alexb_ 9 days ago

>We're doing it wrong, according to a new Stanford study

Wrong according to what metric? Cost? Raw efficiency? A lot of people are more than willing to give up efficiency so that they don't have to actually worry about finding a station during the day. To say that something is just outright "wrong" based on their personal preference of priorities comes off as unhelpful to me.

The solution is simple. Make electricity cheaper when it's more available, and people will use it. You don't need any complex "AI" like people in this thread are saying, you just use natural market forces and the problem fixes itself. Too much energy being used at night - price increases. It's not complicated, and it's what we're doing already. People don't need a Stanford study to convince them to get their energy for cheaper.

  • saidajigumi 9 days ago

    This is precisely what the linked article says. From the section "Charging Incentives":

    “And it’s not just California and Western states. All states may need to rethink electricity pricing structures as their EV charging needs increase and their grid changes,” added Powell, who recently took a postdoctoral research position at ETH Zurich.

    The article also includes other interesting and more nuanced policy details than just "change pricing structure", such as:

    Another issue with electricity pricing design is charging commercial and industrial customers big fees based on their peak electricity use. This can disincentivize employers from installing chargers, especially once half or more of their employees have EVs. [...]

    So yes, there are weird red herrings in this thread from people who want a technology first and a solution second (or never) and/or who don't understand design of incentive structures. But this work doesn't appear suffer from those problems.

    • to11mtm 9 days ago

      > Another issue with electricity pricing design is charging commercial and industrial customers big fees based on their peak electricity use. This can disincentivize employers from installing chargers, especially once half or more of their employees have EVs. [...]

      Well, I don't know what to say aside from we would need a lot of work to have it 'both ways'.

      By that I mean, if we expect everyone to charge their cars during the day, especially 'peak hours' in a given industrial area, there's a chance that the line and/or station capacity would have to be increased. A large part of the allure of 'night charging' is that it avoids requiring major grid upgrades, and also possibly opens up better uses around certain energy sources quirks. Nuclear, water power, geothermal, all three to some extent have 'consistent load' properties where either it takes time to adjust power output, or power output can be consistent both day and night with minimal incremental cost, vs the need to install additional capacity for extra day load.

      • hakcermani 9 days ago

        It can incentivize rooftop solar which can supply the increased charging demand.

    • kodah 9 days ago

      > This can disincentivize employers from installing chargers, especially once half or more of their employees have EVs.

      > So yes, there are weird red herrings in this thread from people who want a technology first and a solution second (or never) and/or who don't understand design of incentive structures.

      Speaking of incentive structures, one of my former employers installed EV chargers in all of the bottom floors of our parking garage while explicitly not allowing non-EVs to park in those spaces. I was left parking my hybrid on the roof in a desert climate where my car would continually get covered with pollen.

      Naturally, I did what they were trying to incentivize: I looked at EVs. I quickly discovered that the cheaper models have limited usecases; for instance, the road trips I go on would now be out of the picture. The more expensive ones are much more functional but come at a high price that I've never personally spent on a car.

      There's also the fact that I didn't have anywhere to charge it except public spaces where I'd have to awkwardly wait for hours because I lived in an apartment. In order to get a 240v plug in my garage I would need to pay for it myself.

      These policies, as they invade the workforce, need to be looked at from a lens that doesn't end up doing harm in the end.

      • mook 9 days ago

        > Speaking of incentive structures, one of my former employers installed EV chargers in all of the bottom floors of our parking garage while explicitly not allowing non-EVs to park in those spaces.

        Sounds like it worked out great for them — people who could afford living in single detached houses (generally the richer ones, and therefore generally the management) now get reserved parking out of the pollen. The people who are inconvenienced (i.e. you) weren't the people involved in the decision anyway.

      • morsch 9 days ago

        Buy a small EV for everyday trips and rent another car for road trips. Nobody in our car culture, where people drive F150s just in case they need them; nobody is going to do that, but environmentally it'd be much preferable to everybody getting a big Tesla weighing several tons.

        Financially it works out for a couple of road trips a year, not so much if you're doing it a couple of times a month.

        • nikau 9 days ago

          Or get a plug in hybrid that results in the convenience of one car but most of the environmental/cost benefits.

      • bagels 9 days ago

        The harm is polen on your car? It's harm, sure, but seems pretty minor at this point.

        • kodah 7 days ago

          I have pretty bad allergies, the pollen messed with me quite a bit.

          The real harm I think is giving too many perceived privileges to something that is currently a luxury.

      • samizdette 9 days ago

        Did you look at plug-in hybrids? They can use the chargers.

    • themitigating 9 days ago

      Seems that commercial power costs less than residential. Sometimes the difference is negligible but other times it's significant. I know residential lines cost much more to maintain because of the distances but that doesn't apply to residential apartments buildings in cities and I believe there's a seperate charge for that.

      Why?

      https://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/epm_table_grapher.ph...

      • jjav 9 days ago

        I rent an office very near my house. The PG&E rate for peak time at the office is over 20c cheaper than at my house. Not very fair to residental usage.

  • dybber 9 days ago

    That’s how we do it in Denmark. We have hourly prices on electricity, so for me it’s cheaper to start the dishwasher outside peak hours. In some areas they are experimenting with car chargers hooked up to this electricity price info, so it charges when it’s cheap.

    • jjtheblunt 9 days ago

      my 2014 BMW i3 could be set to start charging when electricity was cheap (defined by me onscreen). it was a little buggy, as far as systems go, but it was the original model year (for north america, i think 2013 in europe).

      • parker_mountain 9 days ago

        A lot of newer charging stations in the US also have this built in, as well. You can hook them up to the internet, or do it manually. How mine works is pretty clever: you plug it in, and it asks you if you'd like to go to 100% now or wait until charging is cheaper. If you don't reply, it will fast charge your car to about 40%, and then wait.

        • jjtheblunt 9 days ago

          that's EXACTLY the oversight in the 2013-2014 onboard firmware :

          even though i didn't need a full charge at 8am, the car would realize it couldn't get to (the not important) full charge by 8am, which was the previous day time of departure, and would start charging while electricity was still expensive, because it decided maximal charge at previous day departure time was more important than cheap electricity.

          Just an oversight...

          • aksss 7 days ago

            Sounds like a software/firmware fix. Did they never adjust that logic? queue my hatred for automotive closed ecosystem abandonware

            • jjtheblunt 7 days ago

              Nope, but perhaps in later model year software builds.

    • nomel 8 days ago

      For me, it's $0.67/kWh in peak hours, and $0.12 during super off peak (12am to 4am). I will, obviously, continue to charge at night. All electric cars, that I'm aware of, and most charges, have scheduling built in.

    • Terretta 9 days ago

      Weirdly, the latest iPhone + iOS pops a dialog box saying it will do this.

      // Weird given tiny amount of energy for your iPhone. But perhaps reasonable in aggregate.

      • spoonjim 9 days ago

        LOL. This is classic “virtue signaling.” Your iPhone battery is not even a rounding error on your electricity consumption.

        • JohnFen 9 days ago

          "virtue signaling" is doing something useless in order to make yourself look good to a particular group.

          Could it be that this isn't "virtue signaling", but rather people overestimating the impact of the action? In other words, an honest (if mistaken) attempt at doing a good thing rather than just wanting to be perceived as doing a good thing?

          • spoonjim 9 days ago

            I think many virtue signalers are earnest and think that Tweeting #BLM or other useless actions are actually useful.

            • JohnFen 9 days ago

              If someone is doing something because they think it makes a real difference, then it's not virtue signaling by definition.

              • kortilla 9 days ago

                Those are orthogonal. You can either think something helps or it doesn’t and virtue signal in either case.

                It’s right in the name. When you “virtue signal”, you are signaling morals to a wider audience. It’s “virtue signaling” regardless of conviction.

                • jholman 9 days ago

                  I think you didn't read @JohnFen carefully enough.

                  If the reason I am doing something is that I believe it will create results independent of being seen to have done it, I am not virtue signalling. Which is what @JohnFen said.

                  Conversely, if the reason I am doing something is because of the signalling value I believe will be attached to the way others see my actions, I am virtue signalling. Which is what you said.

              • nikau 9 days ago

                Virtue signalling is typically something easy with no real inconvenience to the person doing it.

                So doing a #supportsoupkitchens on a twitter repost vs actually going and volunteering at one.

            • M3L0NM4N 9 days ago

              I think the OP just overestimated how much electricity charging their phone actually uses, and not intentionally trying to claim they're being useful by saving 1 cent of electricity.

        • parker_mountain 9 days ago

          Very short sighted to think it's about "your" individual power consumption.

          There are over a billion iPhones in use today. Assuming 10% of them get charged during peak times, each one shaving a watt off of its peak is 100000 kilowatts of load reduced from the energy grid.

          Considering the number is probably a lot higher, and the load reduction a lot greater, my estimate is probably pretty conservative. And then further consider that this is being rolled out to iPads, Macbooks, and Apple Watches as well. It starts to add up!

        • dybber 9 days ago

          If all iPhones do this it will matter. Charging when energy is plentiful also means that electricity is more likely to come from renewables.

          • ars 9 days ago

            > If all iPhones do this it will matter.

            No it won't. An phone has around 5 watt hours. So: 5 watt hours / day * 150 million people * 365 days = 273GWh / year / 4,116 billion kilowatthours / year = 0.006651% of electrical usage.

            Yah, it's virtue signaling, not anything real. And keep in mind 0.006651% is total electrical usage - this time shifting might save 10%, so actual savings are even less than that.

            • parker_mountain 9 days ago

              "150 million people"

              There are over a billion iPhones in use worldwide. This technology is also being brought to MacBooks (100 million+), Watches (100 million+), and iPads (150 million+).

              Your fundamental numbers are staggeringly inaccurate.

              And, most crucially, representing it as a whole of the electric usage instead of peak hours intentionally misses the point of reducing peak hour usage. It's called "peak hour" for a reason.

              • tsimionescu 9 days ago

                And the total worldwide use of electricity is 22,848 TWh/year, (according to the IEA [0]). So that would be 5Wh/day * 1 billion phones * 366 days = 1,830 TWh = 0.0008% of world electricity consumption.

                Getting data about peak hour usage is much harder, but I would wager it's at most as much of that. So yes, completely insignificant at a large scale.

                If anything, the biggest impact will come to individual consumers, if and when electricity prices start varying more widely across times of day.

                [0] https://www.iea.org/reports/electricity-information-overview...

                • parker_mountain 9 days ago

                  > Getting data about peak hour usage is much harder

                  That is the entire point of this exercise. My point is that OP fails to address that with data (as do you).

                  • tsimionescu 9 days ago

                    Do you have some data? Or some reason to believe that iPhones are a much larger part of peak hour consumption than they are of overall electricity consumption?

                    Based on the data we do have, there doesn't seem to be any reason to care about iPhone charging - so, if you don't come up with some data or rationale for why we should, then I still feel it's justified to say that this change has little chance of helping the world in all but the most minor of ways.

                    • ZeroGravitas 8 days ago

                      Recent price rises due to gas in Europe have exposed more people to the idea that the market price is set at the margin.

                      If 1W of gas fired power needs to be brought online in the middle of the night to charge your phone, then all the wind power gets the same price. That's why peaks have always been the most economical place to target investments.

                      It would be interesting to compare the charge rate of a Tesla Powerall * the number of them deployed. I can see iPhones alone winning that depending on some assumptions you make.

                      You'd then probably be able to find stats on what Tesla gets paid for providing that service to get some idea of scale.

                    • parker_mountain 8 days ago

                      > Do you have some data?

                      You are the one making claims with poor data and assumptions, not me.

              • Stupulous 9 days ago

                They're using US numbers both for iPhone count (which they overestimate by ~40 million) and total electricity. That should bias their estimate against their point, as the US is particularly consumerist. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I would think that measuring as a fraction of total usage would also bias their result upwards- x/avg(y) > x/max(y).

            • KennyBlanken 9 days ago
              • spoonjim 9 days ago

                No. Do you celebrate programmers fixing 1 in a million cosmetic bugs when the software crashes on boot and deletes the user’s disk?

          • jerlam 9 days ago

            Phones are rarely plugged in unless the battery is dead.

            This strategy actually works with laptops though. I know that one company set up all their laptops to stop drawing power from mains and run from the battery at peak hours, even though it was still plugged in. This was for cost savings and not for environmental ones, but the same strategy would work.

            • kortilla 9 days ago

              > Phones are rarely plugged in unless the battery is dead.

              ???

              Most people I can think of charge there phone as part of their nightly routine.

        • Scoundreller 9 days ago

          Helps further centralize/converge appliance control into the iPhone.

          Good move.

      • nicoburns 9 days ago

        iPhones do it to help preserve battery health. Slower charging is better for the battery, as is being near the middle of its charging range.

        • ldrndll 9 days ago

          This is different to optimized battery charging. As of iOS 16 (in an as yet unreleased point version) Apple plans to add support for clean energy charging, which will charge your iPhone when the grid has a cleaner mix of energy. I think this is US only to begin with.

      • Scoundreller 9 days ago

        Nice. I’ve also wanted my phone to tread water and not add charge while I’m driving.

        Dumb dumb to use a gasoline engine’s generator to charge it, but I don’t want it to go dead either.

        • midasuni 9 days ago

          The iPhone 13 pro max has a battery about 17Wh.

          A typical car uses 330 Wh per mile.

          Charging your phone from flat will cost you about 90 yards in range. At the most expensive electricity on the planet of about 70c per kWh it will cost you about 1c.

          • Retric 9 days ago

            Engine > alternator > rectifier > wireless charger > battery isn’t particularly efficient so you could be looking at closer to 2c/charge depending on setup and gas prices. Still trivial compared to an iPhone.

            • midasuni 9 days ago

              An iPhone probably last about 1000 charges (once a day for 3 years), so even 5c/charge would be $50, less than 5% of the total cost.

              • Retric 8 days ago

                Sure, though it is well worth it to replace the battery on an old iPhone.

          • Scoundreller 9 days ago

            That’s probably what electricity costs in gasoline from a car’s alternator. I’d like to keep that 1c tyvm.

        • neuralRiot 9 days ago

          Your car probably wastes more power heating all the wires on it than charging your phone.

  • ehnto 9 days ago

    I had a related epiphany regarding car traffic today. When thinking about how autonomous cars could increase efficiency of taking off from stop lights by doing it syncronously, I realised that to put it bluntly, nobody would actually give a shit. We drive cars for personal autonomy and a level of freedom and protection from the car centric cities we build. Making that efficient is nice, but no one is willing to sacrifice the core point of driving for the various minor efficiencies.

    It was an epiphany I had in relation to my staunch pro-bike/public transport internal discourse. It occurred to me that we need to focus on the main motivations for driving and public transport in order to make them both better. Road networks should focus on freedom and personal autonomy, and public transport should focus on throughput efficiency. Making PT better at throughput by expanding the networks would give people more freedom on the road network too by reducing traffic.

    • sfifs 9 days ago

      Glad you were able to make the connection. Too many folks passionate on reforming transport focus primarily on the moral/technical problem/solution Vs the actual "job to be done" for people of owning a personal car.

      Where I live, I don't own a car largely because the "jobs" for which having access to a car is critical is handled by a reliable, efficient and safe cab/taxi on demand system (you need to get somewhere quickly, carry a lot of stuff, take your family/friends to A&E at night etc). So then I can rely on the very good Public Transit system for the bulk of my regular commute needs confident that I can get a cab when I need to.

      If the reliable cab/taxi on demand didn't exist (which was indeed the situation before Uber and it's ilk), I would buy a car irrespective of how good the public transport system was (it was good even then) and irrespective of taxation dis-incentives. Once you own a car, for many use cases it becomes a lot more convenient and has low incremental cost to just drive.

      As you may note, these "jobs to be done" vary by geography, lifestage and income - so while general principles can be drawn up, they need to be locally customized.

  • Grimburger 9 days ago

    > The solution is simple. Make electricity cheaper when it's more available

    From the parts of the world I come from the majority of people are vehemently opposed to time of use pricing. Because that's when they use it most.

    They and their political representatives would much prefer to keep taking from those who consume in off-peak rather than fix the underlying mechanism.

    • Scoundreller 9 days ago

      Ontario Canada did a mass $2b implementation of smart meters for time of day pricing.

      Unfortunately most people don’t care (or the technology to take advantage of it just isn’t there), and demand shifted less than 1% over several years.

      But it’s hard to find this info, because it doesn’t fit the (expensive to implement) narrative of “let them pay market price and people will respond to incentives”.

      https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/smart-meters-hydro-bi...

      > The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario's 2015-16 Energy Conservation Progress Report found "a 0.7 per cent reduction in peak demand among residential customers" attributed to time-of-use pricing over a four-year period.

      I mean, people keep their foot on the gas when the light ahead is red and sometimes even speed up to get ahead of you only to slam on their brakes.

      • Marsymars 9 days ago

        The pricing model isn't appropriate to make people care.

        What they could do instead of time-of-use pricing is a sliding multiplier that multiplies your total bill based on the ratio of on-peak to off-peak use. Make the multiplier worse based on what the total usage is.

        • fsckboy 9 days ago

          you'll win a Nobel prize in econ if you can prove "The pricing model isn't appropriate to make people care"

      • yazaddaruvala 9 days ago

        I wouldn't judge this framework on a few year time horizon, but the time horizon to migrate to 100% EV fleet for Ontario.

        The problem with 100% EV fleet a regular grid will be overloaded and customer's will not be incentivized to care.

        This framework future proofs the Ontario grid from such a "wall".

        Now that the framework exists in Ontario, prices at certain times in the day can grow 10x, 100x, 1000x where appropriate and people will care and will change their behaviors.

        • discretion22 9 days ago

          If time of use had even a 10x premium, people in Ontario would simply switch to simple tiered pricing which is available as an alternative to time of use pricing. Each Ontario electricity company is required to show you which would be cheaper for you and allow you to switch to the cheaper tariff to obtain cost savings.

          • yazaddaruvala 6 days ago

            Got it, so then Ontario has good hardware and no incentives. Everywhere else has no hardware and no incentives. Still one step better for Ontario.

            If/When the Ontario grid starts to feel the pressure of EVs, it is a choice between (No Electricity + Tiered Pricing) XOR (Electricity + 10x premium Time of Use Pricing).

            I have a feeling everyone will complain but understand that the only option was to keep the grid running.

      • pas 9 days ago

        they can afford not to care. this doesn't mean it's not a good solution.

        it's no surprise the general population in one of the richest regions on Earth doesn't immediately change their consumption habits when a small fraction of their monthly bill gets variable

        • Scoundreller 9 days ago

          It’s not a good solution when you spend a ton of money to force people to pay the averaged out market prices per time segment and they still don’t care.

          It’s like making me spend $$$ to measure and charge me for how much co2 I exhale.

          It’s technically correct: that co2 does contribute to global warming.

          But it’s going to cost more to meter it than I could possibly save in conservation through this newfound incentive.

          • pas 8 days ago

            it depends on the capacity premium

            for example bandwidth used to be 95th percentile priced, but Netflix quickly run into problems because its peers did not want to upgrade linecards, switches, etc. (and as some of those peers were also in the media disturbution business they explicitly wanted to keep those ports maxed out)

            the point is that if the network provides a close to constant capacity, then of course it makes no sense to try to price on that.

            but with more and more variable supply it seems prudent to prepare the demand side too.

            in Norway currently electricity prices fluctuate like crazy, and the supplier sends an email each day about the prices for the next day (though I'm not sure how guaranteed those are, of course the current price is also online)

            and it varies regionally too

    • wcoenen 9 days ago

      Power companies can offer more than one pricing formula.

      People who want to minimize their power bill can choose to pick the time of use pricing and shift some of their consumption off peak. Others can choose to pay more for the convenience of not having to worry about all that stuff. How much more, that can be determined by market forces.

    • GoOnThenDoTell 9 days ago

      time-of-use is also cognitive load that can cause anxiety

      • landemva 9 days ago

        For the small amount I consume, tiny potential savings are not worth the mental hassles. I switched a residence to flat rate to avoid these mental games.

        • marcosdumay 9 days ago

          It's probably worse for poor people, that already deal with the extra cognitive load on every other pricing...

          But it's also probably best for poor people, that will optimize their usage and get better deals out of it.

          • landemva 9 days ago

            Poor people don't use/waste electricity in large volumes because they are poor and don't have money to waste.

            Rich people can waste enormous amounts of electricity and not be financially affected. It benefits rich people to schedule running the two clothes washers and two clothes driers at off-peak rates. Poor people don't have energy fat like this to cut.

            • marcosdumay 9 days ago

              This is about moving usage around the clock, not cutting unnecessary usage.

              Yes, poor people have less usage to move around in absolute values, but they have more relatively to their income.

              • landemva 9 days ago

                If poor people don't have much to timeshift then it doesn't much benefit them. A single parent working 1.5 jobs and then juggling laundry hours may not be useful for that family nor for society. Maybe the first nnn kilowatt hours each month should be flat rate - like minimum wage sets a floor likewise exempt some small base of electricity usage from the pricing games.

        • shiftpgdn 9 days ago

          My house uses around 3-4MW/mo. I hyper optimized when I had true spot pricing before Griddy energy was disbanded by the state. My bill was extremely low compared to what I pay now.

          • bonzini 9 days ago

            What? My house used 4 MWh a year in 2020, with two people working from home and two kids. Of these about half (IIRC) is self-produced solar. Stove and heating are gas and I do not have a tumble dryer, but does that justify a 10x difference??

            • vel0city 9 days ago

              My home uses over 2MWh/mo over the summer, I think our peak bill this year was ~3200kWh.

              Average highs these last few months has been around 100F or so and very sunny, with at least one month >100F for the high every day. Its finally "cooling off" around here, with our highs being in the upper 90s most days. Cooling >2000sqft of space, even with some decent insulation and keeping the AC to 78F in the day, uses a lot of energy. It uses ~30A @ 240V, so ~7.2kW. If it had to run 12 hours in a day, that's 86.4kWh in just a single day. Doing that for a month straight, that's 2,592kWh.

              I was going to write up the math on how much my pool pump uses, but honestly it kind of turned into peanuts compared to the amount our AC usage is. The pump is 3/4HP. Running ~600W on the schedule of 8 hours a day + 12 hour once a week shock it really only worked out to 172.8kWh/mo of usage. Still though, that's 52% of your entire usage for just my pool.

              Last year we probably used ~3,000kWh charging the EV. That's on average 250kWh/mo.

              • bonzini 9 days ago

                To be honest I wonder if those are good places for humans to live in, at all.

                • vel0city 8 days ago

                  There's only a narrow band of land then where we would be able to live without expending large amounts of energy to stay warm or cool.

                  Colder places use just as much if not more energy in wintertime. They just don't often use it as kWh from their electricity provider so they don't normally compare it this way. Instead of electricity they burn natural gas or propane or fuel oil or even wood pellets to heat their homes. Many people in this chat which talk about having pretty low energy usage then acknowledge they heat with gas.

                  For many, changing to heat pumps would drastically increase their electric bills in the winter offsetting their gas bills. Just look at my comparison of energy usage of my heat pump cooling my home compared to the energy usage of other big usage areas. It's not even close.

                  Running a heat pump for 12 hours to keep the house warm would be a similar amount of energy usage. It's the same tech. Raising the inside temperature from 0F to 70F (70F degrees of difference) takes more energy than cooling from 100F to 70F (30F of difference). So a place that spends half the year around 100F but then is close to comfortable inside for the other half requires less energy than a place that gets down to 0F half the year and then is close to comfortable the other.

                  • bonzini 8 days ago

                    My gas usage is 1400 m3/year, corresponding to roughly 15 MWh/year. A condensing boiler would lower it to at most 10 MWh, even less for a heat pump. Add in the electricity, and that would still be roughly 1 MWh/month or a third of what the user above mentions.

                    • vel0city 8 days ago

                      It's rather hard to compare unless we know the spaces involved. My energy usage was significantly less when I was on the ground floor of a large apartment complex, using maybe 500kWh/mo at the highest. But I had less than half the space I do now, no private yard, no private garage. I couldn't install amateur radio antennas however I wish. I couldn't make changes to the unit however I wish. My family has grown and I now work from home significantly more than before.

                      I don't need to use as much energy as I do, I could go back to living in a much smaller space and not have all the private spaces and rights I have now. But I'd rather not raise a family in <900sqft when I can afford not to and I get a lot of enjoyment of the private spaces I have.

                      Sure, we could get everyone to use <500kWh/mo, even if we don't have to ask everyone to move to the narrow space that's close to room temperature year round. But that would mean massive changes in a lot of lifestyles, limiting a lot of people to far less space and property rights than they've been used to.

            • shiftpgdn 9 days ago

              It's 90-100F from 9AM to 9PM (and sometimes longer than that) with 100% humidity 3600sqft mutli story house. 2 adults, 2 kids at home. 2 electric vehicles.

          • khuey 9 days ago

            Average US residential consumption is under 1MWh/mo so you are definitely not a typical customer.

          • Retric 9 days ago

            What are are you using that much power for? I can’t think of much that uses that much per that you can shift to time of day pricing, perhaps pottery kilns?

            Even 2MWh per month is enough to drive 2 EV’s around 50,000 miles per year each. If you’re very flexible with time of day rooftop solar could probably save you quite a bit.

            • lostmsu 9 days ago

              Just having my 4x3090 constantly running deep learning experiments consumes 1MWh/month. And that's GPUs only.

              • Retric 9 days ago

                Except constantly running can’t benefit from time of day pricing. Essentially it needs to be some 15kWh load that only needs to run for 6 hours per day.

                • marcosdumay 9 days ago

                  If the price changes are large enough, you can just buy an extra board and have them at the best half of the time.

                  • Retric 9 days ago

                    I think you would be better off buying a 2 Tesla power wall to load shift the demand vs 4x as much computer equipment that’s quickly outdated.

          • quickthrowman 9 days ago

            Your average constant electrical load is 4.2-5.5 kW? That seems excessive, are you running crypto miners or a small manufacturing operation/welding shop out of your home or something?

          • jjav 9 days ago

            > My house uses around 3-4MW/mo.

            This sounds.. astonishing. How can one consume so much in a house?

            My average is around 500 kWh which results in a $200+ bill.

          • kwhitefoot 9 days ago

            I thought mine was high at about 1.6 MWh per month!

            • distances 9 days ago

              It does sound high too if that's any consolation! My electricity usage is 1.3 MWh per year, though heating is then a separate energy bill.

      • zbrozek 9 days ago

        Yeah it is. I hate having to have a process in my brain thinking about optimizing everything. So I bought solar panels and batteries. Now I no longer care. The grid can keep getting more expensive and less reliable without causing me grief.

        • alexb_ 9 days ago

          >So I bought solar panels and batteries

          ...Mission accomplished?

          • zbrozek 9 days ago

            Sortof? The chumps left behind have fewer people to help amortize fixed costs.

            • landemva 9 days ago

              Hawaiian islands have struggled with this for a decade. Rich people put up solar cells with usage offsets and get grid scale reliability on the backs of those who can't put up solar cells due to being poor or living in an apartment.

              • zbrozek 8 days ago

                I'm going a step further. No grid connection at all. Uptime isn't great anyway-about 87% in July in my neighborhood.

          • sulam 9 days ago

            "Profit"

      • notatoad 9 days ago

        it is, but that's the part that technology can actually help us with. all the internet-connected smart home stuff that companies have been trying to sell us is a bit silly when electricity is sold at a flat rate, but if my car charger, my clothes dryer, or my or my dishwasher could sit idle until electricity prices drop into the cheap zone and then turn themselves on, that internet connection becomes useful.

        an attitude of "i don't want to deal with the stress of thinking about the electricity i use" is absolutely the sort of luxury that you should pay extra for, the people willing to schedule their power usage to reduce peak demand should be paying less than the people who aren't willing to do that.

        • AceyMan 9 days ago

          this just makes me think of the situation that resulted in Global TCP Synchronization flapping problem; when everyone is operating on the same premise without some random delay or other way to 'shard' the load it seems like a Slashdot effect is bound to happen.

          • marcosdumay 9 days ago

            You are comparing a complex, out of band, auction-based organization system with a simple, no added overhead, parameter-guessing system. Those don't fail on the same ways.

        • nikau 9 days ago

          Yep that could certainly work if appliances and cars have an option to say "have my dishwasher finish or car charged by 9am tomorrow" and it knows how long a cycle takes and picks the best time.

          For anything real time it wont work - here in Australia we had a discount for a box that you connect to your air conditioner which would throttle back its use during peak, and a lot of people ditched it due to impact on their comfort.

    • SoftTalker 9 days ago

      The point is that off-peak isn't necessarily the best option anymore.

      In areas that are going all-in on solar, there is power during the day, but at night it would have to be generated or come from storage batteries.

      Off-peak traditionally means when demand is low. Now you have to change your thinking to be when supply is high.

      • fsckboy 9 days ago

        > Now you have to change your thinking to be when supply is high

        teachable moment, all along you should have been using price

        • tsimionescu 9 days ago

          The price is the same at all these times, unless someone acts to make it different. The whole discussion is about how to adjust energy price to incentivize the health of the grid (which is a shared resource individual market actors don't care about).

    • dehrmann 9 days ago

      It's probably not "taking from those who consume in off-peak." The utility knows when people who use flat-rate power use it, so they can bake that into the flat rate. But if it makes consumers feel better about the price...

  • wodenokoto 9 days ago

    > Make electricity cheaper when it's more available, and people will use it.

    It’s _not_ like that in the states? In Denmark people are sharing spreadsheet that can tell you when to run the washing machine to save on electricity since the energy crisis following Russias invasion of Ukraine has pushed prices enough that these optimizations become valuable to regular consumers.

  • Overtonwindow 9 days ago

    If only there were a clean energy source that we could harness.. Hey what about nuclear!?

    • pfdietz 9 days ago

      More expensive than alternatives, sorry.

      • DennisP 9 days ago

        Maybe not, if the alternative is installing enough battery to charge most people's electric cars at night.

        My state's grid is over half nuclear, and our electric rates are not high.

        • wumpus 9 days ago

          Good news! The very article we're discussing explains why you don't have to install enough batteries to charge most people's electric cars at night.

          • DennisP 7 days ago

            Right, and all it will take is "major investments and changes in charging habits." Note those major investments are seldom accounted for when people talk about solar cost.

            Speaking of which, California is 17% solar, 8% wind, and 7% hydro[1], and their retail electricity costs 19.9 cents/kWh.[2]

            South Carolina is 58% nuclear, 0.1% solar, no wind, and 2% hydro,[3] and their retail electricity costs 12.9 cents/kWh.[2]

            It's almost like solar is super cheap on the margins, but it's easier to make a cheap grid with lots of nuclear than lots of solar....nah, that can't be it.

            [1] https://www.energy.ca.gov/data-reports/energy-almanac/califo...

            [2] https://www.electricchoice.com/electricity-prices-by-state/

            [3] https://energy.sc.gov/node/3067

            • pfdietz 7 days ago

              All the nuclear plants in S.C. are old. The most recently completed one came online in 1986. Power from old depreciated plant can indeed be cheap (although sometimes not cheap enough; TMI 1 was cash flow negative the last six years it was in operation). Trying to REPLACE those plants, or build new ones to provide additional power, is another matter entirely. Look at the sad experience at V. C. Summer, also in S.C.

              A similar story is playing out in France, with Flamanville 3.

            • wumpus 7 days ago

              Where's the part where you have to install enough batteries to charge most electric cars at night? That was your scenario.

              Good choice of states, though: I grew up in SC and live in California. California uses time-of-day rates to nudge people away from charging during the early evening peak.

  • tomohawk 9 days ago

    > The solution is simple

    Oh, so just solve the problem that people since Edison have been trying to solve.

    So simple!

  • mattwilsonn888 9 days ago

    Came here to post a less eloquent version of this sentiment.

  • lm28469 9 days ago

    > Wrong according to what metric?

    Have you read the study ? https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-022-01105-7

    > you just use natural market forces and the problem fixes itself.

    Never worked, never will, borderline sounds like a cult following, "The all mighty market will automagically fix it with no human intervention"

    • alexb_ 9 days ago

      A very small amount of people really care about "grid impact" enough to change their behavior. They do care about "I can make my electricity cheaper" or "My electricity bill went up".

      • lm28469 9 days ago

        They don't care until their whole neighbourhood goes dark at 6PM everyday

        • xboxnolifes 9 days ago

          They still won't care to change. They will complain, yes, but change? No.

          • coderenegade 9 days ago

            That seems fairly reasonable to me? Most people are just trying to get by. They have bigger problems on their plate like getting paid so they can pay their bills on time, and keep a roof over their head. Adding additional stuff on top of that is a cognitive load that most people would rightfully push back against, because they don't have the spare capacity.

            I think this is a big part of why, to-date, the environmental movement is comprised of the relatively wealthy, and what I would characterize as "true believers" who don't have much, but are okay with that, and okay with living their lives in a way that minimizes their impact. The first group have the spare capacity to do something about their impact, and the second group take it on as a mandate that often (but not always) affects their ability to function in broader society (or: how do you hold down a decent job if you ride a pushbike everywhere?).

            My personal belief is that any successful environmental movement needs to go hand-in-hand with a more equitable distribution of wealth in society, and focus on quality-of-life, so that the people in the middle have the spare capacity to give a shit. Otherwise, you're going to bump into the ugly reality of people's day-to-day, and your movement will be perceived as rich people -- who make up the bulk of consumption to begin with -- telling everybody else how to live their lives. Which is exactly what's happened. I don't think it's an accident that the countries farthest along the path to decarbonization also have some of the best income equality, and quality-of-life on the planet.

        • jsight 9 days ago

          People already charge at night because that is currently when power is cheaper. They'd switch if they can and it becomes cheaper.

          We already see this to some extent, as people with free workplace charging often choose that over home charging when possible.

    • ZeroGravitas 9 days ago

      I'm not a hardcore free marketeer, but price signals work via human intervention.

      At the lowest level it's people plugging things in at specific times to save pennies.

      But people can build systems to do this automatically, like the ripple signal that's been used for half a century to turn on water storage heaters.

      People can build entire business around building widgets that will help other businesses save money.

      The (soylent) green energy market is people.

  • rufus_foreman 9 days ago

    >> you just use natural market forces and the problem fixes itself

    We're talking about electric vehicles here. There has already been massive interference in the market forces through both push and pull mechanisms - push would be things like outlawing internal combustion engines going forward, pull would be huge subsidies for electric vehicles.

    It's pretty late in the game to say, "Hey! let's just use natural market forces! Problem solved!"

    Natural market forces would be a tax on carbon equal to the cost of removing it from the atmosphere when it is burned and then let people buy whatever kind of car they want and can afford. There is no popular support whatsoever on either left or right for those kind of natural market forces.

    • NickM 9 days ago

      I think you're conflating two separate markets; there can be as many subsidies or taxes added to buying an EV as you want, but the "what time do I charge my car" problem is an electricity market problem, not a car market problem.

    • jsight 9 days ago

      For all the hype, that is less true than it appears. A lot of EV owners pay annual fees and also sales taxes on power. On top of that, the most popular EVs in the US aren't subsidized in every state.

      My comment is US-centric, but in the US the adoption isn't really regulatory driven. The regulations are following reality while the politicians try to position themselves as "leaders".

  • cgb223 9 days ago

    > The solution is simple. Make electricity cheaper when it's more available, and people will use it. You don't need any complex "AI" like people in this thread are saying, you just use natural market forces and the problem fixes itself. Too much energy being used at night - price increases. It's not complicated, and it's what we're doing already. People don't need a Stanford study to convince them to get their energy for cheaper.

    This is exactly what they were doing in Texas right up until the moment the Blizzard hit last year.

    Suddenly electricity became unavailable (because you know, giant blizzard), and consequently it was something like $6000 a kw/hr[1] for some users

    Your market force solution for electricity pricing almost bankrupted me ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    [1] https://thehill.com/changing-america/resilience/natural-disa...

    • collinmcnulty 9 days ago

      Texas electricity prices are capped at $9/kWh but are often reported in the wholesale $/MWh

    • concordDance 9 days ago

      Set thresholds on your meter that notifies you when price rises to high and turns it off automatically? Maybe some household batteries or a small generator?

      • sidewndr46 9 days ago

        Where in Texas does the end-user get to install their own meter they can customize?

upsidesinclude 9 days ago

This article does a poor job of explaining why there is going to be a problem and relaying the point of the study.

To model the grid and power infrastructure into the future, assumptions must be made about where the power is derived.

The article fails to provide the basic factors contributing to the problem, even though the study itself does a fine job.

So California wants to legislate electric cars. That means higher demand in a shorter period of time. Meanwhile Calofornia wants to legislate 'clean' or 'green' energy production. If that's a design limitation then the outcome is a shift away from what is the normal situation we face with energy use today.

Energy use at night with a highly solar derived power system requires significant storage and efficiency loss. Charging all of California's electric cars in 2035 will be a demand that far surpasses anything seen today. These things that we see causing rolling black outs and brown outs, like AC use spikes in summer will be a blip compared to the consistent vehicle charging demand.

Interesting, though, the electric vehicle adoption basically negates the storage problem if a parallel infrastructure of charge back from homes at night is implemented. Charge your car at work in the sun and use it to power your home at night.

  • NickM 9 days ago

    If you're regularly committing a certain percentage of your car's battery capacity to powering your house, wouldn't it make more sense to just have a stationary battery at home? Otherwise you can't rely on that extra range in your car if you need it to power your home anyway, and you're just spending extra energy carrying around extra battery weight in your car every day.

    • upsidesinclude 9 days ago

      If we're seriously going there , then legislate mandatory carpool or motorcycles for single occupants.

      The thing is, California isn't making great policy decisions or even efficient power decisions. They are making virtue decisions.

      Moving 1.5 tons of battery or 1.25 tons of battery isn't where the hairsplitting should take place

      • qqqwerty 9 days ago

        They are making politically expedient decisions that move the state towards its clean energy commitments. Yes, there may be some hiccups down the road, but that is the price to pay for putting off the transition for so long. And as one of the faster movers in this space CA will almost undoubtedly move the market in a way that will make it cheaper and easier for everyone else. Look at the "California Solar Initiative" (CSI) for example. It incentivized solar installations across the state, well before small scale installations were economically viable. And across the lifetime of the program, solar prices came down and adoption grew.

        • upsidesinclude 9 days ago

          Have you seen BART? The freeways in every major metro of CA?

          You are defending politics and not engaging the reality of failed infrastructure in the state.

          Now they are going to lead the country in developing a new paradigm in power infrastructure? The same that has PG&E blowing up neighborhoods because the company got so much tax incentive to continue building they failed to record where they placed capital assets and can't complete maintenance.

          California isn't putting anything off, they just can't get anything done.

          Giving tax incentives to get more people to buy e-cars won't fix that problem

          • qqqwerty 9 days ago

            Turn off fox news for a bit and try getting your information from reliable, nonpartisan sources. Currently, over 60% of Californias electricity comes from clean sources (hydro, renewables, and nuclear). And we are well on target to hit 100% before our goal of 2045. These are facts.

            PG&E has nothing to do with this. Most power plants in the state are owned by third party investors, not by the utilities. Perhaps you should read up on CA power markets before commenting.

            • upsidesinclude 17 hours ago

              You are in a politics bubble.

              Don't try to couch my comment in your political view.

              PG&E is an example of how the policies used in CALIFORNIA fail the people of CALIFORNIA.

              That is relevant. These are facts.

              If you DIED because of infrastructure failures, maybe you'd feel differently! You know? Because you'd be dead and all...

        • User23 9 days ago

          And who benefits from that? Owners of single family detached housing and megalandlords. Maybe there is some positive environmental impact, but really the main motivation is wealth transfer to the politically connected classes.

      • NickM 9 days ago

        My point isn't that we should actually shrink EV batteries and use the excess for stationary storage, my point is that car batteries as a demand-leveling mechanism is not likely to be an optimal solution.

        That said, it's not something that's really happening right now anyway, so the "power your home with your car at night" idea seems unlikely to take off unless there is a (possibly misguided) legislative push for it.

        • qqqwerty 9 days ago

          Batteries are a bit too expensive to make sense as stationary storage outside of some specialty cases right now. But EVs have been economical for a while. So while we wait for battery prices to drop, two way EV charging absolutely make sense as a transition technology. Most of those EV batteries are sitting unused for large chunks of the day, and the entire capacity of the battery is often only needed by the driver a few times per year. Adding two way charging is not a prohibitive cost, and that installation can be reused if/when an onsite battery is added in the future. The rest of the program can be managed with software.

          • tsimionescu 9 days ago

            > Most of those EV batteries are sitting unused for large chunks of the day

            Yes, that is the point of having a battery, or any fuel storage of any kind. Especially one that degrades with use and that doesn't even change its weight based on being full (which could potentially offset some of the costs).

      • Schroedingersat 9 days ago

        If only there were a way to encourage upwards of 50% of trips to be done via methods that take a tiny fraction of the energy with no or negligible battery without invasive freedom limiting legislation just by spending roughly as much as EV manufacturers have received in subsidy on infrastructure.

        Oh well. Guess we'll have to give another billion to elon.

    • Schroedingersat 9 days ago

      I wonder if there's any correlation between times someone travels 400 miles and times when they are not home... we probably need a study or something to figure it out.

      • NickM 9 days ago

        The problem is, you need a full charge in the morning if you're leaving on a road trip, so then your car will not be powering your house the night before. This would likely lead to big spikes in demand the night before the start of holiday a weekend, for example.

        • kevinpet 9 days ago

          I don't have an electric car, but I can't imagine this is a challenging problem at all. All you need is a target charge level. If you're going on a trip tomorrow, set it to 100%. If your normal commute is 20 minutes, no reason to charge past 75% or even 50%.

          • tsimionescu 9 days ago

            They were saying this creates huge problems for the grid. Let's assume people will want to destroy their car battery by draining it to power their house every night, and that this indeed supplements the need for grid storage overnight. However, when holiday seasons comes around, all of a sudden a significant percentage of homes will start demanding much higher power usage from the grid, as people co-ordinate in setting their cars not to drain power into their homes on the night before.

            • nikau 9 days ago

              Sounds like the UK where everyone used to turn their kettles on during the ad breaks of popular TV shows

    • kieranmaine 9 days ago

      This requires extra cost for the consumers and will drive up battery demand. It will be cheaper for the consumer to use their car to help balance the grid, as long as they have the required range for when it's needed (with current smart charging solutions already providing this).

  • ParksNet 9 days ago

    Each car is typically driven 35 miles daily in the USA. Against a capacity of ~250 miles, this represents many days of non-charging, and thus a lot of flexibility in when charging occurs.

    EVs can potentially strengthen the grid: if they are charged smartly, to balance demand.

    We need manufacturers, regulators, grid operators to align on how to figure this out.

    At the least, grid conditions/pricing should be sent to the car for smart charging.

    Mandating 240volt connections in all garages and a large portion of apartment parking lots would also enable the solar excesses of the day to be quickly utilized.

    • kieranmaine 9 days ago

      This is spot on. Kaluza (https://www.kaluza.com/demand-response/) are working on this problem, by giving EV drivers reduced prices for EV charging as long as the Kaluza platform controls when you car is charged, with the Kaluza platform using price signals to decide when to stop/start charging.

      The larger impact will come from V2G (Vehicle-to-grid) charging. This will require manufacturers to add this capability to vehicle but the savings for customers are significantly greater than just smart charging (see see https://www.kaluza.com/case-studies/case-study-kaluza-enable...).

      • theluketaylor 9 days ago

        I’d happily let the utility decide when to charge the car for best pricing and load usage so long as I can override it when I need from time to time at prevailing price. I’d also be happy to sell power back to the grid if I can set the price floor threshold since batteries do have cycle limits.

  • landemva 9 days ago

    > Charge your car at work in the sun and use it to power your home at night.

    And fill your coffee thermos at work and drink free coffee at home all weekend. And toilet paper and pencils from work can also be taken home and maybe resold at a flea market.

    • PaulDavisThe1st 9 days ago

      Did you see anyone suggest that you receive free electricity while at work?

  • codelord 9 days ago

    -Charge your car at work in the sun and use it to power your home at night.

    This doesn't make any sense. If you don't need the capacity, why do you wanna carry a ton of battery everywhere with you wasting energy? Buy a smaller battery for the car. Keep another battery installed at home. The battery at home is also more flexible to draw power at the optimal time for the grid.

    Not to mention that this constant charging and recharging would decrease the lifetime of the battery, causing more environmentally unfriendly waste and inefficiency.

  • PaulDavisThe1st 9 days ago

    > Charge your car at work in the sun and use it to power your home at night.

    Completely infeasible in cold climates if your house is heated by electrically-powered air source heat pumps, as it probably should be.

    • theluketaylor 9 days ago

      I live in a cold climate and it would take only take more than 50% of charge to keep the house warm overnight with an air source heat pump. Since I rarely use more then 10% of range per day driving this would easily work for me. With an LFP battery car the cycle usage wouldn’t even be a big deal.

      It’s not impossible.

      • PaulDavisThe1st 9 days ago

        I live near Santa Fe at 6000'. I have a 6.6kW array out front. It generates 3x what we need in the summer, and 1/3rd of what we need in the winter, when we heat with an air source heat pump. Yes, it's an old adobe and not well insulated, but even with those things fixed, the amount of power we'd need to stay warm would require a battery system of immense size, much larger than a car (for now, anyway).

        • upsidesinclude 9 days ago

          From two googlings,

          avg home consumption daily : 30kwh

          Avg EV consumption per 100mi : 30kwh

          That is about a third of a typical modern vehicle range.

          Sounds like an adequate amount for your needs, but what you really should do is install passive solar heating like a thermal mass. If you're in Santa Fe then you already know the what and how. There's about 325 days of sunshine over there

          • PaulDavisThe1st 8 days ago

            The average daily home consumption does not typically include electric heating. Most homes in the US use oil or gas for heat. Even though heat pumps are very efficient, it still requires quite a lot of energy.

            Given that our house is mostly constructed of double adobe (24" thick) walls, we have lots of thermal mass, and some notable passive solar design features too.

Animats 9 days ago

"more than 5.4 gigawatts of energy storage would be needed if charging habits follow their current course."

Gigawatts are a unit of power, not energy. Storage is measured in gigawatt-hours. Stanford's PR department should know this. The question is, how much storage is needed to make it through the night?

The biggest pumped storage station in the US [1] generates 2.7GW of power and stores 24GWH. So, two of those, somewhere in the Sierras, should cover a night of charging.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_County_Pumped_Storage_Sta...

  • sidewndr46 9 days ago

    So we're just going to destroy huge parts of the Sierras so we can charge electric cars?

    • elihu 9 days ago

      The reservoirs we're using as an example are in the hundreds of acres of surface area. That's not "huge parts of the Sierras". If you look at Bath County Pumped Storage Station on Google maps, the bigger reservoir is a skinny lake about a mile long.

      Perhaps it makes sense to use much larger reservoirs, but even then I have trouble equating the creation of a few artificial lakes with severe environmental destruction. Really, it all depends on where they put it and whether they do reasonable due diligence to not impact existing habitat too severely. The environmental destruction that results from burning petroleum for ground transportation is far worse.

    • CameronNemo 9 days ago

      Wait until you hear about the mining operations needed to build them.

cortesoft 9 days ago

It sounds like the real issue is that the time-of-use rates are wrong. Just adjust them to match the actual energy production/demand, and the behavior change will follow.

My solar, battery, and car setup automatically adjusts to the rate for power. It sends all my energy to the grid when costs are high and I get the most back, and uses the battery at that time... and then charges the battery when rates are low.

Set the rates to be accurate and the system will work itself out. I am not going to use more expensive electricity just because the rates are set wrong.

  • Gibbon1 9 days ago

    It seemed obvious to me that time of use rates will have to change when you switch from thermal generation to solar because when you have over/under-provisioning is different.

    Thermal plants have excess capacity late at night, early morning. And under during the late afternoon early evening. Solar will have excess during the late mid morning. And nothing in the early evening.

    I don't think you need smarties at Standford to figure that out.

digdugdirk 9 days ago

"Electric vehicles will contribute to emissions reductions in the United States, but their charging may challenge electricity grid operations. We present a data-driven, realistic model of charging demand that captures the diverse charging behaviours of future adopters in the US Western Interconnection. We study charging control and infrastructure build-out as critical factors shaping charging load and evaluate grid impact under rapid electric vehicle adoption with a detailed economic dispatch model of 2035 generation."

The opening lines of the actual study paper. Wanted to put that out into the mix before this turns into another Soleus Pushup debacle.

That said, I think University of Houston actually did a better job with their press release than Stanford did, both in clarity of explanation and in the quality of presentation. I'd like to hear some thoughts for/against though.

denimnerd42 9 days ago

I would be curious about a study done for the Texas market.

From what I understand, you'd definitely want to charge at night due to the vast amounts of wind power available and the otherwise low demand.

Even better would be to plug the car in at all times when parked either at work or home and it just charges when the rate is cheapest. You don't need to charge every day to refill that 20 or 30 miles.

  • lbriner 9 days ago

    I guess the issue with this report is that it is specific to the unique mix of energy that the (west of the) USA has compared to other areas/countries. Countries with a lot of nuclear see that energy wasted at night because you can't just dial down the level very quickly, in that sense, in most of Nothern Europe this would be desirable.

    In countries that have extreme levels of solar, clearly this only works during the day and perhaps leaves the night being covered by fossil fuel plants instead where they are happy to use less/dial it down.

    The massive missing piece, at least in the UK, is a genuine Smart Grid that can drive usage to meet supply. I have precisely zero appliances in my house that can make any use of cheap electricity and even worse, if I want a dual-tariff to get cheaper overnight electric, I get punished for it costwise.

    • maccard 9 days ago

      > I have precisely zero appliances in my house that can make any use of cheap electricity and even worse, if I want a dual-tariff to get cheaper overnight electric, I get punished for it costwise

      No dishwasher or washing machine? I have a hog water tank with an immersion switch on it, I would love to heat that with cheap electricity overnight. I agree on the stupidity of punishing people for taking on the cheaper night tariffs - we should be goint for as much carrot as we can over stick!

      The other aspect of this is price and consumption. I work from home with a workstation PC and an electric over that we use maybe every other day. Meanwhile my annual electricity bill is 1/4 of what my annual heating (gas) is, and of that, hot water is only 1/4 of that. Well over half of my annual bill and energy consumption is just heating my house during winter.

      The real goal is to get storage heat sources heated by renewable sources for those of us in the UK.

      • bombcar 9 days ago

        Hog water!

        Heat is hard and it’s hard to get around the energy requirements. Ovens don’t use that much at all at normal home duty cycles.

        Improvements in insulation can certainly help.

    • jayd16 9 days ago

      Smart metering would make it easily enforceable but couldn't tie into the smart thermostat system to at least delay charging to off peak hours?

  • drak0n1c 9 days ago

    Many electricity co-ops and providers in Texas offer a choice of plans, one of which is higher rates during daytime but free electricity during nights and weekends. But that allowance doesn't kick in until later in the night, so a programmable clock on the charger would be a killer feature for electric car sellers.

    • ThatPlayer 9 days ago

      I believe most electric cars already support charging on a timer. I have a ChargePoint charger that does the same thing on the charger side. The app even has a choice of all the electricity providers and plans to choose it so I don't have to look it up manually.

    • denimnerd42 9 days ago

      yeah I wonder how the car would respond to that at the outlet level.

      • bombcar 9 days ago

        If it’s smart enough it should be able to turn off and on itself otherwise it’ll just think the charger turned off.

  • tetha 9 days ago

    Hamburg the city is currently funding a fairly interesting research project. The problem here is that solar + wind at times overproduces, and we have no grid scale energy storage to keep that power. So, a short-term idea is to equip most larger garages with EV chargers and to include a central control unit for these chargers. This way, the grid can bring the EVs to 40% - 60% charge slowly during off-hours, or dump as much power into the EVs as possible if the alternative was to shut down solar plants or wind turbines.

    And additionally, centralizing the power usage simplifies transmission issues for now. It's much easier to have a few big cables to a few big buildings, than having every single home pulling a lot of power all of a sudden.

  • parkingrift 9 days ago

    >Even better would be to plug the car in at all times when parked either at work or home and it just charges when the rate is cheapest.

    99% of people have a fixed rate 24/7/365. I live in NYC and I'm not even sure if it's possible for me to pay time of use rates. The time of day that electricity is cheapest is... all the time.

    I sincerely doubt there is any public or political will to change this engrained billing method. People will not willingly change their habits, and any politician proposing reducing quality of life will just get thrown out

    • denimnerd42 9 days ago

      In Texas right now you can get two meters to your home. One meter you use a fixed rate plan and the other meter you use a "wholesale" plus fee type plan, infamous example being Griddy. When the rate is nearly free you enable the outlet that charges your car.

      Of course hiring an electrician and all of that would probably have a long payback period.

      • maxerickson 9 days ago

        That's one of those things that works great if you use a huge amount of power.

        The fixed rate cost of charging for my commute would probably be less than the connection fee for the 2nd meter. In that scenario it wouldn't pay off it all (and of course you wouldn't bother doing it).

        • bombcar 9 days ago

          That may be true now but if we develop meters with dual outputs it wouldn’t be much more than the normal box setup.

          But if we’re doing that might as well make it so it can pull from the car if needed and turn it into a powerwall.

    • ThatPlayer 9 days ago

      California's electricity has been mandated to switch to TOU since 2015: https://www.cpuc.ca.gov/industries-and-topics/electrical-ene...

badrabbit 9 days ago

I need ELI5:

electric cars have very large and heavy batteries right? Why is it prohibitively difficult to replace them on demand? What if there were 2-3 batteries charging at home or hundreds at a "battery station", where you would park at a spot/drive-thru garage and have a hydraulic machine drop your old battery and lift in a new battery and the whole swap can take no longer than the time it takes to fill up a has car and you have less queues. Why is this not possible?

If it takes an hour to charge a battery and a battery station has 200 charging at any given time, and it takes 2 minutes to swap a battery then 6 charging bays can replace batteries for 180 cars leaving 20 extra batteries for defects and other issues. Couldn't such a charging station be implemented on a similar lot and budget of constructing a medium size gas station (at least a dozen pumps and around 1 acre lot).

A charging station that is twice as efficient with a 30min charge time can do 2 cars at most in one hour. You need 90 charging station to reach that efficiency even without considering the queues.

I just don't get it. Governments around the world and spending trillions on this stuff so why is there no clear answer on this?

  • tacostakohashi 9 days ago

    We're talking about an industry that has failed to standardize on a single, interchangeable charging plug here.

    What do you think the chances of a single, interchangeable battery for such a "battery station" to remove, recharge, replace are? Or are you proposing such stations for each individual manufacturer, model, model year, etc?

    • meatmanek 9 days ago

      The industry _has_ standardized, except for one hold-out (Tesla):

      https://youtu.be/sZOuz_laH9I?t=990

      > CCS is the established industry standard DC fast-charging connector, and every automaker selling cars for the US market is already using it, or, in the case of Nissan, has pledged to use it going forward. Except, oh right, except for... them [Tesla].

      The charger situation is quite analogous to Lightning vs. USB-C for smartphones. USB-C is the industry standard, and there's one manufacturer still using a proprietary connector. And in both cases, the hold-out manufacturer provides an adapter cable so you can use the standard connector.

      (To your point about standardized batteries having approximately 0% chance of happening any time soon, I 100% agree.)

      • SeanLuke 8 days ago

        There is an important point to make here though. I love me some Technology Connections, and am hardly a Tesla fan (in fact just bought a non-Tesla EV). But Tesla's connectors are unquestionably superior to the hideousness that is CCS. Tesla settled early on an elegant connector, and true to form, the rest of the auto industry settled on garbage, literally tacking DC pins onto the outside of a J-1772, much like the monstrosity that is the USB Micro B SS plug design.

    • CryptoBanker 9 days ago

      They haven’t standardized because they haven’t been given an incentive to standardize. I would argue that perhaps the incentives mentioned in the article could be given to companies instead to encourage them to standardize in plugs and batteries, but many people prefer to see financial incentives given to people instead of corporations

    • sidewndr46 9 days ago

      Let's just ignore the total of end-user standardization like a charging plug.

      They can't even put the gas filler on the same side universally on all vehicles. They can't even make the way you access it universal. Ever seen a car from the 70s where it was hidden behind the license plate?

      • tacostakohashi 9 days ago

        > Ever seen a car from the 70s where it was hidden behind the license plate?

        Yes, I have. Those are kind of cool, because it is equidistant from both sides.

      • jjav 9 days ago

        > They can't even put the gas filler on the same side universally on all vehicles.

        The side is a a non-issue. The important part is that the hose connection is standard. Any ICE car I could possibly buy can be fueled at any gas station anywhere, the hose always works.

    • badrabbit 9 days ago

      Governments can mandate this just like electrical outlets and emissions requirements.

  • elihu 9 days ago

    Battery swap stations are an old idea, but it's really hard to actually pull it off. It requires that all the cars you service have the same battery pack, or that there are at most only a few kinds of battery pack to deal with. The packs have to be stored and charged, so you have the same electrical service requirements plus you need a place to store the batteries, and employees or robots to move them around. You need car owners to accept an ownership model where batteries are leased rather than owned.

    Modern EV batteries are almost always liquid cooled, so your removable battery will need some kind of fluid connection that can be disconnected and reconnected without dripping ethylene glycol or whatever on everything, and without getting air bubbles in the line.

    Some cars are moving towards structural batteries, which means the car is less sturdy without the battery installed. That might not be a problem if it's just sitting there.

    The alternative is to just do DC fast charging, which seems to be good enough for most uses.

    Personally I think the long-term solution here is to electrify sections of the major highways at regular intervals, so that cars can charge without stopping. Sweden has some pilot projects involving rails embedded in slots in the road surface. Overhead lines are another option (and they're cheaper), but if they're high enough for trucks to fit, then cars would have to have very tall pantographs to reach.

    • badrabbit 9 days ago

      As a sibling commenter pointed out, NIO is already doing this with millions of swaps already in China.

      Instead of electrifying roads for cars, why not electrify them for rail cars and trains?

      • elihu 9 days ago

        Converting trains over to electric is also well worth doing.

    • PaulDavisThe1st 9 days ago

      > but it's really hard to actually pull it off. It requires that all the cars you service have the same battery pack, or that there are at most only a few kinds of battery pack to deal with.

      Precisely the kind of thing government regulation is for. Don't specify what is inside the battery pack, specify the form factor, connection points and attachment mechanisms. Leave the battery companies to figure out the rest.

      • theluketaylor 9 days ago

        Way more complex than that. Different packs have very different voltage and current delivery characteristics. A bunch of motor management depends on the battery pack characteristics, including things like regen braking.

        Charge times are already under 20 minutes for the best cars and will likely continue to come down. Swappable batteries would be a massively expensive undertaking that would hugely limit innovation in battery and car packaging for a pretty minimal gain.

        I’ve taken my model 3 on plenty of road trips and haven’t once thought it would be better with battery swapping.

        • ouchjars 9 days ago

          To some extent, the forced downtime is a benefit. Instantly refeullable vehicles enable fatigued driving. It's not even healthy to be sitting for that long as a passenger.

          • theluketaylor 9 days ago

            I believe the EU trucking downtime rules actually line up pretty nicely. Building trucks with enough range to maximize the driver time and then charge during the refresh period works out just about right.

        • vinnymac 9 days ago

          I agree. The newer charging stations are so quick at a rest stop, that I don't even notice them anymore. Once it's down to 10 minutes, it won't even be a discussion topic imo.

          • badrabbit 8 days ago

            I would say 5min. 10min is nothing on a road trip but a lot when you are running late for something. People who make less money tend to care more about this.

            • theluketaylor 8 days ago

              fast charging isn't need for day-to-day life. The vast majority of cars spend most of their time stationary and slow AC chargers are going to just become more and more common at all parking spots. Never having to stop during normal driving for gas since you start every day with a full 'tank' is a complete game changer.

              • badrabbit 8 days ago

                It needs to be like 99% of parking lots. It's ok until it isn't. I have had ro refuel my car during a commute many times and barely made it, if electric cars keep contributing to my tardiness I will blame them instead of my lack of adequate planning, even if it worked fine for a whole year before that. It took one experience of being stranded because of bad battery life estimate to get me to dislike them with passion.

                What I have learned from thid thread is people who advocate for electric cars are disconnected from the realities of most people. I think it is not possible to change enough people's minds about this, for reducing the impact of climate change, perhaps focusing on cruise ships and electric planes is better while promoting hybrid cars. Full electric cannot happen in the next 20 years at least if I had to guess.

                • theluketaylor 8 days ago

                  Hardly 99%. With a 260 mile-range car I only need to plug in about once a week. People who drive more obviously need to plug in more often, but it's a pretty rare person who would absolutely need to charge every single day. EVs are not for every single use case yet (like long distance towing) and that's okay. They will handle more use cases with each passing year. We certainly don't have nearly enough slow charging points yet, but it doesn't need to be anywhere near 100% coverage before many people who don't have dedicated parking can use an EV with minimal to no disruption.

                  Battery swapping isn't more efficient or cheaper. You still have to build out massive charging infrastructure all over the place to charge all the swapped batteries, plus you need staff, locations, and equipment to do the swapping, and storage space for the batteries while they wait to be placed back in a car. Plus every manufacturer has to use the exact same battery physical and electrical specs, eliminating all possible innovation in packaging. No one is saying it isn't possible, it just doesn't actually make sense at scale.

                  I recognize having a private driveway and garage is a luxury, which is why I'm highly supportive of laws requiring multi-unit dwellings to add charging and offering tax breaks for both landlords and tenants to get them installed. Also highly in favour of tax breaks for employers to offer charging in their lots. I also think municipalities should be upgrading the existing streetlight wiring to offer charging alongside street parking.

                  • badrabbit 8 days ago

                    To be a bit reductive here, it needs to work for everybody for it to be a viable fossil fuel car alternative. You can't have 1% of people for whom it doesn't work for because for 300M people that is 3M people. Often the people for whom it doesn't work for are the poorest and most vulnerable as well. Imagine taking off the cost of battery ownership and having battery leases subsidized, now you electric cars become even more affordable. Battery swapping from an infrastructure perspective is not mutually exclusive to charging either. You can charge cars with swappable batteries at charging stations. You just need the government to force standardization of both charging and swapping connections. Capitalism will take care of where you have swapping and charging stations. Of course you can force people to buy hybrids as well but they are not well liked due to difficulty of repairing them and that still means fossil fuels.

                    If fast charging car batteries in less than 5min can be done in 15 years and hybrids are acceptable maybe that is the way to go but even then as a consumer a 20second swap is better than a 5 minute charge. Ignoring what consumers want is always a critical mistake.

                    I have no doubt fossil fuel cars will go away, the question is do you want them to go away in 10 years, 20 years or 30 years. The sooner they go away the better it is for climate change right? If so, long term "holistic" engineering has no place here. Swappable+chargable battery designs are best imo.

  • mh8h 9 days ago

    With the current way of owning an EV, you own the battery. And because batteries degrade overtime, the health of the battery is a big component of the value of your car. Using a service like that means you'll get a random battery every time you swap.

    I guess that can change if you lease the battery separately.

    • adrr 9 days ago

      EVs will switch to LFP batteries that will have a life span of 300k miles with current technology and in 10 years will be at a million miles. Batteries will last longer than the cars.

    • jacknews 9 days ago

      Like with cooking gas cylinders?

      If you don't own it, as long it's certified good and won't blow your car up it doesn't really matter if it's well-worn, etc?

  • mabbo 9 days ago

    I think the problem is that you are thinking of things purely in terms of how gas stations and gas powered cars work. You need to step back and re-think.

    For almost all EV owners, a level 2 (240V 20amp) charger at home is all that's needed[0]. It charges slowly, but given the car sits for 12+ hours every night, it's more than enough. You get home, you plug in, you go eat dinner and go to bed. When it's time to go in the morning, you have a full charge. "Refilling" isn't a discrete event that takes place in a given place. You just plug in whenever you aren't driving.

    DC fast charging, which charges the car in an hour or less, that's a rare event. It's what you use when you're on a long trip somewhere that takes more than one charge of the battery. But most owners might do that a few times per year.

    So the problem you're trying to solve with this "swappable battery" solution is tiny. Imagine how much more the car will cost to support this complexity, and for what benefit? Saving a few hours per year? I won't pay the additional thousands of dollars for the "swappable battery" car, and I won't pay the cost of maintaining the swappable battery stations. It's just not worth it vs spending that time getting lunch.

    [0] My wife and I did the math on our own driving patterns and realized we could probably get away with a level ONE charger- literally a standard 120V extension cord - for the EV we're on a waiting list for.

    • badrabbit 9 days ago

      And you are only thinking in terms of rich home owners. I get paid verg well and I still can't afford a house. How am I going to charge at an apartment? Do you think they will spend millions converting every parking lot into a charger and maintaining it? Or would I have to stand in line at a charging station? This is one the main reasons I vehemently oppose any idea that promotes electric cars the way they are. We still don't get public transport and only you folks who are rich or inherited a house can afford basic transportation if fossil fuel cars go away anytime in the next 10-15 years.

      I uber just fine to work the few times I go in, when I need a car it is to drive long distances and it sucks waiting every few hundred miles in a queue then an hour to charge. It sucks getting stuck in the middle of nowhere because the mountain road took too much energy than what the battery meter anticipated. It sucks being late to important appointments if I forgot to charge or there is some technical issue with the charging. All of this and more can be avoided by just swapping the batteries and they are already doing this in china.

      > Imagine how much more the car will cost to support this complexity, and for what benefit? Saving a few hours per year? I won't pay the additional thousands of dollars for the "swappable battery" ...

      Ugh, NIO is already doing this in China and I'm pretty sure it's cheaper. Also, the government is literally spending hundreds of billions to subsidize electric car infrastructure so if it wasn't for the sentiment you and others have that convinced politicians we could be getting swappable batteries.

      Until then, as much as I am for climate change prevention I will fight against electric cars the way they are. Maybe when charging a car fully takes less than 5 minutes and charging stations are at least have as abundant as gas stations (regardless of how far a full charge takes you) I can support this. China and all the countries that follow them will beat us again on this as well because while we are busy debating why not they are actually getting things done.

      • mabbo 8 days ago

        > How am I going to charge at an apartment? Do you think they will spend millions converting every parking lot into a charger and maintaining it?

        I live in a condo actually. I'll tell you how: we passed laws in my province that say the condo must assist me when I decide to install a charger. Other jurisdictions are following this pattern. Also: not millions. As I said, it's relatively inexpensive to install a level 2 charger. For a 200 unit parking lot, you'd be wildly overcharged at a million dollars. And providing level 1 charging is as cheap as running extension cords from Walmart.

        And hey, don't all your arguments work just a well for when electric lighting and heating first appeared? And yet somehow, all apartments today have it.

        > Ugh, NIO is already doing this in China and I'm pretty sure it's cheaper.

        They aren't on any real scale, and it's not cheaper overall- just massively subsidized. You know what is cheap? The ubiquitous electrical system that's already everywhere.

        > Also, the government is literally spending hundreds of billions to subsidize electric car infrastructure

        Source on those numbers? And what is "electric car infrastructure"? You mean the standard electric grid that's already ubiquitous? The EV subsidies are drying up quickly. Adoption of the tech is at the inflection point that the free market is handling the problems just fine.

        You've decided how the world "ought to be" and don't care much that the rest of us have solved these problems just fine and have moved on.

    • jjav 9 days ago

      > You get home, you plug in

      Assuming a common work schedule, that would put you into plugging in at the most expensive peak tier pricing ($0.72c/kW here in PG&E land).

      When we had the EV I had a timer on the charger to only turn on at midnight when the off-peak rates kick in. If one had to leave early in the morning, the car was never fully charged.

      It worked ok most of the time as my partner could charge it up to 100% for free at work, but without that perk it was iffy.

    • theli0nheart 9 days ago

      This is a bit of a nitpick, but L2s don’t charge slowly. Ours gets us about 30 miles per hour, so we get fully charged after a normal day’s worth of driving in about 30 minutes.

      • elihu 9 days ago

        It depends on your definition of "slow" and your use case. If you were on a road trip and had to stop for an hour per 30 miles at a charging station, it'd probably seem really slow. If you're plugging in after you get home from a short commute (the most common use case), then it's perfectly fine.

        • theli0nheart 9 days ago

          For sure, but we’re talking in the context of a home charger here.

  • bombcar 9 days ago

    This could work for leased cars or fleet vehicles.

    I already don’t want to swap my propane tank for someone else’s rusted piece of crap so I have it filled. No way if want to swap my 20k battery for who knows what.

  • butwhywhyoh 9 days ago

    > I just don't get it. Governments around the world and spending trillions on this stuff so why is there no clear answer on this?

    Why would there need to be a "clear answer" on something that quite obviously wouldn't work?

    Everyone here has done a great job of explaining to you the complexity of your "simple" solution, but you don't seem to want to accept any of the explanations. You seem to think that your back-of-the-napkin calculation can just be magically turned into a major part of our transportation infrastructure.

    Cars aren't television remotes. The batteries in the cars aren't your standard AA battery. The situation is far more complicated than you're making it out to be.

    • badrabbit 9 days ago

      Give me a break, what I have seen is someone showed me this is already being done in China. So anything you say is an excuse that is dangerously preventing climate change prevention efforts. I literally saw a video of NIO doing this and arguments like yours "cars aren't television remotes" "it's too hard" are bullshit. The interstate freeway project was hard yet it was done with trillions of dollars spent because it had to. Since china is doing it the only thing hard is that it costs more but our tax dollars are set aside to subsidize this shit but home owning rich people can make electric cars work for them with chargers so everyone better find extra time and houses fast else you're shit out of luck.

      Governments can force car companies to use stanrdized connections, every car has plenty of government regulated things like this.

      I said ELI5 so you can explain to me why my back of napkin calculation does not work when seemingly endless subsidies and cost that is passed down to consumers are in the works. NIO is already doing this without a $300B subsidy...oh and get this: selling batteries is more profitable for companies! One car is one battery but when battery stations also buy batteries that is more profit. Tesla literally sells batteries to power grids because of profit.

      "Who will spend tens of billions to do this" is the question and we have an answer now, but you don't seem to gey that it will be largely wasted because people will not buy electric cars if they have to wait in line every day to get a charge or filling up the charge can cause them to be late to places. An inconvenient solution is a dead solution, in a free market consumer satisfaction comes first.

lelag 9 days ago

It's not just about the rate. Charging at night happens because the car is conveniently parked at home doing nothing and EV owners want a car ready to go in the morning. Charging at EV station during the day is time consuming and is often expensive. I'm sure that the lucky few that can charge at work already do so...

  • floatrock 9 days ago

    It's almost as if the logical conclusion is to invest in convenient workplace charging infrastructure so charging is simple when the car is conveniently parked at work doing nothing and the owner wants a car ready to go home in the evening...

    > “We encourage policymakers to consider utility rates that encourage day charging and incentivize investment in charging infrastructure to shift drivers from home to work for charging,” said the study’s co-senior author, Ram Rajagopal

    • greedo 9 days ago

      The logical conclusion is to try to get away from needing to drive to work at all.

      • neon_electro 9 days ago

        Right? Then it becomes trivial to charge at home, during the day (if that really does make an impact).

        • r00fus 9 days ago

          Or simply not have a car (or reduce cars in the household). That'd make an even bigger difference in energy usage an GHG emissions.

  • m463 9 days ago

    Most EVs charging at home are plugged in from say 6pm to 7am. It would be most convenient to charge immediately but the electric rates (in california at least) are highest at 6pm and lowest at 7am.

    There is choice in that equation.

sempron64 9 days ago

The article predicts that even with the proposed changes, 4.2 GW of storage or other generation capacity will be necessary, as opposed to 5.2 GW without the changes. I'd advocate getting on the power supply or storage solution immediately rather than trying to change consumer habits by e.g. funding or legislating power station installations in workplaces (a nice convenience, but not one that will solve this problem).

Tesla has already built a very large power storage station in Australia https://www.pv-magazine.com/2022/07/27/tesla-big-battery-beg...

Obviously the notion of building >5GW of generation capacity on fossil fuels or nuclear in under 10 years seems wild. So it's probably going to have to be solar + storage.

rr888 9 days ago

We really need a way for power hungry smart devices to charge by spot pricing. By default your car charges when rate is low eg windy nights and sunny lunch times and not a heatwave. Having Night and Day rates is too simplistic.

exabrial 9 days ago

I know this is against the grain, but I do think clean hydrogen is the future fuel.

I know hydrogen is less efficient than Battery-Electric, but it's not about efficiency, it's about convenience.

One can transfer millions of joules at the petro pump in a few minutes without having to actually "handle" said joules.... but to transfer hundreds of joules with a battery-electric vehicle, one currently must actually "conduct" or directly "handle" all of the power that will eventually be used to propel the vehicle. Gasoline in a sense, "compresses" the energy for transfer...

That being said, Battery-Electric is a "here and now" technology. Perfection is the enemy of progress, so I'll gladly take a 1000HP Battery Electric GMC Hummer thank you.

  • Schroedingersat 9 days ago

    Hydrogen has a number of hard to solve problems. But there are other fuels that are both burnable or usable in fuel cells.

    But all these improvements will mean nothing if we increase consumption enough to offset any efficiency increases.

kwhitefoot 9 days ago

Sounds like the problem is simply that the US doesn't seem to have real time pricing of electricity.

In Norway we pay what the market determines is the current price. Most people don't have flat rate charges. I can see the spot price in real time in an app.

Why isn't that good enough?

  • FullyFunctional 9 days ago

    "The US" doesn't have a single system, not even within each state. Anecdotally, I have Time-of-Use billing with my PG&E electricity, but AFAICT, I was only allowed get that because I have BEVs.

    I think the "problem" is that someone needed to publish. This is a complete non-issue and utilities will shift the load as needed by adjusting the billing. Also, the notion that everyone going "in to work" is some antiquated pre-covid thinking.

  • faxmeyourcode 9 days ago

    >Residents with variable-rate power plans are being hit the hardest. Such plans charge different prices for electricity depending on how much demand there is. The more demand, the higher the price.

    This is a thing for some power companies in Texas, but during peak times or in a crisis like TX experienced in winter of 2021, the prices skyrocketed because demand was out of control trying to keep warm. People ended up with a $5k electric bill trying to keep a modest single family home "warm" (in the article they mentioned they kept lights off and thermostat set at 60F/15C, not very warm).

    https://www.npr.org/sections/live-updates-winter-storms-2021...

    • FullyFunctional 9 days ago

      This is all true, but I think the Texas issue is an outlier. Many things went wrong and all of them were preventable issues caused by mind-boggling terrible governance. Somehow these people are still in power.

  • jjav 9 days ago

    > the US doesn't seem to have real time pricing of electricity

    "The US" is a big place. Depends which city/county you're in and who is providing the electric service.

    > I can see the spot price in real time in an app.

    That sounds like a nightmare. Does it really change hourly? How can you program your systems to use the most efficient rate if you have no idea in advance what it is?

    Here in PG&E California we have time of use tiers, but they are known. So I can for example let the EV start charging only at midnight when the cheapest tier kicks in. But I know it is cheap midnight to 3pm, brutally expensive 3pm to 9pm and fairly expensive 9pm to midnight.

    • kwhitefoot 9 days ago

      It changes continuously but there are clear diurnal patterns.

guywithahat 9 days ago

This is a very California problem caused by very California policies

  • kadoban 9 days ago

    It's not a problem, it's an opportunity to optimize energy use to match how it's now generated.

    • guywithahat 9 days ago

      Shouldn't it be an opportunity to match energy generation to how it's consumed? No industry survives long by offering a worse product to consumers than what they had before

      • kadoban 9 days ago

        If consumption has a good reason to be as it is maybe. The whole reason we have lower night rates and such was due to how it was generated in the past though. Why would we continue that if it no longer makes sense?

        It's something that should be looked at on the whole and tradeoffs considered.

      • kadoban 9 days ago

        > No industry survives long by offering a worse product to consumers than what they had before

        That's ... optimistic, but not really true.

        It also doesn't seem to match what's happening here either. How is power generation when demand is highest a worse product?

        • myko 9 days ago

          I assumed the comment meant EVs were worse than ICE vehicles (not an opinion I hold)

      • upsidesinclude 9 days ago

        Unfortunately for them it isn't a product they can control with the legislation they are choosing.

        There will be significant problems with CA power infrastructure in the near future.

CameronNemo 9 days ago

This will happen when/if TOU rates change, which will happen when/if solar gets built way out... There is a lot of inertia in the grid. No need to rush things and mess with incentives without good reason.

Being receptive to and prepared for employers who want to offer EV charging is a good idea, but it is definitely early days. No need to panic and implement a bad solution.

timwaagh 9 days ago

The market would come to the same conclusion in time but only if they are right. The conclusion about the need for incentives is therefore wrong. It will just encourage rent seeking and destroy efficiency. It's important for the government to support optimal price finding instead by removing possible oddities in how energy prices are created.

calrain 9 days ago

My understanding was that it helps countries with nuclear powered base electrical load to use that power at night, when there isn't a lot of demand.

With further development, a key side benefit is that the grid can then tap into about 5% of your cars battery storage during the day when demand is higher (if you allow it).

  • elzbardico 9 days ago

    The same issue applies to almost every country's baseload generation infrastructure, with a small exception of hydro (that has some small degree of dispatchability), it is not exclusive to nuclear power generation. Traditional thermo-electric plants also can't ramp up and down their power levels instantaneously.

adrianN 9 days ago

So plugging in the car whenever it's parked and letting the grid decide when to charge it is the way to go?

  • thehappypm 9 days ago

    I would love to have a charger that just has a knob on it. Charge fast on one side, charge cheap on the other.

    • adrianN 9 days ago

      I would be okay with a "give me at least x range by tomorrow" button, so that the car can also feed back to the grid if I happen to have more in the tank than I need.

  • toomuchtodo 9 days ago

    Works for thermostats shedding AC loads on hot days for consumers who have opted in.

elzbardico 9 days ago

Of course, it is far more efficient system-wide to charge electric cars around noon, where photovoltaic energy produces a surplus of energy with zero marginal economic value.

It is an elegant way of solving at least part of the storage problem and the mismatch between peak power and demand times.

m0RRSIYB0Zq8MgL 9 days ago

> Current time-of-use rates encourage consumers to switch electricity use to nighttime whenever possible, like running the dishwasher and charging EVs. This rate structure reflects the time before significant solar and wind power supplies when demand threatened to exceed supply during the day, especially late afternoons in the summer.

So, if you have a grid that doesn't heavily rely on solar then charging at night makes sense.

> Today, California has excess electricity during late mornings and early afternoons, thanks mainly to its solar capacity. If most EVs were to charge during these times, then the cheap power would be used instead of wasted.

How are people going to charge their cars during commutes?

  • floatrock 9 days ago

    > > Today, California has excess electricity during late mornings and early afternoons, thanks mainly to its solar capacity. If most EVs were to charge during these times, then the cheap power would be used instead of wasted.

    > How are people going to charge their cars during commutes?

    Come on, you're saying most commutes are "late morning and early afternoon"? I too would like a job where my commute in is at 11 and my commute home is at 2.

    Rather than spreading EV FUD, can we instead discuss what the article is actually talking about, like installing charging infrastructure in daytime parking lots so we can take better advantage of the cheap, plentiful, and often curtailed solar energy?

    • jonahhorowitz 9 days ago

      We should install solar panels over those lots at the same time. It covers some of the capacity need, cools the lot and the cars, and is an efficient use of space.

      • yjftsjthsd-h 9 days ago

        It would also conveniently reduce transmission loss, and if you did it right you could probably skip the inverter overhead by going all DC.

    • m0RRSIYB0Zq8MgL 9 days ago

      My post wasn't not about criticizing EVs. My post was about criticizing the energy grid. I think "slow" charging over night is the best way to use EVs and an energy grid that cannot accommodate that (because of a predominance of PV) should be criticized.

      • CameronNemo 9 days ago

        Is a level 2 charger not slow enough? Running that for 2-4 hours should be enough for normal commutes I imagine.

  • tantalor 9 days ago

    From the article:

    > drivers should move to daytime charging at work

  • elzbardico 9 days ago

    Late morning and early afternoon. So, basically, people would charge their cars where they park them during the day while they work, not at home while they sleep.

    Seems very doable to me.

  • upsidesinclude 9 days ago

    I appreciate that you acknowledge Californians show up late and leave early

  • mikepurvis 9 days ago

    Most people wouldn't be commuting then, but this could be an argument for employers to supply infrastructure to facilitate charging during the day while at work.

colechristensen 9 days ago

> may need to rethink electricity pricing structures as their EV charging needs increase

Duh.

With the ramp up of solar production and the increase of EV demand, there will certainly need to be pricing changes, or simply more people will need to pay more dynamic rates. This will easily shift behaviors, really simple economics at work here.

“At night” is a bad title. People need to not charge their EV right when they get home in the evening which is near peak energy usage, there needs to either be a delay circuit to actually charge at night during the usage minimum (which will actually lower costs and make things more efficient) or during the ever increasing daily solar maximum which is somewhat earlier than the daily usage maximum.

We don’t need rules or morality here, just pricing that motivates people to match their behavior to demand.

Really though charging at home should be fine as long as there’s a “wait until 10pm to save $2” button, or whatever.

It really would be better because raising grid utilization during idle times really helps efficiency.

Some California live power production and usage data:

https://www.caiso.com/todaysoutlook/Pages/supply.html

TL;DR plug in your car when you go to bed, not when you get home from work.

notjustanymike 9 days ago

Turns out the sun is out during the day.

  • sambeau 9 days ago

    And in cold climates there is a greater need for heating at night.

insane_dreamer 9 days ago

If utilities change their time-of-use time slots (when electricity is cheaper to consumers) and EV owners will quickly change their charging habits (and companies will be incentivized to provide them with on-premise charging stations available at those hours and with cheaper rates).

syntaxing 9 days ago

What’s the alternative? Not like you can charge your EV at home when you’re working when…you’re at work

  • kadoban 9 days ago

    Charge at work.

    • greedo 9 days ago

      Our main campus has parking for roughly 450 cars. We just added EV charging; two entire parking slots. There's no way our company would outfit every spot with charging in any reasonable future. We already have roughly 35 EVs on the lot.

      • pornel 9 days ago

        When a car is parked for 8 hours, even the slowest 3kW charger will charge 70-90 miles of range.

        Low-power AC "chargers" are dumb devices, basically just wire. They don't require active cooling, and all of the expensive hardware is in the car. They could be installed on every single parking spot.

        • greedo 9 days ago

          Our lot isn't closed, and it's adjacent to a mall. So the only way we'd electrify each spot is with pay outlets (which is what the current 2 are). Otherwise we'd have people leeching off of the company.

          • pornel 9 days ago

            You're overthinking this. The solution can be as trivial as putting a padlock on the power outlet. More practically, there are dispensers that read RFID cards, so employee badges can be used to grant access. It can be a raspberry-pi level tech, not a full-blown payment terminal.

            • jjav 9 days ago

              This is a well-solved problem. My previous employer had all the chargers on the chargepoint network but only available to accounts which verified as employees.

            • kadoban 9 days ago

              You could even just throw up a sign and once in a while tow people who cheat. Not like it's really going to cost a ton anyway.

    • ctrlmeta 9 days ago

      But how many work areas have a charging station available easily?

      • floatrock 9 days ago

        Literally the point of the study

        > “We encourage policymakers to consider utility rates that encourage day charging and incentivize investment in charging infrastructure to shift drivers from home to work for charging,” said the study’s co-senior author, Ram Rajagopal

      • _ph_ 9 days ago

        The term "charging station" is hinting at a too big infrastructure. All you need is a power outlet per car. If the car parks for 8 to 9 hours, you don't need a huge amount of power to recharge it.

        • toast0 9 days ago

          You need more than just a power outlet per car, with regular 120vac, you pretty much need a breaker and circuit per car, because you shouldn't put two of those on a single circuit, since they'll usually pull up to the 15A rating of the plug, and code restricts you from using more than 20A breaker on a circuit with 15A plugs, so you'll pop the breaker if you've got two 15A loads and they don't communicate to share. It probably makes more sense to get a two or maybe four car charging station per breaker and circuit, and set it for the appropriate amps on the circuit, it can share that appropriately amongst the cars plugged in.

          • sidewndr46 9 days ago

            I works out to about 12.5 amps for a normal 15 amp plug. You can't draw the full rated current continuously.

            With an MWBC circuit you can however supply two different 15 amp plugs with a single cable 14/3 cable fed off a 15 amp duplex breaker. So it slightly reduces the amount of copper you need to run.

      • kadoban 9 days ago

        Not as many as should. The state can probably incentivize creating some more, and job seekers can prioritize it as well. Not to mention workers just asking their employers to do it.

  • bregma 9 days ago

    Work from home.

DropPanda 9 days ago

This is very interesting and perfectly logical. I wrote a fairly recent report looking at a very similar question, and reached the opposite conclusion: night time charging is far better for the grid. That study however focuses on Sweden, where solar power only marginally impacts day-time supply.

Link to the study: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn%3Anbn%3Ase%3Ari%3Adiva-5752...

If the western US has a surplus in mornings and afternoons, you guys really should invest in dynamic charging using electrified roads (commonly referred to as wireless inductive charging in California, but there are conductive solutions as well).

  • Gasp0de 9 days ago

    Inductive charging seems like a horrible solution as it must surely be extremely inefficient? Also, if dynamic charging refers to charging while in motion, why would that be a good solution? It seems way more complicated and inefficient than charging while stationary, and personally owned cars are stationary more than 90% of the time.

    • DropPanda 9 days ago

      Surprisingly, transmission efficiency (grid to motor) does not appear to be lower with inductive methods than conductive. Numbers above 90% should be expected. A bit lower for the dynamic (in-motion) solutions, but not so much that it’s a deal breaker. There seem to be much larger savings/costs elsewhere in the system that make transmission efficiency of less importance.

      Cars that are stationary most of the time are a pretty good reason to put charging infrastructure on the only land they actually share - the roads.

      • Gasp0de 9 days ago

        This source (https://batteryuniversity.com/article/bu-412-charging-withou....) says efficiency is only 75-80% when charging inductively. Do you have any better sources for those 90%?

        • Kirby64 9 days ago

          Remember, when you charge your cell phone, you charge at ~15W (or less), so 80% efficiency is something like 3W of power loss. You can dissipate that pretty easily.

          For a car charging, you're charging closer to 7-11kW. Dissipating 2.2kW (20% of 11kW) as heat is basically impossible. The inductive charging they're using for cars (which, are basically mostly prototypes at this point) are different and use much more closely coupled coils... so they can get better efficiency. Whether it works in practice, I don't know, but that's what companies are claiming who come out with these solutions.

          • Scoundreller 9 days ago

            I worry that my phone’s battery gets hotter while charging so it’s getting double damage when it comes to lifespan. Maybe we should add a fan to inductive phone chargers…

            (Doesn’t help that 99% of people run a case on their phones, and I doubt the manufacturer’s inductive charging efficiency tests account for that)

  • philsnow 9 days ago

    > you guys really should invest in dynamic charging using electrified roads

    The state of our roads is already atrocious. Electrifying them would make them worse (installing any significant amount of road would take away from repairing the existing issues), and also dangerous.

slowmovintarget 9 days ago

The study presupposes everyone is going to drive in to the office every day. I haven't worked in an office since Mar of 2020. If I can help it, I'm going to stay remote. I'll need to charge my car at home, should I get an EV.

saisundar 9 days ago

Also worth noting That ev platforms are now essentially closely engineering the power train and the battery systems to work and extract maximum juice ( similar to Apples battery/cpu control on the iPhone).

When the above is executed well, you get performance and range that are moats to car manufacturers, which reduces the incentive to partake in such efforts as well. ( Tesla, and of course the recent EGMP platform is an example of this. The latter powers 3 best selling cars in the US this year).

nmstoker 9 days ago

Did anyone get the sense the article was dancing around the main point with vague language? They left it ambiguous about whether they meant effectively all charging should switch to the day or a portion should switch (to give some kind of optimal balance).

I haven't looked at the model but it seems really odd to think that there shouldn't still be some night charging, to soak up the fixed capacity that's there to cover variations in solar/wind.

aidenn0 9 days ago

Considering that less than half of all cars in California are parked in a garage overnight, charging at home has a ceiling on it anyways.

CalChris 9 days ago

This all depends on the local energy mix at night. If the local mix has a lot of nuclear or hydro then charging at night is a good idea. If instead it has a lot of gas or coal then it is a bad idea. It depends on whether there is cleanish energy available at night. There is no single answer.

  • CaliforniaKarl 9 days ago

    > … they applied their model to the whole of the Western United States and examined the stress the region’s electric grid will come under by 2035 from growing EV ownership.

    You're right, there is no single answer. This paper doesn't try to provide a single answer.

Traubenfuchs 9 days ago

Did anyone do the math for when gasoline car sales will be banned?

How many more power plants to we need? How much more Lithium do we need?

I don‘t want to be a luddite, but the ev revolution seems to be unfeasible.

  • sidewndr46 9 days ago

    As long as the internal combustion engine is banned the EV revolution is entirely feasible. No one said everyone would be able to afford to drive an EV. Just that people would stop driving internal combustion engine vehicles.

    • Test0129 9 days ago

      No one has answered how people intend to do things that require transportable fuel. I can't buy a Tesla (or whatever) and hot-swap batteries. If I travel 200 miles to go camping and the nearest charging station is 150 miles away I am hosed. No electric vehicle to date (nor planned for release) has the towing capacity needed to haul a week or two of gear, solar panels, deep cycle batteries, alternators, etc needed to set up a system. Even if you could, the risk of starting a forest fire due to reflections and/or sudden spontaneous battery deconstruction is non-negligible. The torque of an electric truck makes it attractive as an off road vehicle, however it's entirely infeasible in practice.

      So the government rules by fiat that ICE vehicles are to be banned. I guess someone better tell people that they won't be able to travel as far, or for as long, until the 22nd century when battery technology catches up and you can charge it with a single lightweight panel where ever you are. The energy density of a can of gasoline is so much higher than a towable array of solar panels the EV solution may as well be horse and buggy. It will be decades before remote gas stations in the middle of no where have a charging station available.

      The government can "ban" things all they want. If the alternative isn't acceptable to people who don't want to live a life of being a metropolitan worker drone who owns nothing they will find a way.

mise_en_place 9 days ago

I would love to charge in public while doing errands but every supercharger station is always occupied. I am forced to charge at home for this reason.

more_corn 9 days ago

What? Peak electrical consumption is during the day. The big challenge for electric companies is the swing between the night trough in demand and the day peak. Night charging is excellent because it flattens that curve. Bringing demand into a straighter line and allowing electric companies to generate at a steady rate without having to cycle production up and down.

I glanced though the article and found no mention of that.

You can’t write a piece like this and begin anywhere else.

This article gets an F- for effective communication and persuasion.

  • e63f67dd-065b 9 days ago

    The article (and paper) is saying that in solar-dominated generation regions, peak electrical production is during the day when the sun is out, and the trend seems like it's not stopping. I haven't actually read the full paper, but to quote the abstract:

    > We study charging control and infrastructure build-out as critical factors shaping charging load and evaluate grid impact under rapid electric vehicle adoption with a detailed economic dispatch model of 2035 generation. We find that peak net electricity demand increases by up to 25% with forecast adoption and by 50% in a stress test with full electrification.

    The paper is at https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-022-01105-7, I only briefly skimmed through it but it seems plausible.

    The assumption that a flat electrical load is desirable is less and less true as renewables go on the grid; of course, if we just took the (imo sensible) step to go all-nuclear, hydro, and geothermal for baseline load, then diurnal electrical consumption would not be desirable, but with the solar that might not be the case.

  • aidenn0 9 days ago

    I have TOU based electric plan in CA, and the summer times are about to shift to peak starting at 4pm (from 10am). This huge shift is because of excess capacity from installed solar. 4pm is early enough that there's lots of use, but late enough that solar is tapering off.

musicale 9 days ago

Didn't we just get a Flex Alert in California telling us to not use power between 4 and 6pm?

ttGpN5Nde3pK 9 days ago

Crazy concept: instead of banning cars, forcing electric cars, mandating specific efficiency, etc... we _could_ work towards a world less dependent on personally owned vehicles. And yet, huge companies will continue to just get a pass for forcing people to commute to jobs to sit on a computer all day.

wongarsu 9 days ago

Skimming the article it seems the crux of the matter is that with home charging people charge either a) when they come home b) with a timer, at 9pm, or c) with a timer, at 12am (with b and c driven by fixed changes in electricity prices). Electricity demand for everything else is highest at about 7pm, so both a and b charge at times where there isn't a lot of unused grid capacity. And to make things worse, at all three times you don't get a lot of solar power.

I wonder why the recommendation is to go to daytime charging, instead of timers staggered around 4am (when grid utilization is lowest). Sure, no solar, but potentially lots of unused wind, and lots of spare capacity on the power lines that already exist.

pfdietz 9 days ago

Obviously people need to work at night.

JMiao 9 days ago

op, how did you get that vanilla formatted view of new.stanford.edu?

jondwillis 9 days ago

algorithmic charging / evolving peak demand… eh.

kkfx 8 days ago

The original Green New Deal design have chosen BEVs not at "electric cars" but as connected batteries reasoning of usage like "you arrive at home and plug the car", "you depart from home, go to work and plug the car" etc so most of the time the battery is connected with an AC inverter to the grid, so something who can suck or push power looking at current grid frequency.

That ideas is (was?) the solution to keep a large grid powered with massive renewables who make grid loads vary much in very little time, something NO fossil/nuclear power plant can cope, so something that provoke continuous blackouts because when the Sun rise suddenly the "classic" power plant load fall and they can't reduce power quickly enough so the frequency skyrocket and they disconnect. Similarly when clouds pass or Sun goes down the inverse (a sudden peak) provoke a quick drop in frequency with equal effects, instead of power plants entire part of distribution network disconnect suddenly to reduce the load and the the frequency. Batteries are quick enough to cope. So the idea was: when the Sun goes up the sudden drop in load will be absorbed by cars who start charging full power than slowly reduce to give times to classic PP lower their production, when the Sun goes down they discharge to the grid for a little while with the similar target. Since batteries do not last longer and cost a fortune EVs are a way to shift the costs to the users.

If you have p.v. at home you have to face big capex BUT you can lower opex lowering high electricity price using your p.v. and car, or so to speak if you help the transition you get paid back. If you can't you simply suffer higher tariff getting equally more poor from another way. The wealthy became poor due to high investments, the less wealthy due to the sky high cost of living. And you know the classic WEF/2030 https://youtu.be/Hx3DhoLFO4s vision.

Casually people are a bit dumb en-masse, as Gustave Le Bon and Eduard Bernays wrote in their masterpieces, but not that dumb so while p.v. is actually a bit spread because anyway lower enough the electricity cost to pay back EVs/domestic batteries are not because simply they do not pay back despite the claim. And that's why we have blackouts and sky-high energy costs plus menace of scarcity of diesel and gasoline to makes EVs convenient "enough".

Charging at night is the logical choice FOR MOST, since normally we are active in the day and sleeping at night, but doing so means charging from the grid wanting a certain SOC in the morning. Green New Deal theorist have imagined remote workers who do not use their cars all days and workers how drive to the work and there charge the car in large parks with p.v. roofs. That's of course happen, but for a small cohort of people, while MOST EV owners so far are from dense cities where such model simply do not work because they have common garages, without p.v. or without enough p.v. both "at home" and "at work".

So far those theorist have found no solution: they can try push blackouts a bit more than natural to push people buying EVs as home batteries BUT due to EVs prices most people will not buy them anyway so the shift to renewables will not happen. They can't lower EV prices, most of the supply chain is in foreign hands and anyway there are way to expensive to manufacture to lower the price much. Not only, since they do not state clearly such cars-as-a-grid-balancers perhaps to avoid being accused of shifting costs to the people most EVs are NOT made to be used as home batteries. Something start happening BUT at very limited and slow rate. Some inverter-chargers charge on DC and so can offer "standard power" to the home, but most do not offer micro-grid islandic setups so they can't work in case of an outage, some V2L do exists with in-car inverters, but for very limited power (like 2kW while potentially the car can deliver 50+kW) etc.

That's the issue when managers are in charge: they dream something and run with the idea of fixing and detailing anything on the go, that the reality hit.

ctrlmeta 9 days ago

> We’re doing it wrong, according to a new Stanford study.

This requires further clarification. What is it that we want to optimize? How do we know we want to optimize that?

olivermarks 9 days ago

Fire risks are also much greater at night if you are charging a BEV in your house while asleep. Far safer to charge in an open area preferably away from other vehicles and stuctures.

https://www.ntsb.gov/news/press-releases/Pages/NR20210113.as...

  • wing-_-nuts 9 days ago

    Frankly, if a user cannot trust their EV to charge without going up in flames it is not ready for prime time and should be recalled. Period.

    • ctrlmeta 9 days ago

      Yes! It surprises me that the reliability issues in charging an EV are not discussed more. This bears more discussion and subject to regulations. It is not ok for companies to push EVs to general consumers without creating a good safety record.

      • adrianN 9 days ago

        How many EVs spontaneously combust while charging?

        • rcMgD2BwE72F 9 days ago

          Less than ICE anyway. Who wants to talk about gas cars burning? It's so frequent journalists won't report them. But Teslas? Oh, my.

      • wing-_-nuts 9 days ago

        I think we already have enough regulations to hold companies liable for creating a dangerous product, we simply need to use them to hold corporations accountable.

        None of this 'oh, our owners manual says you should only charge in these special conditions or we can't be held responsible'. Nope. You make a product and it hurts people or destroys property? You better make your peace with punitive damages that'll make you wish you properly tested before shipping to customers.

  • vel0city 9 days ago

    I've had several recalls for spontaneous combustion of my ICE cars suggesting I don't park in the garage. At least one car had multiple fire risk recalls for starting fire while parked.

    I guess ICE cars should never be parked in a garage.

  • dymk 9 days ago

    The press release you linked to is about cars catching fire after they crash.

    Can you give a source for how many cars catch fire spontaneously when they're stationary and charging?

    • olivermarks 6 days ago

      I don't have a source of data but this article might be useful if you've watched the NTSB video and other material

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/08/04/tesla-f...

      'Battery-powered vehicles have not been shown to catch fire at rates higher than gasoline cars, but when fires do erupt, they burn longer and hotter, propelled by lithium-ion batteries that supercharge the blazes, experts say.'

3pt14159 9 days ago

This is simple.

Musk just needs to throw 1% of his AI talent at optimizing charging times via realtime grid negotiating and nobody will need to even think about this. Cars will turn into one of our most valuable assets as they help stabalize the grid by being both sinks when energy is plentiful and sources when it's not.

There are certain problems we all need to think about, but this is not one of them. It will effectively solve itself because all the incentives are aligned.

  • alexb_ 9 days ago

    If there's excess demand at night, you increase the price at night. If there's excess supply in the morning/afternoon, you lower the price. It's not complicated, and the problem fixes itself. You don't need AI to simulate what groups of people making rational, independent decisions do themselves. That's how you get cars that won't charge because "AI says so", similar to how all of these dogshit smart thermostats can be completely shut off from heating if "AI says so".

    • gpm 9 days ago

      The car needs to charge for 4 hours overnight (say, before 7am). It's currently 9pm and the price is currently 7c/kwh, should it charge or not?

      That question is obviously underspecified, you can only answer it by knowing whether or not the price will be below 7c/kwh for 4 of the remaining hours in the night. You answer the question with a predictive model of the price, and you build that predictive model with "AI" because that's how we build all our best predicitve models.

      AI doesn't get to say "you can't charge", you get to say "and I'll delegate the question of which 4 hours to charge during to the AI".

      > similar to how all of these dogshit smart thermostats can be completely shut off from heating if "AI says so".

      I assume you're referring to the instance where texas power companies remotely increased the temperature on peoples thermostats? That's not AI, or even remotely related to AI, that's humans controlling other peoples stuff without permission. That risk exists whether or not you use machine learning models to predict electricity prices.

      https://www.khou.com/article/news/local/texas/remote-thermos...

    • 3pt14159 9 days ago

      You don't get what I'm saying. I'm saying market dynamics (ie, setting the price lower when the grid needs less power) plus the inevitable AI that will game it to everyones advantage will solve this problem automatically.

      There is no reason to worry about this. This is trivial AI.

  • ZeroGravitas 9 days ago

    Tesla calls this "Virtual Power Plant" and there's a talk by a couple of the software devs online somewhere.

    Found it: https://youtu.be/ggdYts4muu0

    Some other people have mentioned that you just need to vary the price, but the price is set by bids from providers. Code that can learn demand patterns and integrate weather forecasts will let Tesla bid lower and so earn more money in the market while also lowering energy costs for everyone.

  • 0xbadcafebee 9 days ago

    Musk does not control power utilities, nor what they charge, nor what power they have access to at a given time, nor the load of the rest of the grid outside of Telsa vehicles.

    > Cars will turn into one of our most valuable assets as they help stabalize the grid by being both sinks when energy is plentiful and sources when it's not.

    In fantasy land, sure. In reality there are a lot more players with a lot more variables and most of them don't give a shit about some grand unified solution through cars. Just because in theory there is one great universal solution to one problem (demand for power) doesn't mean everyone is going to work together to achieve it. We have more than enough agricultural land around the world to feed the entire planet every day, yet millions of people go hungry every day. Just because a solution is possible doesn't mean it happens.

    By the way: if we had fewer cars, we wouldn't have this huge demand for additional power. The simpler solution is to replace cars with public transit and micromobility. Then we would pollute less to make the cars, require fewer chips and rare earth metals, require less power generation and distribution, require fewer people to sink huge amounts of money into car ownership, free up cities for more pedestrian and bike traffic, provide easier access to jobs and education for poor rural areas, and have 30,000 fewer fatalies in the US every year.

    But instead let's just buy more cars and build more nuke plants to power them and expand the grid because I want my own zoom-zoom machine!

  • goethes_kind 9 days ago

    Yeah, except now each parking spot at work needs its own power outlet.

    • function_seven 9 days ago

      That would be the best part. Cover all that parking with solar panels, use those panels to partially or completely offset the charging demands of the cars parked under them. An average parking space has enough room for (napkin math...) 6kW of solar output. That's more than enough to offset a level 2 charger while the driver of that car is in the office.

      And it leaves the car cooler at the end of the say.

      Costs a bit upfront, sure. But I think we'll continue to see these costs come down, and the incentive to build out parking lot solar arrays will increase as the grid has to adapt to the demands we're placing on it.

      • drdec 9 days ago

        >Cover all that parking with solar panels

        This would help in many cases, but parking garages are a thing, even in my relatively small city. We would need a solution for them as well.

        • kadoban 9 days ago

          Putting solar on the roof (adding a roof if necessary) should help a lot. You'd run into issues where it won't scale with garage height of course, but most garages aren't that tall anyway (at least in my area).

    • chipsa 9 days ago

      Future is SAE J2954 (aka Witricity): you have a wireless charging pad under each parking spot. No screwing with power plugs, just park and go. This isn't ideal for fast charging, but for the slower charging you'd get from being somewhere for 6-8 hours, it's perfectly fine. You still need to run power to every parking spot, but now it's embedded in the ground, and you don't have to worry about someone just coming around with cable cutters and stealing it.

      • adgjlsfhk1 9 days ago

        Losing 30-70% of the power and adding a bunch of cost doesn't seem like the way forward. Cables exist for a reason. They are the best way to move charge.

        • chipsa 9 days ago

          They claim it's 10% total loss, not 30%. And yes, it's got a cost, but depending on how things shake out, it might not be much more if any. Cables are the best way to move charge, assuming you don't have to worry about the cables. But once you factor in damage from vandalism or theft or just accidents, how hefty the cables actually are, etc, compared to having the cable buried nice and safe.

          As for the difference in power loss between qi and this? Part of it is scale : they can fit a much larger diameter pad compared to a phone, which gets them much better coupling. You're essentially talking about an air core transformer, and there's plenty of transformers in the grid.

          • adgjlsfhk1 9 days ago

            I'll believe 10% when I see it. you can definitely get that in a lab, but once you bury it under asphalt, and the driver parks 6 inches off center, does the efficiency still hold up? also, most cars are largely metal. how much energy do you lose from inducing current through the rest of the car?

        • ZeroGravitas 9 days ago

          These can actually be cheaper than the alternative to install, and get greater use (assuming the standard gets widely implemented). Definately going to be a thing. Loading/waiting areas for taxis and delivery vehicles seem like an early adopter market.

          • adgjlsfhk1 9 days ago

            A wireless charger is cheaper than a power outlet?

            • ZeroGravitas 9 days ago

              Cheaper than an equivalent EV charger. Safety requires an isolating transformer in the charger, which adds costs and an efficiency loss. The wireless charger is the isolating transformer in their case, leading to surprisingly high efficiency and low costs in comparison.

              • adgjlsfhk1 8 days ago

                have you ever looked at a level 2 charger? it's literally just a beefy extension cord.

                • ZeroGravitas 8 days ago

                  The pitch isn't a 1 for 1 replacement, it's that the Witricity system (which is like a level 2.5) provides via convenience the extra charging that would otherwise require the speed and power of a level 3 charger. You're trading off speed of charge for time fiddling with the system.

                  This trade-off may not work for someone with one car they plug in when they get home and unplug in the morning, just like they don't need a level 3 charger anyway, but might for an airport taxi firm, where they can charge their fleet while boarding passengers, or a loading bay for EV delivery vans.

                  If that demand is enough to make it a standard item on the car side, then it'll likely displace plug in charging in a lot of places where both are possible for silly reasons like "nothing for drivers to crash into", feeling more "luxurious", "cheaper install" and so on.

  • sambeau 9 days ago

    This is not simple. The batteries in cars can be used to help load-balance but they cannot offer grid-scale storage.

    The following is back-of-napkin figures but there are close enough to make the point.

    Take a country the size of the UK. It currently uses 1600 TWh a year. Once fully-electric it should need around 1100 TWh a year, so 3 TWh a day.

    The UK, despite being a windy place, still has weeks without wind once or twice a year. We had a week without wind power in the middle of August this year and had to generate 60% of our power using gas. A windless week with a frost snap is something you often see in January and February. A cold week, with everyone using electric heating (when solar power does basically nothing) is why the UK might need TWh of stored energy to be secure without fossil fuels.

    7 days at 3 TWh is 20 TWh.

    A big home Tesla Powerwall can store 14kWh and if run at full power it will be empty in 4 hrs. You'd need over a billion to store 20TWh.

    In the UK an average home currently uses around 10kW of electricity a day, but also has a car, a cooker and central heating, all using fossil fuels. Add those in and were looking at 40-50kWh: 20kWh for the heating, 10kWh for the cooking and another 10kWh for the cars.

    There are savings to be made of course, the electric versions of all of those items are way more efficient. There's insulation; there's heat pumps; there's electric cars.

    The average UK car sits idle for 23 hours of the day. An average-ish car is around 100kW. Even if that hour is slow and often stationary, it's not unreasonable to expect it to be another 10kWh. And the average UK home has more than one car.

    A mid-range electric car has a 50kWh battery, so has a bit more beef than a Tesla Powerwall battery. If they are being used for 1 hour a day they are probably going to need a top-up of around, say, 10kW. So let's say they have 40 kWh to spare.

    20 TWh / 40 kWh = 500 million cars.

    There are only 33 million cars in the UK.

    You can, of course, quibble with these figures. There's subtleties everywhere here, but the orders of magnitude are plain. We need to be able to store renewable energy—desperately, and in enormous amounts. Car batteries will help—no doubt—but more in load-balancing and smoothing rather than long-term storage. We need something like grid-scale hydrogen storage to solve this.

    See here for 1100 TWh figure. This document has loads of other really interesting details too:

    https://www.nationalgrideso.com/document/264421/download

  • nightski 9 days ago

    So electric car owners need to just cover all the battery wear out of their own pockets? Wouldn't that make electric cars even more expensive since battery replacement will be needed more often?

    • toomuchtodo 9 days ago

      Batteries are lasting far longer than anticipated.

      Anecdotally, I have fast DC charged my 2018 Model S (100kw pack) for the majority of the 100k miles I’ve put on the car, and only have 7% battery degradation. Others are seeing similar longevity well into hundreds of thousands of miles.

      https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=32758881

      https://www.forbes.com/sites/carltonreid/2022/08/01/electric...

      https://cleantechnica.com/2022/03/29/tesla-founder-ex-cto-sa...

      • nightski 9 days ago

        That doesn't really matter. If you own a resource, and I utilize it, are you going to let me do so without compensating you in some fashion? If so I'll take you up on that offer.

        I have no problems with encouraging people to charge at certain times. Using personal batteries for energy storage and draw without any compensation however seems to cross a line.

        Your argument seems to me like justifying petty theft because in the end it doesn't really affect the store owner.

        • toomuchtodo 9 days ago

          I think your position comes from a lack of understanding of energy markets and pricing mechanisms. Powerwall owners are paid roughly $2/kwh when called upon to support the grid in California. Compensation is absolutely available for discharging and charging at specific times.

          If you’ll charge me a fraction of the cost to charge off peak or when there are excess renewables on the grid, and you’ll pay a premium to pull that power back if the car is parked and I can set a minimum state of charge to maintain, yeah, I’ll take that deal any day. I’ll come out ahead in almost all cases based on EV battery longevity.

          • nightski 9 days ago

            If I am being compensated a premium $/kwh for each kwh drawn then we have no problem. Otherwise I'll just not offer my battery by disconnecting it when not charging.

            • toomuchtodo 9 days ago

              Of course! No one is forcing you to, these programs are voluntary.

    • bryanlarsen 9 days ago

      The Tesla Model 3 SR ships with a battery expected to last ~750,000 km. If you had that vehicle, how much would you need to get paid to compensate for reducing that range by 1km? I'd accept 0.1 cents, how about you?

      • kadoban 9 days ago

        That seems low, that'd be $750 to reduce it to 0? But yeah there should be a way to choose a fair price or just let the market decide.

        • bryanlarsen 6 days ago

          But I'm never going to get 750,000 km out of a model 3, the suspension or other moving parts are going to give out first. So I can sell ~500,000 km worth of battery range without losing any actual range.

    • peter422 9 days ago

      Presumably the cost savings from charging when rates are the cheapest and potential incentives for feeding into the grid when necessarily will make up for that.

sudden_dystopia 9 days ago

EV’s are only a solution as far as renewable energy can keep up with electricity demands. And that doesn’t appear to be the case right now. Coupled with the mining of minerals, violent venting of batteries, and non-recyclable/non disposable nature of the batteries it’s not obvious that EV’s are more environmentally friendly.

  • _ph_ 9 days ago

    It is very easy to keep up expanding renewable energy with the ramp up of electric cars. In Germany (which is pretty far north), about 10 solar panels are enough to cover one cars electric needs.

    And it is not true, that batteries are non-recyclable. Currently, they can be recycled to about 95% and of course this is cheaper than to mine the minerals for a new battery and also saves a lot of energy. It is just that it will quite a few more years before we need much recycling capacity, as the bulk of the batteries will live at least 10 to 15 years.

  • trgn 9 days ago

    They are more quiet and don't pollute the local environment. They are a small but meaningful improvement to the quality of city life.

  • dymk 9 days ago

    EVs become carbon neutral after around 6 months of existing, taking into account emissions to manufacture them. Solar panels are between 6 months and 3 years. And batteries are highly recyclable, and only getting better.

    The US doubled its solar capacity in 2021, and adoption is only speeding up.

  • kitkat_new 9 days ago

    yes, no car is better than a car - still, people won't get rid of all cars

dominotw 9 days ago

I personally think Govt should ban home charging if they are going to ban non-EV vehicles.

How is that rich people with homes charge at home while everyone else has to queue up and waste their time at charging stations.

Doesn't seem fair at all. Its a extra time tax on the poor.

  • alexb_ 9 days ago

    This is nonsensical. You are taking away extremely useful technologies from people who can afford a parking space next to a power outlet, all because it's not fair to people who don't have that.

    • dominotw 9 days ago

      >This is nonsensical.

      Whats nonsensical is thinking people will vote to increase taxes on themselves to improve public infrastructure if it doesn't benefit them.

      we shouldn't create public policy expecting ppl to vote for it purely out of goodness of their hearts.

  • cortesoft 9 days ago

    So your solution to some people having an easier time charging is to make it worse for everyone?

    • aidenn0 9 days ago

      There are people who suggest banning private schools so that the wealthy and powerful will be incentivized to improve public schooling. GP seems to apply the same logic to EV charging.

      • xboxnolifes 9 days ago

        Which is a bad idea, considering public school admissions are generally district based, so only only rich districts, the ones with already generally better schools, would (maybe) improve. This fixes nothing.

      • dominotw 9 days ago

        Exactly!!!. Thats one of the example I had in mind.

    • dominotw 9 days ago

      Correct. This logic is used to ban charter schools in many areas of the country.

      No point rehashing the same logic again.

  • bfors 9 days ago

    Wouldn't that increase charging queue times for the poor?

    • dominotw 9 days ago

      No because there would be a bigger push to develop public infrastructure. Charters vs public schools, same logic.

  • frumper 9 days ago

    I'm not sure how you'd effectively enforce that. Charging happens at standard power levels.