Did we have the infrastructure to support cars for every American when they made the first car? No.
Consider the fact that 1900 America was nothing like 2000 America. Most of the country's population was rural at the time. Most people didn't run their cars on gasoline, but on whatever petroleum or alcohol-based liquid was locally available. The infrastructure wasn't needed
. Now, most of the country lives in urban settings, and the modern gasoline fueling system was able to grow along with that population shift. The current electric grid also grew along with that shift.
Does everyone in America live in an apartment like you? No.
Does everyone? No, but a significant portion of the population does.
I really don't see why you're being so condemning here. You say it will take decades to support us all on plug-ins. I say it will take decades to get us all into plug-ins. Works out pretty well.
I just don't see what you're trying to say. Should they stop making plug-ins?
I don't see what is so "condemning." In fact, I said I'd like to see an electric car. I just laid out the facts as they exist. Everyone treats the electric car idea like it is the answer to all the world's problems. They think electricity just happens at the outlet and don't consider how it got there. (Of course, the same people think that meat just appears at the grocery store.) The North American electric grid is generally considered to be the most complex man-made object. It's one big circuit and NOBODY really understands how it all works. And frankly, we don't really have as much control over it as we like to think.
I'm saying it can't be "time for an electric car yet" because the car technology is advancing too fast
for our infrastructure. Yes, it will "take decades to get us all into plug-ins", but we don't ALL have to have plug-ins before, the capacity of our system will be exceeded.
I'd be willing to wager that if even 10% of our cars (that's about 14 million cars, I'm ignoring SUVs and trucks) were electric, it would be too much. If our grid could grow at the same rate as acceptance of electric vehicles, then yes, everything would be just peachy. But that Tesla costs less that $60k right? That's already
putting it well within the reach of many people. It costs less than a Corvette and those are everywhere. In a few years time, an electric car will cost even less. The price point is dropping faster than our grid is growing, and that price will make them SO desirable that they'll be adopted rather quickly. And that is assuming the gov't doesn't decide to "save us" and force all new cars to be electric, in which case the adoption will be even faster. (DTV transition anyone?) A large portion of this country leases a new vehicle every 3-4 years, and in the next several cycles, we could see those cars becoming electric. We're looking at a transition from gasoline to electric cars in the new car market that could occur in 10-15 years. That 14 million cars I mentioned before is about 2 years worth
of auto sales in the US. That's right - in 2 years time we could see 10% of the US in electric cars once the price break is reached. The transition will happen quickly because the average person thinks
that electricity comes from the outlet and that is all there is to it.
Meanwhile, our grid upgrades are moving much more slowly. Heck, it takes 3-5 years to design and build ONE large substation! And power plants can take 6-15 years! And permitting can add another 10. We don't have the people resources to design and build any faster. My company has projects on the horizon for the next 10 years even and even in this economy is still hiring. Our schools simply aren't graduating enough electrical engineers that want to join the power field. Everyone wants to go into a "high-tech" industry and sees power engineering as archaic (even though it is far from it). Last I knew there were fewer than 30 power engineering programs left in the US. Our people are working at capacity and can't keep up with the existing
demand for utility upgrades. The additional demand that will be caused by even a few percent of the population adopting electric cars is going to put us underwater.
We have to be realistic here. Our electrical grid in 10-15 years really isn't going to look that much different, but our transportation means have that potential. Oh sure, the end user will think the grid is vastly different because we'll all have little monitoring devices in our homes telling us how much electricity we use, but the system outside the house won't really be that much different.
I don't really know what the solution is, and no, I'm not saying to stop producing electric cars. I'm just a bit cynical about how this will all play out.
We'll either see rapid adoption of electric cars and the ensuing disaster as our grid fails, or utilities will raise rates on purpose to slow adoption to a rate they can handle. Then people will just blame "Big Electric" for being in bed with "Big Oil" and force gov't intervention and a whole new slew of problems.
And you don't have to rip up parking lots to run 220v outlets into an apartment complex. In America we tend to run our power lines overhead.
Not really true anymore. A lot of newer construction of "urban developments" (ie, the kinds of places that have large parking lots) use underground feeders. You ever notice those green boxes with high voltage stickers on them in housing developments? They contain the transformers and switchgear that are pole mounted in older areas.