A number of industry experts and executives gathered in San Francisco this week to discuss the future of electric cars and the grid at The Networked EV. Here are some of the more interesting data points:
2015: The year that China's BYD says it will become the largest car maker, by unit volumes, in China, according to Liam Li, senior business director of BYD America.
2025: The year that BYD wants to become the world's largest car maker. It sounds farfetched from this vantage point, but you have to admit the company has an interesting history. It was founded in 1995 as a lithium ion battery maker. In 2000, it started selling batteries to Motorola. In 2003, it entered the car market. By 2010, it had sold 1 million cars, the fastest ramp ever for a new car company in China. It already has plug-in hybrids, all-electric sedans and all-electric buses.
80 to 85 percent: The percentage of time that consumers will charge their cars at home, according to Jose A. Salazar, Senior Project Manager at the Advanced Technology, Field Technologies Group for Southern California Edison, which has been studying computer simulations on the issue. And that's in the long run. Over the next few years, the number will be closer to 100 percent, he told me later.
If Salazar is right, this could prove problematic for charging companies like Better Place or Coulomb Technologies that want to encourage customers to enter into subscription service contracts for EV charging services. If consumers buy the bulk of their power at home, will they really want to pay $20 a month for an occasional blast?
3: The number of payment options SCE will offer EV customers. Customers can get a separate meter for their EV, just add it to their bill, or join a time-of-use plan. They program has existed for years -- it was created for the EV1 and other electric cars ten years ago -- but is being revived. A calculator helps you decide which program best suits your needs.
5: The number of cities that will soon buy electric buses and high-speed charging stations from Proterra. The cities are Seattle, Reno, Pomona, Tallahassee and Fresno. The projects are underwritten by a $25 million grant from the Federal Transportation Agency.
Marc Gottschalk, chief business development officer, also told us to keep our eyes peeled for a foreign deal. Pomona already has a few Proterra buses and charging stations. An electric bus will likely never be a chick magnet, but considering that diesel buses get 2 miles per gallon, the new models could help substantially curb fuel consumption and particulate emissions.
$500 a kilowatt hour: The price that Coda Automotive, which will come out soon with an all-electric sedan, can get batteries for from its sister company Lio Energy Systems, according to Phil Gow, vice president of battery systems at Coda Automotive. (Phil also worked on the battery system for GM's EV1.
More: The number of cars that General Motors will make around the plug-in hybrid platform created for the Chevy Volt, according to Dave Barthmuss, Group Manager, Western Region, Environment & Energy Communications at GM. Next up might be a crossover-like vehicle. GM has shown prototypes of plug-in crossovers. Tesla Motors is eyeing the crossover/SUV market: a prototype of its Model X should show up next year.
3 pounds: The amount of copper in a charging station, according to John R. Bryan, CTO, Fleet Energy and Former Program Manager, V2G PHEV project, Xcel Energy. Security to keep thieves away will be needed.
145 grams: The amount of carbon dioxide, per mile, that gas cars will emit over worst-case-scenario electric cars, according to NREL stats from Bryan. A gas car with a 20 mile per gallon rating emits 465 grams of CO2 per mile. An electric car powered by coal generated 100 percent by coal generates 320 grams. 145 is the difference.
Bryan, of course, notes that this is a worst-case scenario. The U.S. only gets around 45 percent of its electricity from coal, so the reduction in emissions in real life will be higher.
$1,500 to $1,750: The amount of money that will be required per household to upgrade the grid in a region of 100,000 in the service territory of Pacific Gas & Electric if consumers don't agree to charge their cars during off-peak hours, according to Kevin Dasso, the senior director of smart grid at PG&E. The total bill, in other words, would be $150 million to $175 million.
"If you can convince them to charge off-peak, you could lower the need for upgrades quite substantially," he said. "We still have to make some investments, but they can be a lot lower if we are smart about it."
Here's how Dasso's estimates break down by region. In coastal regions with low air conditioning needs, PG&E would have to perform upgrades (i.e., install new and more transformers, etc.) nearly 50 percent of the time. Off-peak charging would reduce this figure to ten percent. In the whole Inland Empire, upgrades could be needed 10 percent to 60 percent of the time. Off-peak would lower it to zero.
A 7.2 kilowatt charger running at 240 volts is equal to 1.3 homes to a transformer, he added.
530,000: The number of EVs expected to be tooling around in PG&E's service territory by 2020, according to Dasso. The estimates range from 220,000 to 850,000.
50 percent: the percentage of the U.S. population that likely can't qualify for car loans, according to Phil Davis, Senior Manager, Solutions, Schneider Electric and a former car dealership owner. High prices will be a deterrent for many. Davis further added that the average U.S. car stays on the road seven to nine years, which really reduces the resale value.
11.55 million: The number of cars that will get sold in the U.S. in 2010, according to Brandon Mason, Global Powertrain Lead Analyst, U.S. Auto Practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers. It will increase to 12.5 million by 2011.
By 2016, the number will rise to 15 million, but manufacturing capacity will be at 16.5 million.
34.1 miles per gallon: The "real" CAFE standard for 2016. The Department of Transportation has told car makers that they have to boost their cumulative/collective MPG rating to 35.5 miles per hour by 2016, but part of the gains can be from air conditioning. (Panasonic, for instance is coming out with an air conditioner powered by waste heat from the engine.) Thus, drivetrain engineers can aim for the 34.1 MPG mark.
62 MPG: the number being touted in Washington for the CAFE standard in 2025.
1.4% to 1.8%: The percentage of cars shipped in the U.S. that will be EVs or plug-in hybrids by 2016, according to Mason.