Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/11/20 8:48 a.m.

This is a bit nuts. A random Chinese guy drove a Tesla to the base camp of Mount Everest. I don't think it was a sponsored, supported trip. I think it was a guy with a car going "hey, this would be cool". Apologies for the fanboy nature of the article, let's just pay attention to the accomplishment.

This is a significant trek. The story says he drove Shenzhen-Chengdu-Lhasa-Mount Everest. I can't get Google Maps to lay out the last leg for me, but the first three points are a serious trip. It was done using overnight destination chargers for at least some of the trip, not Superchargers for obvious reasons. But if you've got time, the electrons are just as good. And apparently ICE vehicles are not allowed on the last 30 km leg, but EVs are.

Which brings up an interesting idea. Cellphones allowed a lot of underdeveloped countries to skip a major infrastructure rollout for landlines. It's a lot easier to put up a series of antennas than it is to deal with last mile copper. And while it's possible to provide a gasoline fuel depot by dragging in a bunch of drums and some hand pumps, if you already have electricity then you already have a charging stop. Sure, it might not be fast but it's still there. And you don't have to worry about the 55 gallon drums having water in them or having been emptied by the last vehicle. Could battery-powered cars actually make it easier to do something like this?

I know that Tom has reported that it's more convenient to keep his Leaf charged after a hurricane than it is to go hunting fuel. This isn't always going to be true, of course - if there's something like the 1998 ice storm that took out power in Ontario and Quebec for weeks, you have a problem. That was literally a once-in-a-lifetime storm though.

 

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/11/20 9:10 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I think for isolated areas, electrirical generation and/or transmissions is going to be the key part.  The more tiny, modular generation systems are developed, the easier it will be for EVs over ICEs in remote areas.  if you have to have massive centralized power, though- it's going to be roughly the same difficulty to reach remote areas.

I do see more micro grid developments, though.  From tiny modular nuclear power to sun and wind power with storage- there are a lot of options over massive generation locations (dams, turbines, huge nuclear, etc).   And here's where developing areas have a massive advantage- they don't have huge utilities fighting the micro grid systems.  Like I've been a huge proponent of solar micro grids using the super strong roof structures in Puerto Rico for many years now- but the state owned power company does not want to do that for some reason.  Even if it's pretty obvious that decentralizing the power system is a far more robust solution for hurricane prone areas.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/11/20 9:38 a.m.

It would seem to be very location-dependent. I've often wondered why smaller, less ecologically invasive hydro-electric systems haven't been tried.  You wouldn't need a large damn in a mountain area to generate a decent amount of power for a regional location.  I agree with the idea of decentralizing the power grid, but I can also understand why it hasn't happened very much.  Oddly enough, that has been something power companies in the US have been working on - adding redundancy and reducing the "single points of failure".  This was brought to light (so to speak) during the Blackout of 2003.  My own company was involved with a couple of utility companies as they upgraded their infrastructure.  Some of it is still going on today as these types of projects take a lot of time and no small amount of money. 

I can understand why the PR power company would be hesitant to decentralize their grid.  While it would definitely help with keeping more areas from losing power, it would add cost in construction and maintenance.  Money the company likely doesn't have and would be hard-pressed to pass on to users. 

I know that when I renovate my house, I'll convert the oil heat to natural gas and I also plan to add capacity for a NG generator.  One of the devices that generator would be connected to would be an EV charging station.  While power outages in my area are somewhat rare, they do happen every few years. While I would do most/all of the installation myself, it would still not be a cheap project and in many ways would be difficult to justify for the few times it would be nice to have. 

My own cost-benefit debate is a microcosm of what utilities have to go through every time there is a major outage due to various reasons.  Yes, there are many ways to improve reliability and reduce outages. But at what cost?  And are customers willing to bear that cost?

frenchyd
frenchyd PowerDork
9/11/20 9:59 a.m.

Rural areas have many medium sized wind generators because unlike solar the wind blows at night.  Back that wind generation up with solar for when the wind isn't blowing and you're 95% of the way to energy independence.  Standby  steam ( modern tech steam ) and you're  there.  No elaborate battery systems required with their high costs and technology  demands. 
  Fuel for the standby generator can be any combustible source such as used cooking oils, kerosene, gasoline, parts washer fluid, waste motor oil, vegetative  oils,  etc. because of its standby nature there is plenty of time to  super filter the oils   
Many states require public utilities to buy surplus energy at fair market value. Here in Minnesota for example you get paid  last years rate.  The power lines that transmit the power around  were paid for by the public. Plus minimal transmission losses to factor in.  So it's a win for the power company. The generator helps recoup his investment  and the grid becomes more robust. 
The bigger the wind generator the faster the payoff ( area dependent). But one thing, is there is plenty of public data regarding wind. More than a century's worth in most places. 
Finally to the bird lovers. If you look at the blade of a wind generator you won't see sharp edges any place  the blades are shaped like wings not cutting  blades.  Second most wind generators are slow moving  even in relatively high wind speeds. Wind speeds birds stay in their nests.  
Yes birds do fly into windgenerators  they also fly into windows, sides of barns, office buildings , tree branches.  Why?  Probably failure to watch where they are going? The threat of predatory birds? 
Finally they recently have found it is a mistake to paint them white or light Grey .  Painted black birds seem to avoid them. 
 

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE Dork
9/11/20 10:02 a.m.

I've always felt the same way Kieth; especially when it comes to what you're containing the electricity in. We always think of batteries in a simple Lead Acid/Lithium whatever/ect because it's what we're used to; but having an unlimited capacity for space and weight opens up some interesting and esoteric types like Vandium flow and molten salt.  Heck, EVGo has a charge station "kit" for about $5K that's enough panels, stands and parts to fast-charge one EV.

Ian F (Forum Supporter) said:

 Oddly enough, that has been something power companies in the US have been working on - adding redundancy and reducing the "single points of failure".  This was brought to light (so to speak) during the Blackout of 2003.  My own company was involved with a couple of utility companies as they upgraded their infrastructure.  Some of it is still going on today as these types of projects take a lot of time and no small amount of money. 

We used to be, but not nearly to the same scope anymore. But that discussion- and why Puerto Rico doesn't have the same- is flounder territory here.

 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
9/11/20 10:14 a.m.

In reply to GIRTHQUAKE :

I suppose... a common denominator regardless of politics will be money and where it comes from - not much different than any country or region.  But I will concede debating the PR "where" could unfortunately end up on the sea floor...

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/11/20 10:27 a.m.

In reply to Ian F (Forum Supporter) :

(man I hate typing on a laptop sometimes- a few odd hand movements, and all is lost)

I'll not re-type what I see going on in PR, but what I've wondered about- there are a lot of battery technologies and chemistries that use pretty common materials- just that they are super bulky.  So have neighborhood sized grids based on what simple battery chemistry can be fit in roughly a shipping container sized box.  Then have solar on every home- which provides a strong structure to build them on, as well as flat locations that typically have good sun coverage and not using any ground that could be used for other things.

That would work really well for very remote areas.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/11/20 12:29 p.m.

Going the other way, how many gas stations remain in Manhattan? Not many--not many at all. If this is still current, there's just a sole station left below 14th Street. The land has just gotten too valuable.

Will new gas stations ever open in the City? Likely never. However, every parking garage could easily host EV charging stations--and they're already doing that. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
9/11/20 12:46 p.m.

This is a really good point. Both ICE and EV are dependent on infrastructure, but only the latter can be scaled down to small, independent production.

This really impressed me. He runs all of his appliances with this system.

 

mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/11/20 12:55 p.m.

you can also do "organic batteries" in the form of water towers and resevours.  When there is surplus energy, the pumps run to fill the container with water.  When the wind dies and the sun goes down, the valves open and water generation starts

mad_machine (Forum Supporter) said:

you can also do "organic batteries" in the form of water towers and resevours.  When there is surplus energy, the pumps run to fill the container with water.  When the wind dies and the sun goes down, the valves open and water generation starts

PG&E does that on a huge scale in the Sierra Nevadas called the Helms Project. It's pretty neat.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helms_Pumped_Storage_Plant

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
9/11/20 2:58 p.m.

Very cool! And yeah, I totally agree. It's way easier to get electricity to a developing area than it is to get fuel there, so I definitely see a future where electrification speeds mobility. Nobody would have guessed 50 years ago that digital banking would be the go-to method for building financial systems in developing countries, but here we are thanks to smart phones and 3G networks.

Here's the question: What will the electric vehicles for the developing world look like? I'd guess they start as E-bikes and quickly turn into E-motorcycles, but before too long somebody will make a little electric 4x4 that's cheap and easy to assemble. Exciting times!

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/11/20 4:14 p.m.

Gordon Murray thinks it looks like an OX. 
 

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE Dork
9/11/20 5:22 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

Here's the question: What will the electric vehicles for the developing world look like? I'd guess they start as E-bikes and quickly turn into E-motorcycles, but before too long somebody will make a little electric 4x4 that's cheap and easy to assemble. Exciting times!

Ebike then 4x4 before E Motorcycle; right now the Toyota Highlander and RAV4s both have motors integrated into the rear pumpkins; being AC they're harder to control, but stock they're good for quite a bit of power to move the SUV. Here's a good picture of one. I only say motorcycle last because to compete with gas you have to go lithium, while you can still have a perfectly usable and viable eBike or 4x4 using heavy lead-acids and basic brushed DC motors.

 

californiamilleghia
californiamilleghia SuperDork
9/11/20 6:40 p.m.

It would be great to have container size batteries  that could be charged in the night when there is excess power generated  and used during the day.

But would your city allow it ?     Would you want one down the street from you , 

and does the cost pencil out  if its only used in black out periods ?

and since the ocean is 2 miles from here , how about a  hi-low tide generator ?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/11/20 6:47 p.m.

One of my friends from high school married a well-off girl who has nothing to do but champion causes. She's eco-friendly and has a web zine devoted to saving the environment as she flies back and forth from Australia to the UK to visit her parents. But she refused to buy a house that was beside a large solar panel installation because of the electromagnetic radiation. Sigh. I would have no problem with batteries down the street.

And it's being done - there's a utility in South Australia that uses a battery bank to even out their solar and wind power. 100MW of storage and it was built in 60 days. It looks exactly like a field full of shipping containers. It's hard to tell exactly what the ROI is as there are different numbers coming from different sources, but everything I've seen seems to indicate it paid for itself in less than a year in savings in electrical generation cost.

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
9/12/20 11:21 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

You have no idea what a pain in the ass that has become. I spend too much time sitting behind half the taxis in NY waiting for gas. We can't get more electric cars soon enough. 

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