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Discussion Starter #1
I was just curious what the chances are of there being an EV grade battery shortage as soon as the killer battery is finally developed? Is anyone else worried that as soon as they have a cheap, compact high density long lasting battery to truly make the ICE a thing of the past automakers are going to be in heavy competition with the utility companies trying to get ahold of them. It would seem that the very battery tech that would make them ideal for a pure EV would also make them fantastic as a utility based load leveling system for the grid. Not to mention how great they would be for grid or home based PV systems.



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There would probably be shortage issues initially, but I think after a few years, there would be so many factories cranking them out, supply would no longer be an issue.

Also, when it comes to cars, not everyone will immediately make the switch. It's estimated that once the start is made, it will take 20 years for transportation to make a switch from oil to electric (and that's assuming government steps in and makes it an emergency priority).
 

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I was just curious what the chances are of there being an EV grade battery shortage as soon as the killer battery is finally developed? Is anyone else worried that as soon as they have a cheap, compact high density long lasting battery to truly make the ICE a thing of the past automakers are going to be in heavy competition with the utility companies trying to get ahold of them. It would seem that the very battery tech that would make them ideal for a pure EV would also make them fantastic as a utility based load leveling system for the grid. Not to mention how great they would be for grid or home based PV systems.



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Bingo!

If the perfect battery does arrive, a lot of other users will be ahead of the automakers. Besides utility load leveling (which is even more valuable for making intermittent sources like wind and solar more practical), take a serious look at trucks, busses, and trains. People may not realize that trucks, busses, and trains use more oil in the US than all of the cars, and the smaller number of these big vehicles means that the fleet could be electrified faster. Think of a PHEV tractor-trailer that runs the first 50 miles on pure electric. A vehicle like this could charge up at warehouses and destinations, and would easily make up the cost of the battery and charge with the savings on $4.80/gallon diesel fuel.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
true

Especially with a quick charge battery. Most warehouses and businesses of any size already have a suitably large grid connection. Just add a dedicated 440v or higher panel with a 200 amp breaker and they could drop 10 KW/h of power into their battery bank for every 10 minutes they're unloading at the dock with minimal expense to the business owner. The truck could just carry the inverter on itself, or mounted on the trailer behind the cab.
 

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There seem to be a lot of people working out there working on new battery and ultracap technologies. Each of the subtly different chemistries and constructions is going to have a different set of properties. Different energy and power densities, different operating temperature ranges, etc. Utility companies will have different needs than electric vehicles. Weight won't be much of a factor and environmental extremes will be less of an issue.

So I'd be surprised if utility companies decided on buying up the exact same battery as a car company was using. But they could end up using some of the same raw materials. Competition for lithium or nano-particle chemical stocks could raise the price or reduce the availability of all batteries of a similar nature.

So it becomes a question of price point. To what extent might utility companies bid up the price of batteries before it's not worth it to them? I don't think they can afford to raise the prices for batteries (or their raw components) up so high that they are too costly for vehicles. In a Volt it looks like a single kWh of stored electricity replaces a tenth of a gallon of gas, since one kWh takes the Volt about five miles. So the lifetime cost of the battery better be below 40 cents per kWh stored to make it economically worth buying electricity instead of gas. Now, as near as I can tell, the difference in price between peak electrical power prices and non peak prices is only a few cents per kWh most of the time. Therefore utility companies need to get battery costs down much further than car companies to make it worth while. I think the car companies should be able to outbid the utility companies.

Unfortunately I'm not certain about the cost of peak power. Some sources seem to indicate just 8 cents per kWh for natural gas generated peak power (as opposed to 2 or 3 cents per kWh for base load power). But I saw one reference to a utility paying a dollar per kWh for peak power at times. If that's not just a rare occurrence it could change the economics of utility company battery use from what I'm assuming.
 
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