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Given all the problems with gasoline availability and power outages after Irma, what will be the scenario if we jump ahead 10-20 years and and the majority of vehicles are EVs?

Gasoline and diesel have many obvious disadvantages as motor vehicle fuels, but one advantage they do have is that they are easily transported. You can hand someone a container of fuel, or siphon some from one vehicle to be used in another, but you can't readily do that with kWh's of battery storage (at least with current technology).

Sure, some gas stations in Florida had fuel in the ground that could not be accessed because there was no power for the pumps, but that's an economic decision by the vendor not to have a backup generator, not a technical impossibility. However, no power means no way to charge an electric vehicle and a small generator really doesn't help that situation. All the Supercharger stations in the world are useless without the grid there to supply them. Solar panels are easily damaged in a major storm and you need a whole heck of lot of them to supply enough energy for many vehicles.

So how do we address this?
 

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If you have a long range EV and charge at home, you start off every day with a full battery. No need to get in line for gas at the start of your trip. Need to evacuate, just get in the car and go.

Part of the fuel problems in Florida was all the cars that normally tank up once a week or every other week all tried to refuel at once.
 

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An interesting first world problem. Electrical transmission infrastructure will have to go underground which costs more (both to put in and to repair). Our condo community which is southeast of Tampa did not lose power at all. Tampa Electric (aka TECO) has buried the lines and given what has happened around the state, it worked. Where the wires were above ground (nearby Ruskin), power was lost.
The delivery of fuel (gas and diesel) in Florida is hampered by legislation more than anything which mandates that it must be delivered by US flagged and manufactured vessels with US crews only. This protectionism is not the kind of thing that a Trump administration will get rid of because it is designed to protect American jobs (in this case, at the expense of it's citizens - go figure). The government did relax the regulation for this storm, but it remains in place. Bury pipelines too!
As has been pointed out elsewhere Florida needs to be better prepared for hurricane season. In the northeastern states, the assumption is that bad winter weather WILL happen and budget for expensive resources necessary to deal with it. Sometimes a mild winter makes it unnecessary, but they remain ready nonetheless, year after year.
 

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The delivery of fuel (gas and diesel) in Florida is hampered by legislation more than anything which mandates that it must be delivered by US flagged and manufactured vessels with US crews only.
In the First Congress, on September 1, 1789, Congress enacted Chapter XI, “An Act for Registering and Clearing Vessels, Regulating the Coasting Trade, and for other purposes”, which limited domestic trades to American ships meeting certain requirements.[3]
 

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Part of the fuel problems in Florida was all the cars that normally tank up once a week or every other week all tried to refuel at once.
Another part of the problem is that a gasoline engine at low speeds, stop and start, and sitting at idle, will run out of gas faster than an EV will run out of battery.
 

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EV's, gas, no difference. We live in a technological society that is very dependent on infrastructure. I remember well the example used by James Burke in his first episode of "Connections." It described a group of people trapped underground in a subway during a 1965 blackout.

The only real solution is to build yourself an off-grid cabin and bone up on your hunting and fishing skills.
 

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Hurricane Harvey increased my appreciation for my Volt. I purchased an inverter to turn it into a generator if I lost power, which we did, but only for 3 hours, which my UPS's were able to handle. And being electric, I can drive by the gas stations with gas costing upwards of $2.50 now. It was under $2 before Harvey, here in 'let's keep the oil flowing' Houston.
 

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Given all the problems with gasoline availability and power outages after Irma, what will be the scenario if we jump ahead 10-20 years and and the majority of vehicles are EVs?
It's a very valid question (even if the assumed timeline for EV adoption is very optimistic.)

But it's also probably important to keep in mind that Florida is very unique in that the whole state is a long, low-elevation peninsula and almost all of the main population centers are on the coast. So other states wouldn't face nearly the same difficulties in terms of the number of potential evacuees and the distances they'd be travelling.

Maybe Florida would have to subsidize the installation of extra DCFC stations beyond what normal supply and demand would support.(?)

Maybe most 2-car households in south Florida would try to keep at least one car with an ICE (PHEV or otherwise).(?)

Maybe some EV owners would choose to only drive a relatively shorter distance inland to higher ground rather than leaving the entire state.(?)
 

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Another part of the problem is that a gasoline engine at low speeds, stop and start, and sitting at idle, will run out of gas faster than an EV will run out of battery.
Most modern vehicles can idle for days without running through a tank of gas. And ICE cars with hybrid engines or simple stop-start systems that eliminated idling altogether will only become more common in the future.

So it's not really a significant issue.
 

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Electrical transmission infrastructure will have to go underground which costs more (both to put in and to repair). Our condo community which is southeast of Tampa did not lose power at all. Tampa Electric (aka TECO) has buried the lines and given what has happened around the state, it worked.
That's a big part of it. For the last 20 years I've lived in areas where the power is underground and it's been pretty reliable.

The issue of the time it takes to charge batteries is still the big hurdle. You saw the gas lines but imagine if all those cars had to wait for a charge on top of that. The hurricane would have come and gone before all those people got a charge.
 

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Look, folks, pay attention to what you're concerned about:

For evacuation: that happens before the storm. Power exists. Most people's cars are charged. You don't have to worry about hoarders because if hoarding electricity were any damn good in the first place, the problems around solar and wind power would be solved. Gas can be hoarded by people buying 250 gallons to sell on the freeway for $10 a gallon. Once it's gone, it's gone because tanker trucks probably aren't going to be driving into evac zones to resupply stations. Electricity, however, will flow because that's what it does. The generation and distribution doesn't change until something actually breaks. And it hasn't yet, because the winds won't come for hours yet.

Returning: That's when there might not be power. S'okay. You're safe. There's probably no gas either. It'll just take a while to get home, but your car is snug, nobody can siphon it out while you nap waiting for for your turn at the EVGo plug.
 

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The future is ELECTRIC ...If you can siphon gasoline, you can siphon KWatts...Imagine future wind generators sucking power from hurricaine winds...or tidal energy from the ocean !!!.
 

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There's probably no gas either.
Some of the hardest hit zones by Harvey down here in south Texas are still w/o power. They did bring in large diesel generators to power strategic gas stations along with fuel resupply trucks about 3 days after landfall so locals could refill their vehicles, personal generators and chainsaws.

In fact there are entire small communities being powered by tractor trailer size diesel generators because it will take so long to get the transmission lines repaired.

IMG_4289.jpg
 

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...Imagine future wind generators sucking power from hurricaine winds...
At what speed do wind turbines shut down?

The controller starts up the machine at wind speeds of about 8 to 16 miles per hour and shuts off the machine at about 55 mph. Usually turbines don't operate at wind speeds above about 55 mph because they may be damaged by the high winds. Typically they turn (or pitch) the blades out of the wind to control the rotor speed, and to keep the rotor from turning in winds that are too high or too low to produce electricity.
 

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In the future world you imagine, BEVs will probably all be long-range. If everyone in a evacuation zone started with a full charge and could travel several hundred miles without charging, then in most typical scenarios, everyone would either be in a safe area, or at least well out of the most dangerous areas and flood zones, etc. That would have been the case in the recent Houston hurricane or the Katrina storm in New Orleans, etc.

Now Irma was a bit of a special case the way it tracked up the peninsula. I could see someone evacuating from Key West and wanting to get to northern Florida is in a bit of a pinch, but that is an unusual scenario. Most of the time, just driving inland even 30-50 miles can make a huge difference. And hundreds of miles even more so. So those first few hundred miles of evacuation would actually be a lot smoother with an EV fleet than with the ICE fleet. Many of the ICE vehicles had to refuel, which created shortages. So some of those cars had trouble even getting started on the evacuation. BEV owners are typically topping off every night.

Also consider that in this future world, we may have significantly more public charging infrastructure. Look at all the gas stations we have today. Doesn't it make sense that in a world where most people drive BEVs, there would be a lot of public charging stations? Also consider that electricity is widely distributed. Electrical outlets of at least 120 Volts can be found throughout virtually every single building that exists in the US, and typically there is at least one or two higher voltage outlets as well. Each one is a potential charging point. So if things got really desperate, resourceful people could find a way to get some charge one way or another, given time and patience.
 

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Yeah, That's what it took to get tankers in: armed escorts. How many armed escorts can you afford? As many as there are tanker trucks normally? Nope. You get a couple to get to some critical stations that are probably supplying mostly the Responder vehicles. You getting gas in Ocala on your way to see what your house in Ft Lauderdale looks like ain't happening.
 

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Yeah, That's what it took to get tankers in: armed escorts. How many armed escorts can you afford?
I think that's a precaution for some areas. I don't think Florida is ready to go Mad Max on fuel tankers just yet.



As many as there are tanker trucks normally? Nope. You get a couple to get to some critical stations that are probably supplying mostly the Responder vehicles. You getting gas in Ocala on your way to see what your house in Ft Lauderdale looks like ain't happening.
Just as possible there isn't power either. Some areas won't see power for weeks according to FPL. Others are back up already.

Right now the trouble with petrol getting in further south is because their regular supply line involves barges and ships - not pipelines, and only 1 or 2 ports are open. But if the main roads are open they can long haul truck it in to relief areas from the north along with generators. I'm already seeing folks back at the gas stations on the TV.
 

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The future is ELECTRIC ...If you can siphon gasoline, you can siphon KWatts...Imagine future wind generators sucking power from hurricaine winds...or tidal energy from the ocean !!!.
On the afternoon of October 28, the Jersey Atlantic Wind Project stood right in Sandy’s projected path, and authorities at Infigen, which operates the five turbines just outside Atlantic City, weren’t quite sure what to expect. No other U.S. wind turbine project has taken a direct hit from a tropical storm of Sandy’s strength.

But the operators punched a few keystrokes on their computers, put the turbines into “hurricane mode,” and hoped for the best. They got it. Sandy’s wind speeds dropped below hurricane status just before landfall, but the Infigen turbines still withstood sustained winds of 65 mph [105 kph] or so, with gusts reaching much higher, as the center of Sandy passed right over them. The turbines were undamaged, said Matthew McGowan of Infigen, and were soon generating 1.5 megawatts of electricity again.

That's right, wind turbines have a hurricane mode, designed to let them ride out major wind storms without damage. Basically, the blades get pitched to neutral so that wind forces them to not rotate, then they are locked down facing into the wind. A bit of shaking, but no harm....at least that is the plan...:)

But Sandy had lost strength by the time she got to New York you say? So what about wind farms in Cuba?

Before Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of the US, she actually hit the Caribbean first. Two of the hardest hit islands were Haiti and Cuba. Thousands of houses were destroyed in the Eastern part of Cuba around Santiago de Cuba, the country’s second largest city, and power supplies in the area were and still are affected by the hurricane....(Currently waiting to see how it faired during IRMA!!!)

However, in the province of Holguín, there were two wind farms installed in 2008 and 2010 one with six 850 kW turbines and the other with six 750 kW machines. Both of those wind farms were hit by hurricane Sandy with wind speeds of up to 110 miles per hour [177 kph] and neither of them had any major damage and continued to provide electricity for the local grid.

A Chinese wind farm didn't fare as well, losing 70% of its 25 wind turbines between two typhoons. However, reading between the lines, there's a strong chance that this was an improperly planned and built wind farm, possibly without alert technicians putting the devices into the right modes, or shoddy foundations.

That said, there are certainly concerns and there is a bunch of work being done on exactly this point, mostly for offshore wind turbines. One study that received a lot of attention from predictable sources claimed that up to 50% of shallow water offshore wind turbines would be destroyed over a 20 year period by US hurricanes. The study's primary point was that wind turbines have to be designed to account for hurricanes.

Of course, wind turbine manufacturers are bulking up their wind turbines for use in areas where hurricanes prevail, just as they slimmed them down for areas with lower breezes so that they could generate better there. This isn't rocket science, it's engineering.

So what about Category 5 hurricanes and typhoons? Well, the category is reserved for ones with winds in excess of 155 mph (250 kph). As can be seen from the Ardrossan experience, wind turbines are already surviving those levels of winds onshore handily. There are lots of offshore wind turbines in the North Sea that experience the nasty weather that area throws up, and manufacturers are designing and building for survivability in hurricane winds....until the test comes we'll just hope the engineers have done their job...:)

But, Wind turbines aren't perfect.


Perhaps one of the most widely shared pictures in December of 2011 and early 2012 was this one from the Ardrossan wind farm in Scotland during a wind storm where the wind velocity reached 161 mph (260 kph). One of the thirteen wind turbines had a problem with its hurricane mode and failed spectacularly. The rest were online shortly after the wind died, unlike the Hunterston Nuclear Reactor, which was offline for 54 hours after power lines to it blew down, leaving thousands of Scots freezing in the dark.
 
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