Electric Car Technology Upgrades, Subsidies, and the Anti-Nuke Crowd
Updated Charging Technology
An email recently came in from Blink telling me they want to install a new card in my electric car charger. New technology always involves a learning curve. If any discipline should be a science (other than science), it is engineering but even engineering involves a lot of trial and error. The first jet engines were unbelievably primitive by today’s standards.
The new Leaf will have a more efficient heating system that will extend the range in cold weather. Not sure what they are up to but hopefully it is one of these heat pumps. It will also come with a charger that is about twice as fast as the one on my car. Oh well. Obsolete already.
Subsidizing an Electric Highway
The government continues to spend money on the electric highway:
The stretch of 160 miles of Interstate 5 served by eight stations marks the next big step in developing an infrastructure … By the end of this year, DC fast-chargers will be installed along I-5 from Canada to the California border, a distance of about 550 miles. Another 22 are being installed in locations as far away as 120 miles from Portland, Oregon’s largest city.
IMHO, this is a complete waste of government money. Even if you paid the extra $2,000 to get the 440 volt option on your Leaf you still have to stop every 70 or so miles for a 30 minute charge, never mind the Nissan recommendation not to use the fast charger very often because doing so will significantly degrade the battery life. I will probably never use my 440 volt capability and even if I do it most certainly will not be worth the extra money.
Today’s state of electric car technology is adequate for urban driving. Government funded efforts to facilitate electric car road trips are …just classic.
My wife and I attended the Seattle symphony last week. The parking garage has three primo parking spots with chargers for electric cars located right next to the elevator. I never bother with the chargers because, like everyone else, I don’t need a dollar’s worth of free electricity. After the symphony we got out of the elevator to find a gaggle of people surrounding our Leaf. They were envious of our special treatment, but won’t be for long because soon enough there will be too many electric cars for that and the whole charging station thing will eventually go away once enough people realize that nobody needs or uses them.
Better to Have a Gas Guzzler?
From a lay press article titled Nuclear power undermines electric cars’ green image:
In Japan, electric car drivers are already feeling the heat. With nuclear likely to remain a major source of power, “then the green image of the electric car will get bashed to bits, maybe to the extent it will be irreparable,” Ryuichi Kino, who has written books on nuclear power and hybrid technology, is quoted as saying by the AP.
Corporate Vice President Hideaki Watanabe, who oversees Nissan’s zero-emission business, insists sales are on target and haven’t dropped after the March disaster. The nuclear crisis has highlighted that the Leaf can be a backup storage for electricity in emergency blackouts, he said.
Should this actually catch on, and it wouldn’t surprise me, motivating people to buy gas guzzlers instead of electric cars, I will chalk it up as yet another hit to the environment by the anti-nuclear crowd.