Saying “but we already have a system for distributing gasoline” is just like saying, “but the theives have already gone to the trouble of backing the truck up to my door to take all my stuff”. Seriously. If your choice was to spend $10 a day to a foreign country for your food, or you could invest $50 now so that your food would cost you $2 a day to get from your neighbors, you wouldn’t do that? Guess what, after 6 days, you are paying less for your food. But wait – there’s more. The $50 plus $2 a day that you spend isn’t leaving the country, its driving your local economy. Those neighbors are going to turn around and buy goods and services from you.
Building a new energy infrastructure isn’t a burden, it’s an opportunity.
We spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on energy, and most of that money leaves the country. The only reason we haven’t done anything about it so far, is the few that line their pockets skimming off the top like the system as it is.
Here are some numbers.
We spend 300 billion dollars on 100 billion gallons of gasoline a year ( for residential passenger vehicles ). Those gallons propel us about 2500 billion miles. The 2500 comes from extrapolating data from here and here. It would take about 600 billion kWhrs to propel us those miles in electric cars ( including charging losses ). At 12 cents per kWhr ( the average price in the U.S. to residential customers ) thats 72 billion dollars.
Most electric vehicles will charge at night, when we have surplus electricity.
All utilities have surplus power at night, if your supplier offers time of use billing you can save a lot by moving as many heavy loads to night as possible.
It should be possible for around 80% of the charging to happen at night and rates of about 6 cents per kWhr at night should be made available to everyone. That lowers the aggregate cost to significantly less than 50 billion.
But if most people did not charge at night and we had to build new generation for all of that energy what would that cost?
According to this article we can build new wind generation to produce electricity at a cost of 7.5cents/kWhr while coal runs 4.5 cents/kWhr.
Large scale solar can probably be built for about 12cents/kWhr. Solar One in Nevada was built for $266million and produces 134 million kWhr per year. Financed at 4.5% for 30 years that would require 12 cents per kWhr to pay off. At 3% for 30 years would require 10 cents per kWhr to pay off.
The current rate I pay is about 9cents/kWhr, and almost all of my power comes from 60 year old hydro plants. The average transmission loss in the U.S. from power plant to home is 6% so that doesnt contribute significantly to cost. There must be some cost in maintaining power lines, but the biggest problem with the wind is the variability of when the wind blows. We will need to overbuild it until we have a smart grid and smart chargers that can pull energy from the grid when the wind supply is up and slow down when it is low.
Because of that, the new clean wind generation isn’t likely to get to consumers at less than 12 cents per kWhr.
Lets go back to a cost of 50 billion ( assuming ~80% night charging at 6 cents / kWhr and daytime charging at 12cents/ KWhr using all new clean generation. )
50 billion is a lot less than 300 billion. What to do with the rest of that money?
Lets take 20 billion of it and use that to put in charging outlets at restaurants, hotels, parks, shopping centers, workplaces – anywhere you would want to stop when you are on a long drive away from your house ( remember this isnt for daily driving – this is for the occasional greater than a 100 mile round trip ). If there is already electrical service there, it would cost about $300 per plug to add fancy charging stations. If there isnt, it might be more like $1000. Thus that 20 billion dollars could add 20 million plugs all around the country ( 10 plugs per install at 2 million locations ). This is probably as many as we could possibly need. And thats just in the first year, after that we’d be done with plugs, but we could keep doing it for 5 years until we had 100 million plugs.
Ok what about the other $230 billion dollars per year we dont have to spend on gas?
Thats the money you save that you could use to buy the more expensive electric car – $2300 per household – per year!
With current technology the 35 kWhr battery in an average performing electric car with 150 mile range will cost about $10000 from EVComponents.com. So you would pay for that extra cost in about 5 years. Electric cars have far fewer components that wear out than gas cars do, so the car will last a very long time. After those 5 years, its all money in your pocket. Battery technology is improving rapidly in capacity/weight, capacity/price and performance/price now that there are major car manufacturers investing billions into research. In 5 years they will be a lot better for a lot less money.
And remember that all this money is spent is creating jobs all across the country. The $50 billion dollars building wind and solar plants. The $20 billion is spent manufacturing and installing charge points. And the $230 billion is manufacturing electric car systems.
Then remember that gas prices are going to go back up when the economy recovers, at $4 a gallon, the 300 billion balloons to 400 billion! Gas prices are going to continue to rise and a lot of estimates have it over $5.50 a gallon by 2016.
How could you possibly be against this?