Nicolas Loris’ commentary in the June 21 News-Press described how taxpayers in 49 states are footing a large part of the cost of California’s electric cars. He also touched on charging stations.
Public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations will be the main obstacle blocking California’s goal of eliminating gas fueled cars. The main reasons are: 1. EV drivers will be unwilling to spend several hours watching TV, playing cards, etc. while their batteries are being charged; and 2. More importantly, the number of chargers at a charge station must be vastly greater than the number of pumps at a gas station because charges are more frequent, driving range is short and charging time is much longer than the time to fill a gas tank.
We can quantify the difference in land area required for charge stations compared to gas stations by defining a figure-of-merit K as the miles a vehicle can travel on a battery charge or a tank fill divided by the time required for the charge or fill. For example, a gas vehicle (GV) can travel about 400 miles per fill and the time for a fill is about 1/10 hour. Thus Kgv = 400 miles/0.1 hour = 4000 miles per hour (mph). A typical EV can travel about 100 miles on a charge that takes about 4.0 hours, resulting in Kev = 100 miles/4 hours = 25mph. This means that the land area required for a charge station that is capable of producing the same vehicle range as a gas station must be Kgv/Kev = 4000 mph/25 mph = 160 times larger. Stated another way, a 1.0 acre GV fueling station can provide 160 times more travel miles than a 1.0 acre EV charging station.
The above shows that the highway sited public charging stations that would be required to accomplish the environmentalist’s goal of eliminating California’s fossil fueled vehicles will occupy vastly more acreage than is available or affordable. Furthermore, business managers will not be willing to spend money on charge stations for employee cars after they eventually realize that about 70% of the EV charging power is produced by burning fossil fuel. Considering that EV charging will mainly be done at night when solar power is zero, the fossil fuel content for an EV charge could approach 90%.