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December 11, 2006


Harvey D.

This is welcomed news.

It may turn off many anti-PHEV-EV pro ICE who previously claimed that the power grid could never supply enough energy to recharge the vehicle batteries overnight.

It would be a non-event to increase the grid and generating capacity for the remaining 16%.


The gas supply for North America is shrinking, but it would be feasible to burn oil in combined-cycle plants to replace the natural gas.  The efficiency of the latest intercooled gas turbines has hit 50% before bottoming cycles, so it would take just a fraction of the oil saved from the vehicles themselves to make all the electricity they'd require.


33 miles per day is the average trip. So a 35 to 40 mile plugin battery range ought to do the trick.

The batteries for that range are fairly inexpensive and the weight is no problem either.

But building new power plants is not a good thing. Every new plant will have to be operated at maximum capacity (and maximum fuel and GHG emissions or nuclear waste production)to pay the debt incurred, that is how business works.

They will short circuit the financing of renewables, and that is definitely the plan of the boardroomies who love to profit off of fossil and nuclear power.

New wind, water, and solar power is much better. This study proves that present power generation capacity will power the grid when renewable power dips, and that plugin vehicles will be no problem for the grid. No new fossil and nuclear power plants are needed!

Now expand your conciousness DOEers. Grok the fact that 100s of millions of solid oxide fuel cell/plugin vehicles could replace those aging nuclear and fossil power plants. One by one, starting with the dirtiest and most dangerous (nukes built on fault lines ring any bells?) plants could be shuttered as the number of these cars and the number of wind, water, and solar power systems increases.

For the Pacific Northwest, offshore wind, wave, and ocean current power could easily boost capacity. For now, renewable sources could replace a portion of hydroelectric power then the extra water left impounded could make up for any short supply during peak recharging hours.

And of course with quick charge battery (less than 30 minutes to full charge) fuel cell vehicles plugged into biogas or natural gas lines when parked,the storage and generation flexibility would take care of any supply/demand mismatch.

Without trillions spent on fossil and nuclear power and grid upgrades, not to mention oil wars with terrorists weilding nuclear weapons obtained thanks to nuclear proliferation.

Thomas Pedersen

Good point, Engineer-Poet. Most gas-burning power plants are already capable of running on oil.

However, the not-so-silvery lining is that this makes it even harder to argue for stronger grids to accomodate more renewable energy, e.g. solar from Nevada for daytime charging of PHEVs at work. :-|

Thomas Marihart

This makes good sense, and it can be done today with much of the existing manufacturing and infrastructure.

With the more efficient batteries hitting the market, the ranges/discharge/efficiency/ capacity can be extended, and at lower cost at volume PHEV production.

As an added bonus, these vehicles can basically allow utilities to get better value for the power they sell as PHEVs are actually an off balance sheet tool for power arbitrage, and might be a passive form of DG.

They could also be a tool for the customer to 'peak shave' if a few dollars of power electronics are added to allow these PHEVs to discharge power as required by the customer during times of high demand. Might be a nice camping accessory and emergengy backup source too. This function may be limited by round trip efficiencies, but it could be a really handy feature nonetheless.

I'd also want an input for a roof mountable PV concentrator array to charge as it goes or sits in the parking lot...

Too bad I can't have it for Christmas!


I find this report hard to accept.

The average condomimium dweller uses 20 KWh per day and has 2 cars, each requiring 50 KWhs to recharge for 100 KWh.

So electricity consumption will increase 6 folds, and NOT by 40% !!!

And then they are saying we have enough plants to supply that? Who are they kidding?

I believe this is an exercise in PR - in order to promote EVs - which by itself is a great idea -- but never never never, obfuscate the truth, no matter what the great intentions and idealisms may be. You just cannot do that. Period.


Actually beek, the 33 miles only takes around 5 to 6 kwh. 20 kwh per day per home is high, and with conservation and renewable energy systems that daily total could drop to 7 kwh. 12 and 7, 19 kwh per day for a 2 car household. About 6000 kwh per year per home.

A rooftop solar system or medium sized wind system will get that much.

With fuel cell backup generation that runs on biogas, those two vehicles could provide 800kwh of electricity to the power grid per day.

Yep, it's a revolution just waiting to happen.


Beek, you're conflating the energy consumption of a full EV driven to its range limit every day (50 kWh) with a PHEV (perhaps 7-10 kWH of battery) driven in a commute (20-30 miles @ 200 Wh/mile, 4-6 kWh/day).  As you can see, that error causes your numbers to be about 10x too high.


EP, there is no doubt in my mind that PHEV are dinosaurs doomed to extinction. EVs are the future, with the advent of the new phosphate lithium batteries.

Amazingdrx, the average household electricity usage on the east coast is $75 a month. That is about 25 KWh per day. Now if conservation is successful, that will get reduced. But we are talking of on the ground facts today, and conservation will take years and years, if ever, to arrive at 7 kWh daily consumption per household.

Now for a standard 4 door sedan, you get 2.5 mpkWh. (smaller cars will get more milage). Assume each household has 1.5 cars of this size, and assume 15,000 miles travelled per year (including long distance), then you need 24 kWh of charging per day (and not the 100 that I initially guesstimated).

So household electricity usage will jump by 100% if all convert to BPEVs (battery powered EVs). And 80% if 80% convert.

I am not sure why the report optimistally claims electricity usage will only increase by 40% instead of 80%.

There is no way the grid and the generators can support a doubling of power consumption. I think there will be panic around the time frame of 2010 - 2011, with price of electricity jumping to 30 cents a kWh, when consumers discover they can "fill the tank" with $2 electricity and not $30 gasoline.


The report is talking about PHEV's, not BEV's.  We're also a few years away from affordable 250-mile battery packs for BEV's (but much closer for 20+ mile PHEV's).  That's why the numbers come out as they do.


"Now for a standard 4 door sedan, you get 2.5 mpkWh."

Whoops Beek. Actually the equivalent of a gallon of gas used in an ICE vehicle is around 6kwh used in an electric car.

That puts that 33 mile average daily trip at around 6kwh average. 50 miles on a gallon for the extreme economy cars like the hybrids with regen braking. 25 miles per gallon or less for larger SUVs with regen braking.

As far as the average energy use getting cut by 2/3rds, read the blog entry here about the science teacher who did it.

The huge waste of energy is conventional air conditioning/ electric resistance heating. replacing that with geothermal heat pump heating and cooling would bring that goal of 2/3rds reduction in sight.

Harvey D.

In our area, clean hydro electricity is abundant and cheaper than fuel oil or natural gaz.

All electric homes (80+% of total) consume from 25 to 100 Kwh/day (avg. = about 62.5 Kwh/day) depending on size, number of residents, location, insulation/windows/doors quality and use of more efficient lights, aplliances and HVAC (heat pumps)etc.

The electrical energy required for 2 PHEVs (2 x 10 Kwh/day = about 20 Kwh/day) could easily be made available through existing, easy to apply, energy conservation methods to reduce the average all electric home consumption by 20 KWh/day i.e. from 62.5 to 42,5 Kwh/day or by about 32%.

We went from 65 Kwh/day to 35 Kwh/day by doing just that during the last 10 years and will drop to about 25 Kwh/day in our more efficent new home in 2007.

In other words, we have at our disposal, many ways to run 2 PHEVs per family without overly increasing the total electric grid load while smoothing grid load with night time charging.

Smoothing grid load could translate into uncreased overall efficiency (+10% to 20%) and corresponding cheaper electric energy.


You guys are trying to correlate the average daily energy use of a single household to the total energy use. Industries, lighting office buildings, and more all contribute to power usage. It is not unreasonable to conclude that only 40% more energy would be required to power all our cars, and that energy could be drawn from the off-peak power that is not being utilized.


"All Electric" is indeed the future, but the PHEV has certain advantages for the transition to that future, including not requiring as many batteries (supply is currently tight), and not being limited by publicly available charging facilities.

The same number of batteries for one EV with a 250 mile range would make 10 PHEVs with a 25 mile range.

alternative fuels

We must find ways to conserve energy before its too late. Every little effort we do is big enough to make a change and help preserve our planet.

We must be responsible to take care of our environment or say sorry for what we have done, and the effect could be irreversible.

If you want to know more about helping our environronment, check out these links: http://gohybrid.blogspot.com
and http://greenfuelpower.blogspot.com

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