#1 May 7, 2014 16:54:00

lhall
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Electric vehicles, storage and PV


Hi,


I recently wrote an opinion piece for a, EU project's newsletter.  I'd love your comments!


Lisa


—-


With renewable energy so widespread across Europe, the biggest worry of the industry is now energy storage.  Scientists understand how to generate electricity efficiently from sun and wind, but these resources are not necessarily available exactly at the times humans need them.  If an office runs air-conditioning during summer, daylight hours, then it is likely that electricity generated from solar PV panels will match well.  But what happens when we need to boil a kettle on a night with no wind?  

Another dilemma that needs serious thought is how to charge electric vehicles.  Long journey are definitely an issue.  So is the reality that homeowners might like to charge their car battery from their own solar PV panels at home, but will need their car to travel to work in the day when the sun is shining.  A recent ZSW analysis showed that the global number of electrically powered vehicles on the road rose to around 400,000 by the start of 2014 (see reference 1), showing that this market is growing rapidly.

One novel way of circumventing the generation/usage time dilemma in electric vehicles is to encourage removable batteries.  Several manufacturers are already going down this route, for example consider the Renault Fluence ZE and the Estrima Birò.  It is then trivial to leave one battery to charge, whilst using the other in your vehicle.  But this does not necessarily overcome the issue of long journeys.  So then, imagine a model where every electric vehicle has interchangeable batteries.  It could be possible for companies to set up service stations across the country (or continent) in which you could drive in, swap your battery for a charged one and be back on the road within minutes.  The old battery is left charging for another customer.  

This all sounds simple, but natural issues arise, such as: should the wear of the battery be considered? would all manufacturers have to agree on a single standard battery? who owns the battery?  I personally favour a model close to that of a mobile/cell phone provider: a user would take out a contract for some usage level (perhaps one battery charge a week, or even unlimited) and some geographic level (within a radius of a given location), which would result in a monthly charge.  A user could then turn up at a service station, swap their battery and travel onwards.  Additional battery changes could be charged separately (say for a one-off long distance journey).  In this model, the battery would be owned by the service provider, which eliminates the issues of excessive usage; the provider could keep a check on each battery and maintain stock levels.

With the increase in uptake of renewable energies, such issues are being highlighted and novel solutions will have to be found.  The winners, in my eyes, will be everywhere: the astute service companies, people on the street and the environment!

1) http://www.zsw-bw.de/en/support/press-releases/press-detail/weltweit-ueber-400000-elektroautos-unterwegs.html








====


Dr Lisa Clark Sheffield Solar Farm





Edited lhall (May 7, 2014 16:54:00)

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#2 May 7, 2014 21:51:00

montyjon
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Electric vehicles, storage and PV


Lisa,


 


I am gutted, I was only talking to a work colleague a few months ago about such a scheme, you pinched my idea :-). It strikes me to be such a simple and effective way of overcoming distance issues. If you knew that all the petrol stations across the land had this kind of battery “swap and charge” facility it would really open up this particular car market sector in such a big way. Of course one of the main questions you pose is would car manufacturers come up with a common battery format that would enable this to happen. I would suggest that such collaboration needs to come quickly if we haven’t already lost that opportunity. Legislation or directives may force the issue going forward but for now the batteries and cars seem to be designed around the need to increase range as it is this factor which perhaps put most people off buying an electric car. Forgive me as I don’t fully understand the battery technology and how the batteries are rated in terms of power but I don’t see any difference in paying for it than as you do fuel. If the batteries are rated like the normal rechargeable batteries I am familiar with, say with 800mAh or 2500mAh then would the 2500mAh battery give you a greater range, akin to filling up the car to the top? You then need a pricing structure that emulates the current fuel pricing. For example my car takes £80 to fill up and I can do circa 650 miles. If the 2500mAh battery could get me around 160 miles then I would be happy to pay £20 to pick my battery off the shelf at the garage. Does this seem fair? Does it cost less than £20 to charge the battery? Does it cost more. If the batteries are charged by solar PV then should it be £5?


The ownership of the battery could lie squarely with the petrol companies. Think of it, as the level of petrol/diesel consumption goes down (eventually to nothing) their business model needs to change as there will be no one pulling up to their forecourt’s, unless they just lease out the facility to one of your battery contract service providers. So would the petrol companies miss a trick by not investing in the infrastructure to charge the batteries from solar PV and provide this service. Their costing’s would incorporate the maintenance and wear of the batteries anyway, with the economies of scale keeping the costs down to a minimum, hopefully. Anyway, very exciting times. Just so you know I do 650 miles per week so there is no option of me using an “all electric” car just yet.


Jon


URN2095








Edited montyjon (May 7, 2014 21:51:00)

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#3 May 8, 2014 10:54:00

rogerhoward
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Electric vehicles, storage and PV


Nice one, Jon. Does your company already have a recharging point then?


http://zap-map.com shows no shortage of recharging points all over the place, but I don't know how many employers have one for their staff (mine certainly doesn't), and I have the impression it's rather a ‘missing piece’ of the jizsaw.










Economy 10 tariff provides 6.9p/kWh off-peak import between 12am-5am, 1pm-4pm and 8pm-10pm; http://www.pvoutput.org/aggregate.jsp?id=21047&sid=18934&v=2&t=m on approx. 63% off-peak usage, 22% solar usage, and 15% peak-rate usage.
1,900kWh annually is exported, mostly in summer, on approx. 3,200kWh generation. Approx. 4,500kWh/year is imported, mostly for (a) winter and springtime off-peak Storage Heaters, and (b) off-peak hot water Immersion heating (which is “dumb”, i.e. not linked to the solar PV).
PV array is split East-West. Income is from Phase II 21p/kWh Feed-in-Tariff plus smart metered 3.2p/kWh Export Tariff.

Edited rogerhoward (May 8, 2014 10:54:00)

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#4 May 8, 2014 13:16:00

rogerhoward
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Electric vehicles, storage and PV


Lisa. Does Sheffield University have any recharging points for its staff? If not, isn't that more of an obstacle to driving an EV for yourselves?







Economy 10 tariff provides 6.9p/kWh off-peak import between 12am-5am, 1pm-4pm and 8pm-10pm; http://www.pvoutput.org/aggregate.jsp?id=21047&sid=18934&v=2&t=m on approx. 63% off-peak usage, 22% solar usage, and 15% peak-rate usage.
1,900kWh annually is exported, mostly in summer, on approx. 3,200kWh generation. Approx. 4,500kWh/year is imported, mostly for (a) winter and springtime off-peak Storage Heaters, and (b) off-peak hot water Immersion heating (which is “dumb”, i.e. not linked to the solar PV).
PV array is split East-West. Income is from Phase II 21p/kWh Feed-in-Tariff plus smart metered 3.2p/kWh Export Tariff.

Edited rogerhoward (May 8, 2014 13:16:00)

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#5 May 18, 2014 07:58:00

rogerhoward
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Strange idea. Are you proposing that the battery picked-up at a recharging point be a new one, or pre-used with or without a predictable specific range? More fundamentally, why the assumption that the responsibility for the battery best lie with the supplier (wouldn't the cost of that responsibility be simply passed back to the customer) ??







Economy 10 tariff provides 6.9p/kWh off-peak import between 12am-5am, 1pm-4pm and 8pm-10pm; http://www.pvoutput.org/aggregate.jsp?id=21047&sid=18934&v=2&t=m on approx. 63% off-peak usage, 22% solar usage, and 15% peak-rate usage.
1,900kWh annually is exported, mostly in summer, on approx. 3,200kWh generation. Approx. 4,500kWh/year is imported, mostly for (a) winter and springtime off-peak Storage Heaters, and (b) off-peak hot water Immersion heating (which is “dumb”, i.e. not linked to the solar PV).
PV array is split East-West. Income is from Phase II 21p/kWh Feed-in-Tariff plus smart metered 3.2p/kWh Export Tariff.

Edited rogerhoward (May 18, 2014 07:58:00)

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#6 May 19, 2014 13:15:00

FabiaVRS635
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Electric vehicles, storage and PV


Lisa,


If you google ‘Better Place’ you will find a system similar to what you suggest was trialled in Israel and failed.  I am not sure why but would be interested to know.





Edited FabiaVRS635 (May 19, 2014 13:15:00)

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#7 July 5, 2014 11:02:00

TerFar
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The idea of swappable batteries has been looked at thoroughly. The main problem is the state of the battery. You drive into a battery swap station in your new car with a new set of batteries having driven say 160 miles, swap them for a fully charged set, get back onto the motorway and then find to your horror that the replacement batteries run out at 100 miles because they are knackered, who is going to take responsibility?


The other problem is who is going to invest in loads of very expensive batteries and not charge astronomically for a swap out? And who is going to offer a warranty? And whereas one style of pump works with all vehicles, battery packs are different in every car.


For the moment, battery only electric cars are good for local motoring, not for long distances. I'm not suggesting that this won't change in the future - I hope it does - but not yet.


Solar PV certainly makes sense if you have an electric car that you can nearly always charge at home!





Edited TerFar (July 5, 2014 11:02:00)

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#8 July 22, 2014 15:38:00

Lyreslider
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Electric vehicles, storage and PV


This is all reminiscent of travel a century and a half and more ago. Didn't the old coaching system work something like this, with a change of knackered horses every so many miles? There must be something to learn from history. Anyone clued up on who owned the horses and how they were paid for?





Edited Lyreslider (July 22, 2014 15:38:00)

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