|MY RANGE ANXIETY RANT
||[Nov. 14th, 2009|10:48 am]
Real High Anxiety
i was just reading all week-- a lot of folks in dark blue suits writing about green shit, er, "clean tech." And i gotta say most of it was so L-A-M-E. I mean this stuff was in top notch pubs, like James & James whose R.E. World has been a close friend forever-- until this guy from Merrile Lynch pooped all over it. I mean he had one cool concept in his screed; an economic look at carbon and hydrogen in a really novel way, how we keep moving from greater carbon-to-hydrogen ratios to much greater H-to-C. Like from Wood (10:1 carbon for every hydrogen molecule), to coal 2:1, to oil 1:2 to natural gas at 4:1.It was a cool idea, but he got two more pages after that, which he basically filled with sophistic diarrhea. And it goes all over the map-- from how climate change might lead to the melting of the snowcaps of Kilimanjaro (really, is that the worse that's going to happen?) and of course, how we need much more nuclear power (at least that was parenthesized by a shout out to solar/wind. Zzzzz... But then I woke up because all of the sudden there was this din of chatter equal to a heated cackling on The View. And it was all these ev specialists, and consultants, and writers going on and on about Range Anxiety
And I think really, it's the silliest thing. To begin with, even 20 lead acid batteries (esp. if u add a small 400watt ultra-capacitor) is more than enough for 75% of commuters. That costs, what, 15-25% of the cost of the Volt's batteries. And the fact that the price of batteries keeps going down annually, new batts keep showing up (zinc air, metal air, carbon nanotube, vanadium redox, all that stuff we've already talked about). So Range Anxiety is not really going to be an issue.
But at the same time, we all wanna go on a road trips, or follow our favorite band across the country (not to mention the traveling sales people, and others who have to drive for 14 hours a day), so being able to drive long distances in an EV without having to wait 4 hours to recharge for every 2 hours of driving is an issue. That's why people are like mad into stuff like BetterPlace (or the betterplace clones already out there), eEstors...
BUT! I don't want to rent/lease robot-changeable batteries just because the batteries are too expensive ....or to placate one's range-anxiety. And you don't need eEstor to get a 5 min charge! imagine if Exxon Shell et al deployed posicharge chargers in all their service stations. Now! But then again, do we really need gas stations? even if they all somehow morphed into EVcharging, even with robots who change the batteries for us? This may sound crazy because no deal is even in place yet, but i already know who is going to have a big part of the charger business up here in Canada. It's a company called Tim Hortons. Right now they sell donuts and coffee.
And they are more than a Canadian institution, almost canonized for some reason. But mark my words, in Canada during phase one of vehicle electrification, "Timmies" will be the #1 place to charge your EV while driving from city to city, or to just 'top up' while driving around the suburbs doing errands. They won't be the only one (McDonalds is already leading the way), but they are dotting the highways and everywhere in the burbs.. And they won't be alone, and they wont be the first-- McDonalds already started, WalMart will get in on it, and you're going to see more of this everywhere.
But i don't really care all that much about whats going to be in 2-10 years, I'm way more curious about the next 8-20: Gimme my wi-power!! and send it to my charger from antennas! And/or gimme inductive strips along a quarter of the streets, and highways (and bill me for what i use!). At the very least, put the inductive strips on the street where parking is permitted (and new parking meters, usually with solar panels, are all wifi-enabled) and let me pay for my parking and a charge at the same time. Cause just because you can make a battery pack that will give you 300km on a charge doesn't mean you have to be all hoggy with those rare materials. If/when we have wi-charging and inductive strips, everyone would be just as happy with $4k of LiFePO4's as with one of these 'fully charged' EVs. So that's what I want us to do: envision inductive charging strips in the roads (just like those fancy new inductive mats for your pda, psp, ipod...). Imagine dotting the highways on an electric car or electric motorcycle with an unlimited amount of electricity! Because it's just as possible and just as real as any of these other techs we know of. And probably a lot cheaper in the long run...