Are Electric Cars the Future?

CommUnity of Minds— Donald B. Halcom writes: The automobile industry is undergoing a revolution. This is about the new Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf all electric automobiles. I thought it would be interesting to estimate some of their impacts upon the future. These calculations are exaggerated but make some strong points.

Current registered automobiles in California = 22,083,049 (I picked this state as the example.)

Current Total Electric Power production capacity in California = 69,709 megawatts

Tesla Model S Super Charger = 120 kilowatts (fully charge a Tesla Model S in about two hours). The current lithium-ion batteries overheat if charged too fast.  Longer charging times mean that fewer Tesla’s can be serviced per day.

A back calculation is as follows:

California Total Electric Power = 69.7 gigawatts = 69.7 E 9 watts

Tesla Super Charger 120 kilowatts = 12 E 4 watts

Maximum Total Charging Units Equivalent = 69.7 E9 / 12 E 4 = 5.808 E 5 Tesla Super Chargers

This equals 5.808 E 4 Charging Stations with ten super chargers per station or 58,000 charging stations in the state of California. How many Tesla Model S electric cars can the state’s electric system support? Assume that 8.33 % (2 hours out of 24 hours per day) of all of the Tesla’s are being fully charged every day. What is the absolute maximum number of Tesla’s that California could support? This number is:

5.808 E 5 / 0.0833 = 6,972,389 Tesla’s or 32% of the total registered automobiles currently in California.

This is the equivalent of one full charge per day for 6,972,389 Tesla’s. These Tesla’s could only travel about 250 miles per day. The power rating for the Tesla is about 350 hp.  There would be no electricity to power the rest of California. (06/24/2013)

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