EV execs offer solutions for range anxiety
At a press event held by Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., clean-tech executives from Tesla Motors, Panasonic, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers discuss the challenges for electrified vehicles and what technology hurdles lie ahead for "fast" charging stations.
Are they MAD??
Are they MAD??
I need to recharge en route.
So the batteries need to be leased items, exchanged at the charging base. or they need to be able to be recharged a hundred times faster than they discharge.
When you have decided which solution to offer me I will consider replacing hydrocarbons as my primary power store.
Are they MAD??
Speaker: So how about the range issue. This is obviously something big in consumer's perception. You know, they believe that a car that only goes 100 miles on a charge is just not going to deal with their weekend warrior needs. So Tesla is up to 300 miles or so on a charge, but you still have the recharge. So what are some solutions around that? Is Tesla just counting that 300 miles is plenty for their kind of customer, or are there faster ways to recharge coming down the pipeline? How do we extend that range, both in range within one charge, and then the recharge itself?
Speaker: Yeah, I mean, we're looking to push the bounds on range. We were the first company to put a 200-mile EV on the road. We'll be the first with that 300-mile EV next year with the Model S. To the extent, there's customer demand, you know, and the cost performance continues to improve, you know, demand for a 400-mile EV, you know, that's certainly something that the company can work on. What we've seen is early on, a lot of roadster customers who come, they have questions about range. They're used to getting in a car that show 350 miles on -- 350 miles to empty on the indicator. They look at a Roadster 245. They think that there are going to be some challenges there, but they start to find that, you know, one, the infrastructure is incredibly prevalent. They can charge very easily at home. They can charge at their place of work. More and more, people are public infrastructure in place. We've had customers do this on their own. We've had a few partners install these. So between San Francisco and L.A., on the 5, there are a few publicly available charging stations. On the 101, there are, I think, five or six, so we're starting to see more of that come into place, and it's meeting more and more of their needs. Now, that's existing infrastructure. It's what we call level two charging. So we charge a roadster empty to full in about three-and-a-half hours. Next year, we'll be -- the Model S will be capable of direct current fast charging, or level three charging. That will do empty to full in around 45 minutes. So the charge times are improving, you know, through advances in technology, both on the vehicle side and on the infrastructure side.
Speaker: And that 45 minutes is a full charge?
Speaker: Yeah --
Speaker: More or less?
Speaker: -- Pretty much.
Speaker: There's some ends at the bottom and top end of the stated charge that take a little longer, but it's through improvements in cell technology, advances in the infrastructure. And we're finding customers are comfortable with that. So with Model S, while we're offering a 300-mile version, we're also offering a 160 because many customers are finding, you know, of their daily driving needs, they actually don't need as much range as they initially anticipated.
Speaker: And range in batteries is a big cost factor. Is that the reason for the 160?
Speaker: Absolutely, so you know, as you look at Model S, with three different derivatives, customers can pick the battery pack size that suits their needs. This is something that's not -- it's a new kind of feature differentiator in cars. Energy storage is energy storage. You don't see, you know, huge changes in performance and other attributes of the car the same way you do in the size of your internal combustion engine. So as you move from the 230-mile pack to the 300-mile pack, there's nothing else you can kind of show off to your friends. It's energy storage.
Speaker: Yeah, so 45-minute recharge. That's lunch. So that's pretty acceptable in my terms. So that's -- how close is that 45-minute charge?
Speaker: In terms of -- the market is already --
Speaker: When it's going to be available to the market.
Speaker: Yeah, I mean, the market is already there, and it's actually getting much better. I mean, there is an electric bus deployment in L.A. County, where the vehicles recharge dead to full in 10 minutes. Now, it's interesting. You're pushing the technology problem over to the infrastructure side because now you need bigger pipes. But I mean, I'm very bullish on the potential for fast charge, and it really is just a question of kind of what type of degradation and safety issues are you dealing with the with the cells, but there's not basic science reason why you can't reload a battery pack very quickly.
Speaker: And there's not only a lot of competition already in the EVSE, the EV supply equipment side, the chargers, if you will, but both the SAE and their counterparts in other parts of the world are finishing up standards that, you know, typically always lag the introduction of new products. So the final standard for the fast charge is the plug, and the plug is ultimate. That standard is in the works. The good news is then you won't have to carry around a bunch of power cords if you have a 20-year old car, like you do today. But those things are marvelously going along and parallel in a way that very often does not happen in other fields. So it's pretty exciting. The electric grid, itself, of course, needs considerable help. And it isn't just the subsidization issues that were discussed earlier, but it really has a lot to do with the ability to share, to improve load balancing, to manage your systems -- power systems better than you do today, and to literally bridge the gaps between the source and that local use because, like, 20 percent of the power is lost in the transmission, right? So those things are also improving. And I think you'll be surprised how quickly the ubiquity will appear.