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funkdaddy's avatar

How will infrastructure adapt to electric vehicles?

Asked by funkdaddy (17777points) November 17th, 2017

Electric cars seem to be here to stay and some manufacturers are already committing to no longer make gas powered vehicles in the next few years.

There are a lot of cars out there and if any significant number of drivers switch from gas to electric there are going to be some new challenges. How do you think things like gas stations and electrical grids will need to change? How will existing apartments, dorms, and parking garages keep those without a garage all charged up and ready to drive?

If those things aren’t part of the future, then what is going to replace them, and what are we going to do with all the excess places built specifically for a gas based transportation system?

Things can only change so fast, but it would seem there’s going to be a domino effect and quite a bit will have to change before the whole new paradigm comes together.

What’s your best guess for how that goes in the next 10–20 years?

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18 Answers

Tropical_Willie's avatar

The manufacturers I’ve about changing from exclusively gas to a hybrid (gas and electricity). Like Volvo in 2019. or Ford and GM electrified units are in the future. So not all cars will be electricity only.
That said; in my area of North Carolina municipalities have several Electric Autos Only parking spaces in community lots, with a charging unit and plug. My house which is about 10 years old, has a 240 outlet installed in the garage (my idea) for future use.

funkdaddy's avatar

I understand gas will be around for a long time, but from the GM article you linked

As the first steps, GM plans to introduce two new all-electric models next year and 18 more in the next five years.

and from Volvo

Volvo also announced it would launch five new electric and hybrid cars between 2019 and 2021

Someone is buying those cars once they’re built. Even if they have to discount them heavily, someone is going to jump in. Once they’re built, they’re on the road.

And many of those hybrids are able to be plugged in. At some point the buyer’s thinking will shift from “where will I plug in” to “how long will I be able to get gas easily”, much like you putting the plug in your garage, people tend to think 5 years out when they buy a car.

josie's avatar

Have to build more fossil fuel power plants to produce the electricity to charge up all those batteries.
Fewer oil refineries, more power plants

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

A large amount of electric power does not come from fossil fuels.

Regarding the question – we will need to find road funding to replace falling gas tax revenues.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Until we have electric cars that can go 500–600 miles per charge, with a recharge time measured in minutes (Not hours) electronic cars will not get mass acceptance outside of urban areas.

Right now I can drive from Atlanta to Washington DC in about 9–10 hours with one stop for a tank of gas (well, another stop to pee as well). My refueling takes about 10 minutes.

If I can’t drive from Atlanta to Washington (around 9–10 hours) in an electric, then I won’t choose that sort of vehicle. As I understand it, I can do the drive, but I’m going to lose half a day for a recharge. If I can find a charging station in the middle of the Appalachians.

For city/suburban driving, electronics may be useful. For distance driving, no.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Very few people drive 500 miles a day anywhere in the US. You can rent a car for the few days that you do.

Non-electric cars will be more costly as electric use increases. And self-driving cars are going to make the expense of personal car ownership unnecessary for lots of people.

It’s like horse ownership. Sure you can keep a horse for transportation. But the cost is impractical for most.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay – what you write is all true. But off the point.

If the societal goal is to have us move to electric cars by <choose the date>, then electric cars have to do the job that internal combustion cars do today.

What you just write is an excuse, or maybe a surrender. You essentially said that electric cars can’t (and won’t ever) be able to fully replace IC engines. The rationale “very few people drive 500 miles a day” is not an acceptable one, when there are many that do. It’s a way of letting the electronic car industry off the hook.

As a consumer, why should I have to rent a car when by current IC car has none of the range issues of an electronic car?

Or is the suggestion to own two cars – one for city and the other for long distance trips?

I go back to my original posting: if electronic vehicles are going to succeed, they need to fully, not partially, replace the function of IC vehicles.

funkdaddy's avatar

the question is actually how infrastructure will change with electric cars becoming more common

stanleybmanly's avatar

I expect that charging stations will become standard fixtures in most large apartment complex garages and parking lots, as well as those parking facilities associated with people’s workplaces. I also expect the implementation of variable prices for electric power depending on the hours of the day with bargain prices for wee hour usage.

Patty_Melt's avatar

Drive in movies will come back, complete with charging docks and wifi, so people can be entertained and charging at the same time.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@funkdaddy – infrastructure has to include

- charging stations along highways
– places for people to wait while vehicles are being recharged
– towtrucks that understand electric cars
– 220/240 v plugins everwhere and in great numbers

Patty_Melt's avatar

Car ownership may see massive changes. For long trips, there might be car corrals, where one car can be dropped, and exchanged for another, like fresh horses for the pony express.

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kritiper's avatar

It will be difficult.
Imagine this: You buy a brand-new electric car that comes with a brand-new $15,000 battery. The first time you need to change it out (as easy as filling your gas tank on a gasoline engine car) for a battery of questionable age. Does that make you happy??
In 10 years or so the car is worn out and you trade it in for a new one. They won’t give you any trade-in allowance for the battery, so you lose 90% of the car’s trade in value, (as compared to a gasoline engine car). Does that make you happy??
The car company refurbishes that old car you traded in by installing a new battery. That “old” car will cost the buyer 90% of a brand-new car. IF it can be sold for such a price. Who is happy now??
Hold on to that idea of a world full of only electric cars. It may be fleeting.
The point I’m trying to make is that those electric cars will have no resale value. And not every one can or will be able to afford a brand-new electric car every 10 years or so, much less a new battery.

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