How the smart grid build-out will affect EV deployment
Phil Davis, senior manager at Schneider Electric, and John LoPorto, president and CEO of Power Tagging, give their perspective at the Networked EV 2011 conference in San Francisco.
Electric Vehicles and Grid Power for fuel economy
I listened with interest to the discussion about the Smart Grid and EV Deployment.
This provides a forum for me to air an idea for powering electric vehicles.
Here is an insight to make electric-powered vehicles more functional: Electric cars would be superior to internal combustion vehicles in all the way they are, but have this limitation in the range they can be driven between recharging.
To make vehicles with long-range capability, one needs to have continual recharging while they are moving, or to be externally-powered and then be able to be taken off-line for moving to their ultimate destination.
This can be accomplished by one of two methods: One would be linear magnetic propulsion, and the other would be by linear transformer pickup.
The long stretch of road would be like the stator of a linear accelerator, or the linear primary of a transformer. Access would be managed something like a toll road.
The vehicle would maneuver under its own power onto the roadway, above the excitation device (the accelerator or primary coil.) With the flip of an onboard switch, the vehicle would be powered or accelerated by the under-road electromagnetic field. Metering would be managed to determine the toll for road and power use.
If operated like an accelerator, all the vehicles on this roadway could be maintained to travel at the same speed. This would provide additional traffic safety and could possibly reduce the requirement of driver attention. (almost like riding through a car wash, or riding a ferry.)
To exit the roadway, the operator would switch off the onboard coupling mechanism and pull away from the powered lane, onto the roadway exit and onto connecting roads.
The vehicle would thus use external power to convey it long distances and then have remaining reserve power to negotiate the city streets, etc. to its destination.
Without the battery-limitation constraints to conserve power, the vehicle could operate headlights, air-conditioning and other necessary conveniences, drawing its power from under the roadway.
A disadvantage of the internal-combustion engine is the inefficiency of the power cycle. Only about 35% of the energy in the fuel is available for propulsion. Electric motors and transformer coupling would be in the order of 90%. Combustion byproduct pollution could be handled at the power house, away from traffic.
The only way this would work would be in a system like a toll road. Each vehicle would be billed according to how much power it drew and maybe the miles driven. Drivers would lose their freedom to to travel at desired speeds, or to depart the roadway, except as provided. We have developed the paradigm of individual travel that the internal-combustion engine provides.
Roadway systems are in place. Electric cars are being manufactured. We just need to couple them.
Thank you for hearing my idea and opinion. Please respond to John K Ward, email@example.com.
Speaker: What is your take on this sort of -- the 2007 to 2011 smart grid build-out, and how that is going to be very beneficial or not to this EV deployment?
Speaker: Well, there have been a number of advance, you know, primarily deployments stimulated by Department of Energy funding and other mechanisms. But we know a lot more about what's going on with the customer side, so we can anticipate demand, and we're much better at modeling it. We're much better at forecasting than we were even four or five years ago. We're much better at understanding, whether normalizing for population shifts and those kinds of things. And so that's being complimented by a whole new level of distribution automation products, things that can take what used to be a static rating on a line and basically the limit that a utility had to face whether it could it send out more power or not, and now is converting that to a dynamic rating that changes with conditions like humidity and load factors and power quality and so forth. Things that we couldn't do a few years again, which makes the existing infrastructure much more efficient than it was and able to deliver more load. Things like understanding characteristics, so for example, you know, instead of thinking about chargers being on or off, we think of them as being from zero to ten, and so does it pull 40 amps? Does it pull 10 amps? Well, maybe that depends on who's running a washing machine or has an oven turned on, and maybe you balance the entire system instead of just trying to attack one little piece of it. And at the same time, maybe you rotate activities. You know, most of us are familiar with demand response, and we think of it in terms of an activity where we turn off the air conditioners for four hours, and we really get uncomfortable. But in today's world, the DR 2.0 world as we like to call it, we're not doing that anymore. We're taking slices of things. We're dialing back fan speeds by 20 percent, which is a 50 percent reduction in energy. We're beginning to take advantage of the physics of electricity rather than merely just saying, well, you can't do that for the next four hours.
Speaker: So I agree with Phil's observations, though I would add that I think, unfortunately, most of the necessary enhancements to the grid that are going to ultimately necessary for any kind of ubiquitous roll-out of electric vehicles has yet to occur. I think most of the work is still ahead of us.
Speaker: If you could rank those, I mean, what comes first? What comes second? Is it communication is ubiquitous? Is that --
Speaker: Well, I'll admit to a bias. You know, my background is more networking and network management. I'm a firm believer that you can't manage what you can't measure. If you can't tell where things are, how do you balance a system like that? So until more utilities have, in fact, moved beyond just very limited pilots of being able to communicate directly with your car and knowing where your car fits into that overall scheme so that it can be balanced as a piece of a much larger system, and to Phil's point, not just one isolated little problem, I don't think any meaningful progress will occur.