Sunday, August 16, 2009

How to charge an electric car

Been reading here and there on the net about the great blackout that will happen when a zillion electric cars are plugged in to recharge.
Not to worry. The electric grid sees a great fluctuation in power demand, with, as you might expect, a drop of 30% or so in the early AM. Between midnight and 6 AM there is plenty of reserve electricity that could charge a zillion electric car batteries. It would be trivial to have the car's microprocessor[s] start the charging at midnight and monitor it so the battery doesn't overcharge.
If the electric company would offer an incentive, like say twelve cents a kilowatt hour instead of the sixteen I usually pay, I'd hit the "economy charge" button in the car as I plugged it in. Even better, the car ought to default to "economy charge" and require you to press a "Hang the expense, Charge it NOW" button should you need the car sooner than tomorrow morning.
Power companies could install electric meters with built in clocks that would record "off peak" (midnight to 6 AM) electricity use separately from the "peak" (daytime) use. You get a discount on off peak use. In fact, doing so might be a good idea. If I got a discount on juice after midnight, I might take the trouble to run the clothes dryer after midnight. Right now I don't bother, 'cause there is nothing in it for me.

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