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Sunday, November 14

Chevy Volt meets Grassroots EV at NYU-Poly

On Friday I was invited to make a presentation of the EV at an NYU-Poly workshop about 'Rebooting the Grid'.  One of my friends, Dhirendra Ashar, who is an electrical engineer. set up an invitation with Dr. Andres Fortino.  It was a full day event, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  The problem that was discussed was, what the Power Grid will look like in 30 years when all cars in the US are powered by electricity.  There were a lot of very interesting and smart people there, and we had a great time brainstorming this subject.

We also had an Engineer from GM who brought a Chevy Volt along for everyone to see.  Thanks to Jason Taylor for giving me a great walk through of the Volt.  It is a lovely vehicle.  It has a range of 40 miles on electric power, which as I have found with my EV, with a range of 30 miles, is plenty for all the local running around.  And if you need to go further than that, then the back up gas generator will get you to your destination where you can charge up the car again.  I think that it is going to be a great transitional vehicle for the consumer who is very nervous about running out of power.  Once people experience the joy of driving on clean electricity, they will become more confident with all electric vehicles.

Some of the main ideas that I loved the sound of were, that cars would be a way of storing energy and that they would share it with the Smart Grid.  The technology for this type of sharing is apparently there.  In other words say you had a range of 100 miles on a charge, and your commute to work, and other daily needs, was 60 miles.  You could program your car to let the grid use say 30 miles worth of you energy during the day while you are parked at work, leaving you a buffer of 10 miles.  Your car charges at night while you are sleeping and at a time that is off peak and there is an excess of power being produced by the power grid.

So what happens when you need to go further than 100 miles.  The most attractive idea was the battery swap stations where you drive up to what looks like a car wash and the battery is taken out and a fully charged one gets popped in its place.  This process would take about 5 mins, enough time to get a nice cup of tea, or coffee.

Here is a presentation of this idea by Shai Aggasi.


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