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When there are articles about electric cars on HN, I often see people in the comments proclaim that the end of gas cars is near.

Serious question: How do electric cars work for people who live in apartments without a dedicated parking spot (street parking only)? Or more common, someone without a garage without an outdoor outlet nearby?

Is the assumption that charging stations need to become even more ubiquitous than gas stations (assuming the car needs to charge for longer than people are willing to wait at a charging station)?




> Is the assumption that charging stations need to become even more ubiquitous than gas stations

Electricity is already ubiquitous, we just need to install the chargers.

E.g. trials have started to install EV chargers in lamp posts https://www.driving.co.uk/news/lamp-post-powered-electric-ca...


>Electricity is already ubiquitous, we just need to install the chargers.

And actually provide enough power.

I mean, a street lamp is usually (traditional lamp) 250 W, a modern (led) lamp 80-100 W, there is no way the existing infrastructure (cables and before them transformers) will be able to provide 10 or 15 or 20 kW (at each post).

Typically street lamps are 30 m or so apart, and in that gap at least 6 or 7 car (maybe more) park in a city.

If they become most (or prevalently) electric each post will have 6 car connected.

Even with 1/3 coincidence factor, further divided by two (assuming that people will charge their cars every two days), we are talking anyway of 6*10/6= 10 kW per post, whihc means that to power a 300 m stretch of street you need a 100 kW dedicated transformer.

And a receptacle is "lost" for the whole night (or day).

I mean, you come back home around 19:30 and plug your car in a lamp post power receptacle, even if your car is fully charged after - say - 4 hours, are you really going to go out at 11:30, unplug your car and move it to another spot (IF there is a free one) in order to allow another person to charge his/her car?

And how long will be the charging cable (the one you have on board)?

It must be at least 20 m long to reach the lamp post if the parking spot you find is in the middle of two lamp posts.


Char.gy (referenced in the link) seems to be in just 2 or 3 London boroughs[0], whereas Ubitricity seem to cover more boroughs[1]. Looking at the photos, it seems Char.gy add a box to the lamp posts while Ubitricity don't, which may be an issue for conservation areas which have installed heritage lamp posts.

[0] https://char.gy/map

[1] https://www.ubitricity.co.uk/residential_charging/


I don't know... it also requires: - charging cables that can't easily be stolen, between my car & lamp post. - infrastructure that allows me to pay for consumed electricity, and doesn't allow random person to steal it (or are we assuming electricity will be free?)

I mean, I'd love to see that, but it doesn't look likely in the near future, unfortunately. I still think it's more likely that we'll have fast-charging batteries that you can refill in a few minutes, rather than charger-at-every-parking-spot.


Most electric cars now have locks on the charging cable port so cables cannot be unplugged without unlocking, and these types of charging solutions are operated by dedicated app and/or NFC card and won't start charging if you haven't registered your payment details first so electricity can't be "stolen". I'm sure both can be hacked, but if you really want to steal cables and/or electricity there are probably easier/safer ways to do so.


> infrastructure that allows me to pay for consumed electricity, and doesn't allow random person to steal it

Smart meters have existed for quite a while now. An electricity meter with LTE and a card reader is not a difficult thing to make (not very different from a parking meter)


Yes, but having one smart meter at each lighting pole? Neah, sorry, I don't see that happening in my city. (we don't have "smart parking meters" either. In fact, we have no parking meters at all....)


Cities are already working on building street charging infrastructure. But also those people will very likely be late adopters, or just switch to other kinds of transport. Currently the prime target for EV adoption are better off households who live further out of the city, since they can already afford the switch and sinve they have the larger carbon footprint, anyway.


Some people would charge at home, some would charge at work, some would charge while shopping. People that can't do it will be a minority. By the time majority is electric, 350kw+ charging stations will become a norm, so it will be pretty much the same as gas station.


At the moment they don't, but as fast chargers become more common and range increases, it will become feasible. In my country (post-Soviet country; rather poor by Western standards) a lot of supermarkets and shopping malls already have EV chargers. Imagine going once or twice a week, and plugging in to charge while you do the weekly shop.

The limiting factors on EVs at the moment is the cost of the battery. Taking the Nissan LEAF for example, the difference between the 40kWh and 62kWh version is 34kg. If cost wasn't an issue, you could easily double the battery size without any problem.


Charging stations are already far more ubiquitous than gas stations. Every garage with an outlet is a charging station.

A solution is still needed for people who park on the street. Chargers on the street is the obvious way to handle that.


It take roughly 100 times longer to charge a car than to refill from a fuel pump so chargers need to be WAY more popular than gas stations.

The “obvious way to handle this” is to build cities without cars at all, where people walk and bike and take the buses and trains.


> It take roughly 100 times longer to charge a car than to refill from a fuel pump so chargers need to be WAY more popular than gas stations.

This is very misleading. It takes several minutes to fill a gas tank (depending on tank size, pump speed, and how many times the damn thing gets gaslocked). Charging a modern BEV does not take several hundred minutes. Fast charging exists and functions similarly for BEVs as it does for cell phones - fast charge for the middle bulk of the cycle, charge rate slows to a trickle above 80%.

Chargers generally cost per minute, so you're incentivised to stay plugged in for the bulk fast-charge portion of your charge, not the trickle at the end.


There are 2 DC fast chargers in the city of Berkeley, California. That's at best a total of about 400 miles per hour of charging, for a city of 120k people. EV boosters radically overestimate the widespread-ness of charging infrastructure.

At a much more common 6.6kW charge station you're getting 25 miles per hour of charge. I can put about 350 miles of gas in my car in one minute.


If the lack of chargers was causing issues, it becomes a business opportunity. Electricity is everywhere already. It's really not an issue.


Ok, so your own numbers (350 vs. 25) come out as 14x slower, not 100x slower.


No, that's 25 per HOUR vs 350 per MINUTE.


>Chargers generally cost per minute, so you're incentivised to stay plugged in for the bulk fast-charge portion of your charge, not the trickle at the end.

It's a bit unrealistic to expect people to park again after the charging is done.


Not really unrealistic? I have lived in an apartment. On weekdays off, I've had dealt with moving my car every few hours due to street parking time limitations. Having to move my car 30 minutes after plugging in to charge doesnt seem like a big ask.


It chains you to your home and in case the charger is not in front of your home you have to walk too. If you have a tight schedule you often don't have that 30 min.


They already are way more popular. There are 168,000 gas stations in the US. How many electrical outlets are there?


Someone has to make a business case to get the chargers on the street. There are questions like who owns the sidewalk, how to route sufficient power there, capital outlay for digging up the street and getting the charger there. All those costs and up and the revenue for a given charger is capped. People might pay a premium over the the cost of electricity, but how much? And they have to compete with free charging in many cases.


All that matters is the economics.

We're at about the point of parity; BEVs cost more initially, but over the life of the vehicle, cost about the same as a comparable ICE. Whether you spend more or less comes down to how you use it.

Petro and ICE has been getting more expensive. Batteries and renewables have been getting less expensive, with a clear path for continued progress. It doesn't take a genius to figure out what's going to happen.

The infrastructure will come. Vehicle ownership costs, on average, 9 grand a year for Americans. So a BEV that can save even a modest fraction - say 20% - of that cost has a fairly large budget to work with for installing NEMA-50s where they're needed. On-street solutions are being developed, including some being deployed in the UK.

I don't think there will ever be a significant number of people doing fast-charge only.


I've seen people near me add an outdoor outlet to their house, costs a few hundred dollars. I don't know about appartments though. In another few years maybe EV's will be ubiquitous enough for apartment complexes to devote, say, 20% if their spaces to overnight EV charging.


It's not just apartments either:

Many inner-city (where electric cars make the most sense) houses do not have a dedicated garage (I am talking outside the US here). You would need to have plugs on all residential on-street parking.


So powered parking meters? Seems viable at least for cities. You'd also have a substantial amount of parking without those because most drivers wouldn't need to charge daily.


I rarely charge in my garage because my power outlet is technically commons. It would be nice to have a fully charged car every day, but it is hardly a hinderance. Superchargers are fast, and shopping malls have them.


Some cities, like Montreal, have curb side parking and charging spots, reserved for EVs. There’s enough coverage in central areas that I wouldn’t worry about being left without a charge.


In my building people are discussing installing a few charging spots until maybe everything has a charging port.

It's also discussed to be in the next building requirement code IIRC


The wealthier locations will have tax payers put them in. The money will be diverted from other places to subsidize the urban property barons.

Eventually, they'll probably charge a $20k special assessment, just like they do when they hook you up to municipal water or sewage.




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