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Old 12-26-2019, 01:22 PM   #1
clyde
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Solving the charging problem

https://www.autoblog.com/2019/12/26/vw-charging-robots/


This is something that could solve the "not everyone has easy access to a charger" problem I've harped on.

After hearing the idea, I can picture parking in a garage, lot, or on the street for the night and hailing a charging robot like an Uber to give a charge. Imagine this would be ridiculously expensive and inefficient as described and totally impractical (and reliant on self-guided robots actually learning how to use sidewalks properly (something they're not very good at yet)), but it's an entirely different approach to solving the problem that's not tied to "this is how we've always done it" model.
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Old 12-26-2019, 03:38 PM   #2
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Old 12-30-2019, 03:45 PM   #3
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Personally speaking, I can easily solve the charging problem:

I won’t buy a Tesla.

IMO, the inconvenience of finding a charging station (especially in rural NV) outweighs the benefits of owning one.

But that may change, so who knows ??
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Old 12-30-2019, 04:20 PM   #4
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I'm struggling to understand what problem this helps solve. VW charging robots seem overly complicated -- I give it very limited odds of rolling out beyond a demonstration site or two.

Having driven an EV for over 6.5 years and over 100k miles, charging is not a problem. Most charging is done at home -- in my case over 80% of my charging has been at home (which is on the low side -- but only since we've taken so many road trips). Tesla's Supercharger model works very well for road trips -- and most gaps have been closed. Many hotels have added charging which lets you top up overnight -- and they are becoming easier to find (PlugShare has a good search filter). For rural charging, RV parks help fill gaps (and any equipped with a 50A outlet can be used to charge a Tesla at over 30 miles of charge per hour). Even plugging in at a regular 120V outlet can add range in an emergency (albeit slowly -- but overnight can add ~30ish miles, which should be enough to get to a faster charger)...

The only charging problem is in larger cities where people park on the street and don't have access to an outlet. I don't see how VW's robot charging battery delivery really helps in this situation. Better solutions are to make chargers avail on street parking. I've seen that in multiple cities in Europe, and LA has started adding chargers to street lamps -- https://bsl.lacity.org/smartcity-ev-charging.html

Another potential solution is workplace charging -- my employer has it at some sites (although not at my office due to a weird thing with our county-owned garage that used federal funds to put in dedicated spots for carpoolers, but no dedicated EV spots...).
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Old 12-30-2019, 04:26 PM   #5
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Yes, the real, practical solution is the one that zbb identifies--adding charging infrastructure to street lamps and other existing parking. That isn't perfect, and charging for people who don't have single family homes is always going to be less convenient, but it makes a lot more sense to me than charging robots.

The key point here is that if these Level 2 charging outlets are ubiquitous, you don't need to make them fancy and expensive Level 3 fast chargers--though you will have to have those, as well.
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Old 12-30-2019, 05:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZBB View Post
I'm struggling to understand what problem this helps solve.
You identify the problem later in your post.

Quote:
VW charging robots seem overly complicated -- I give it very limited odds of rolling out beyond a demonstration site or two.
I agree and it's why I said I didn't think it would work, but the good part about it was demonstrating thinking of new models.

Quote:
charging is not a problem. Most charging is done at home
I don't understand why this is brought up. As you point out in the next paragraph, finding ways for people to conveniently charge that cannot charge at home is the nut to crack. Charging at home for those that can is a solved problem, so why mention it?

Quote:
The only charging problem is in larger cities where people park on the street and don't have access to an outlet. I don't see how VW's robot charging battery delivery really helps in this situation. Better solutions are to make chargers avail on street parking. I've seen that in multiple cities in Europe, and LA has started adding chargers to street lamps -- https://bsl.lacity.org/smartcity-ev-charging.html

Another potential solution is workplace charging -- my employer has it at some sites (although not at my office due to a weird thing with our county-owned garage that used federal funds to put in dedicated spots for carpoolers, but no dedicated EV spots...).
Quote:
Originally Posted by JST View Post
Yes, the real, practical solution is the one that zbb identifies--adding charging infrastructure to street lamps and other existing parking. That isn't perfect, and charging for people who don't have single family homes is always going to be less convenient, but it makes a lot more sense to me than charging robots.

The key point here is that if these Level 2 charging outlets are ubiquitous, you don't need to make them fancy and expensive Level 3 fast chargers--though you will have to have those, as well.
I may be really wrong, but chargers at nearly every parking spot seems at least as inefficient and impractical as charging robots, but practicality aside, would work just as well.
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Old 12-30-2019, 05:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3LOU5 View Post
Personally speaking, I can easily solve the charging problem:

I won’t buy a Tesla.

IMO, the inconvenience of finding a charging station (especially in rural NV) outweighs the benefits of owning one.

But that may change, so who knows ??
I don't want to buy a Tesla, either, but I'm beginning to believe there is a strong possibility the next ICE car I buy to be my daily driver will be the last I buy for my wife or me to fill that role.
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Old 12-30-2019, 06:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clyde View Post
You identify the problem later in your post.



I agree and it's why I said I didn't think it would work, but the good part about it was demonstrating thinking of new models.



I don't understand why this is brought up. As you point out in the next paragraph, finding ways for people to conveniently charge that cannot charge at home is the nut to crack. Charging at home for those that can is a solved problem, so why mention it?





I may be really wrong, but chargers at nearly every parking spot seems at least as inefficient and impractical as charging robots, but practicality aside, would work just as well.
I mean, back in the day people designed houses with only one or two outlets per room. Nowadays there are many, many more.

The tricky part is making sure the house wiring is designed to support the load, but in new construction/rehabilitation that's easy enough to do. Same principle applies to parking, especially where you've already got electrical infrastructure.

Is it an easy problem? Yes. Is it cheap? Not especially, but then again, burning fossil fuels ain't free, either.
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Old 12-30-2019, 07:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JST View Post
I mean, back in the day people designed houses with only one or two outlets per room. Nowadays there are many, many more.

The tricky part is making sure the house wiring is designed to support the load, but in new construction/rehabilitation that's easy enough to do. Same principle applies to parking, especially where you've already got electrical infrastructure.

Is it an easy problem? Yes. Is it cheap? Not especially, but then again, burning fossil fuels ain't free, either.
Our first house in the DC area only had two prong outlets on the upper level. Was never sure the third prongs were actually connected to ground, though. So, yeah, I get that.

Can existing streetlight infrastructure handle the load of charging cars, too? Or would it be cheap and easy to upgrade? And even though you're tapping into the streetlight infrastructure, it's not like there's a streetlight for every spot on the street or in a parking lot (many garages are a different story), so you still need to add a lot of stuff to have places to put the chargers when they're not in use, etc.

Installing and maintaining millions of chargers (and method for attributing billing) that will sit idle almost all of the time seems like it would be wastefully expensive and inefficient to build out. That doesn't mean it won't turn out of the be the least expensive and most efficient way to solve the problem. Robots aren't cheap either.

I'm sure there's something. I'm not sure anyone's thought of what it is yet.
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