The DCFC Riddle
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- Aug 31, 2019 7:41 pm GMTAug 31, 2019 7:41 pm GMT
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Why haven’t you bought an electric vehicle yet? If you’re like me, you simply can’t afford any car made in the last 10 years (I settled on a very nice 2000 Mercury Grand Marquis last year). However, it’s more likely that you’ve held off because of anxiety over charging times and a lack of charging stations. I don’t blame you. Even as ranges have increased to around 200-300 miles, the greenmobiles still take too long to reload and the stations are scarce, putting that road trip through Montana and the Dakotas out of the question.
Well, in a few years there should be plenty of DC Fast Charging Stations (DCFC) … right? Maybe not. As it stands right now the really high-powered stations simply aren’t profitable due to demand charges. So, we have a classic chicken-egg problem: The public won’t buy electric cars until there are a lot of DCFC stations, but companies can’t make money off DCFC stations until there are a lot of electric cars.
Of course, because DCFC stations are vital to the long-term future of electric cars and all the benefits they promise, utilities are on the hunt for solutions to this conundrum. Good old Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) proposed a subscription-like charging rate last year with the goal of spurring investment in stations and commercial fleets of e-vehicles. Xcel Energy put in place a demand limiter mechanism that caps billable kw quantity that’s used to figure out demand charges.
I hope we find some way to spread DCFC Stations far and wide. An insane and every growing percentage of the world’s population lives in urban areas where air pollution exceeds healthy limits. As a consequence, many people die of related complications—6.5 million in 2012. That’s a lot of death, and a lot of lost money too.