Monday, January 04, 2010

EV Charging Structure: The New VHS vs. Betamax

The Triple Pundit has a good run down of the race to figure out the best way for people to recharge our electric vehicles.

There are currently two approaches:
  1. Charging stations: where you plug your car in at home, at the office, in a town's shopping district or the parking lot of a big box store (I've read that big box stores and towns are likely to offer free charging stations as an incentive that attracts shoppers) 
  2. Interchangeable battery packs: where like you pull into a gas station, you pull into a station to exchange your battery pack for a fresh one -- or perhaps pick up a few for a long trip.
Which approach will win?

I've always thought option 2 (above) makes more sense overall, since we have gas stations located all over the place already.  Storing and changing batteries, of course, has different space requirements than storing liquid fuels, but perhaps the space used to store gasoline underground can be converted to battery storage facilities.

However, I can also see the merits of option 1 (above) -- especially given the benefits of charging at night (when power is cheapest), and the storage potential and grid-ready usefulness of the batteries when plugged in.

Could the answer be both -- batteries that can be both switched out and plugged in to recharge?

Regardless, I can't wait to own my first plug-in vehicle, and to start reaping both the cash savings on fuel costs and environmental benefits.  Our goal is to charge our plug-ins and EV's off of a home solar system one day...

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