having lunch, shopping, etc. It has become an easy pattern for them.
 

JumboBuc

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Where you'll really get the benefit of fast charging is for the delivery vehicles or out of towner's visiting the city who need a quick charge or top up. Those delivery vehicles put a lot of miles in a day and they'll need like 5 or 10 minute fast charging to be able to electrify and still keep their logistics working well.
Delivery vehicles (especially in urban areas) are a hugely appealing market for EVs precisely because they really don't put on a lot of miles in a day. They're on the road all day, yes, but they don't cover very much distance in that time. They generally travel at low speeds, do a ton of stop-and-go, and spend many hours loading/unloading/idling. They also park at central distribution facilities overnight, which facilitates charging. That's basically the perfect use case for EVs on all points, and it's why "last mile" players like Amazon and FedEx and UPS and even USPS (with their absolutely enormous upcoming fleet contract) are pushing so hard into electric.

So the type of fleet vehicles that are well suited to electric will probably move that way very shortly for purely market-driven reasons, and the MA 2035 rule (which only applies to passenger vehicles) won't affect the types of commercial vehicles that aren't well suited to EV conversion. Either way, I don't see street-parking EV infrastructure as having nearly as much relevance to commercial / fleet vehicles as it does to personal vehicles.
 

Arlington

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Former BEV owner (2013 Nissan Leaf, 60 miles of "worry free" range)
Current PHEV owner (2018 Honda Clarity, 30 miles of winter range, 40-ish summer before the gas kicks in)

For most people, a 40A / 9.6kw "home" charger is going to get them 25 miles of range per hour, and a full 250 miles in 10 hours of "overnight" charging. That's really enough for "the city" to provide.

The real question for me is: what happens when you get to, say, New Haven or Stamford and want to "top up" before going further? I worry more about the car's battery size and what happens along the way than I worry about what happens in "the city itself"
 

fattony

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Whatever happened to the battery swapping concept? Is that still a thing? Seems like swapping batteries at a service station is a good solution for urban drivers. It is something you can imagine doing in the range of 10 minutes or less. I recall Musk putting on some demo years ago where is it was as fast as filling a gas tank.
 

F-Line to Dudley

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Whatever happened to the battery swapping concept? Is that still a thing? Seems like swapping batteries at a service station is a good solution for urban drivers. It is something you can imagine doing in the range of 10 minutes or less. I recall Musk putting on some demo years ago where is it was as fast as filling a gas tank.
Weight. I don't think battery packs have shrunk enough yet to modularize across-the-board like that for generic application. I mean...even if the packs are physically small in dimensions there's still some density-related heft to them that makes it impractical for a large swath of the population who don't do well bending over for heavy-ish lifting. I would think that would still be niche enough to not be practical...plus there's very little standardization in batteries across the auto industry so what exactly would the service station be stocked with? It's still aways away from being as universal-application as swapping out a bunch of rechargeable AA's.
 

JumboBuc

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Former BEV owner (2013 Nissan Leaf, 60 miles of "worry free" range)
Current PHEV owner (2018 Honda Clarity, 30 miles of winter range, 40-ish summer before the gas kicks in)

For most people, a 40A / 9.6kw "home" charger is going to get them 25 miles of range per hour, and a full 250 miles in 10 hours of "overnight" charging. That's really enough for "the city" to provide.

The real question for me is: what happens when you get to, say, New Haven or Stamford and want to "top up" before going further? I worry more about the car's battery size and what happens along the way than I worry about what happens in "the city itself"
The central question of this thread (for me at least) is how does that "home" / "overnight" charging process work if you street park? Presumably you charge(d) your Leaf/Clarity on private property in your driveway or garage, with a charger wired to your house? You can't really do that if you street park. I have zero guarantee I'll be able to park my car in front of my apartment, and even if I do get one of the two street parking spots directly in front of my building how am I supposed to run a cord down from my upstairs unit and across the sidewalk to my vehicle (and trust that it doesn't get messed with)? That just isn't practical.

The "on the go charging" question is an established one that can be addressed through distributed charging station infrastructure along highways. That applies to all EVs regardless of where they live. But the "home charging" question for the subset of cars that street-park (and are thus, kinda, "homeless") is one that doesn't seem to have a good solution.
 

bigpicture7

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The central question of this thread (for me at least) is how does that "home" / "overnight" charging process work if you street park? Presumably you charge(d) your Leaf/Clarity on private property in your driveway or garage, with a charger wired to your house? You can't really do that if you street park. I have zero guarantee I'll be able to park my car in front of my apartment, and even if I do get one of the two street parking spots directly in front of my building how am I supposed to run a cord down from my upstairs unit and across the sidewalk to my vehicle (and trust that it doesn't get messed with)? That just isn't practical.

The "on the go charging" question is an established one that can be addressed through distributed charging station infrastructure along highways. That applies to all EVs regardless of where they live. But the "home charging" question for the subset of cars that street-park (and are thus, kinda, "homeless") is one that doesn't seem to have a good solution.
Yes, this is a/the key question.

Again I point to the article (which summarizes a new Nature Energy paper) that prompted me to kick off this thread, coupled with MA's 2035 EV sales mandate.

A new study from researchers at MIT uncovers the kinds of infrastructure improvements that would make the biggest difference in increasing the number of electric cars on the road, a key step toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.

The researchers found that installing charging stations on residential streets, rather than just in central locations such as shopping malls, could have an outsized benefit. They also found that adding on high-speed charging stations along highways and making supplementary vehicles more easily available to people who need to travel beyond the single-charge range of their electric vehicles could greatly increase the vehicle electrification potential.
“There are various ways to incentivize the expansion of such charging infrastructures,” she says. “There’s a role for policymakers at the federal level, for example, for incentives to encourage private sector competition in this space, and demonstration sites for testing out, through public-private partnerships, the rapid expansion of the charging infrastructure.”
The study’s findings highlight the importance of making overnight charging capabilities available to more people. While those who have their own garages or off-street parking can often already easily charge their cars at home, many people do not have that option and use public parking. “It’s really important to provide access — reliable, predictable access — to charging for people, wherever they park for longer periods of time near home, often overnight,” Trancik says.
That includes locations such as hotels as well as residential neighborhoods, she says. “I think it’s so critical to emphasize these high-impact approaches, such as figuring out ways to do that on public streets, rather than haphazardly putting a charger at the grocery store or at the mall or any other public location.”
 

shmessy

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Whatever happened to the battery swapping concept? Is that still a thing? Seems like swapping batteries at a service station is a good solution for urban drivers. It is something you can imagine doing in the range of 10 minutes or less. I recall Musk putting on some demo years ago where is it was as fast as filling a gas tank.

Project Better Place!!!!! I followed that company for a few years and thought it was a great idea. Some young Israeli guy was the CEO and he was getting billions from Nissan, and many investment companies who saw it as having potential. The Oil big guys and the American car companies crushed it though and it faded about 6-7 years ago.....an idea ahead of its time.

They were going to use the Jiffy Lube, hole in the floor concept of driving over the lane and having an automatic installation from beneath the chassis. They were going to build these installations along highways and other roads across the nation. Did a lot in Australia and Israel, but then never heard from it again.

P
 
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bigpicture7

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Well, this just got more interesting real fast:
GM just announced they will sell only zero-emission vehicles by 2035. I believe that means no PHEVs.

From the NYTimes:
 

shmessy

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Well, this just got more interesting real fast:
GM just announced they will sell only zero-emission vehicles by 2035. I believe that means no PHEVs.

From the NYTimes:
Wow. That’s not just an article posted on the NYT website a couple of hours ago. That’s a banner headline across the top of the first page of the net edition.

This has been moving ALOT quicker than most understand. We are living at the start of an incredible era and it is going to be fascinating.
 
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bigpicture7

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It will be interesting to see if other automakers soon follow suit. This is an industry that usually reacted to consumer demand (i.e., big cars when gas was cheap, small cars when it was expensive), so jumping out in front like this is either prescient or an attempt to influence. Either way, if the automakers take the lead (for instance, few PHEVs available in 2035), then will the infrastructure design align with that direction? (I would hope)
 

bigpicture7

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I'm confused about "...few PHEV's available in 2035)". That doesn't look like the "automakers take the lead". That looks more like automakers muck it up.
I am reading GM's statement (i.e., a "zero emissions" product line-up) as them not offering hybrids with onboard gas engine generators by 2035. That choice has policy implications (i.e., whether everyone needs access to a charger or not). So when I said "take the lead," I didn't necessarily mean planning things optimally, I meant that (right or wrong) they jumped out ahead of the infrastructure designers by making that choice.
 

shmessy

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It will be interesting to see if other automakers soon follow suit. This is an industry that usually reacted to consumer demand (i.e., big cars when gas was cheap, small cars when it was expensive), so jumping out in front like this is either prescient or an attempt to influence. Either way, if the automakers take the lead (for instance, few PHEVs available in 2035), then will the infrastructure design align with that direction? (I would hope)
Perfect storm.

The technology is objectively there and the trajectory is being achieved.

The new adminstration is coming in high and hard on this subject. President Amtrak didn't nominate Buttigieg at Transportaton and Granholm at Energy to be coatholders. This is truly an inflection point regarding energy and transportation.
 

shmessy

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I am reading GM's statement (i.e., a "zero emissions" product line-up) as them not offering hybrids with onboard gas engine generators by 2035. That choice has policy implications (i.e., whether everyone needs access to a charger or not). So when I said "take the lead," I didn't necessarily mean planning things optimally, I meant that (right or wrong) they jumped out ahead of the infrastructure designers by making that choice.
Absolutely. Which makes yesterday a rather historic day. That was a leapfrog. Will be fascinating to watch the fallout and ice cracking.

Mary Barra is going to have a few more books written about her.
 

Bananarama

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Don't count GM's chickens before they hatch.

They're the butt of all jokes in the automotive world - for bungling Cadillac as a brand for the last 30 years, engine/general reliability/quality issues, squandering their lead in the EV market early on, etc. But definitely have an opportunity to turn around here. The difficulty they have is a lack of agility. Such a large corporation with moving parts a plenty. Very slow to react to market demands. They're known to put out a decent product and let it rot with a lack of updates (see their entire car/non-suv lineup) so they'll need a better approach with this EV launch.

For as much as Tesla and Musk bother me, their strategy is a winner. A focused lineup of vehicles, consistent development and updates (primarily OTA), and a streamlined buyer experience. AND coupled with a charging infrastructure plan that is leagues ahead of anyone else right now.

Biden has announced plans to electrify the federal vehicle fleet and GM would be wise to get in on that too.
 

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