Earlier this year I wrote a piece about some developments in hydrogen production, particularly promising in the context of fueling combustion engines in automobiles.
In part, I raised some questions about the push towards EV's (electric vehicles), in particular that the electricity will necessarily (in the forseeable future) be derived from the same polluting resources (primarily coal) as the rest of the grid is, and would put an enormous new strain on renewable energy resources slowly coming on line, should millions of these vehicles eventually come into use.
The question is a practical one and asked in all seriousness :
Given that EV's will be best suited to urban environments, with short-range driving and the worst vehicle emissions concentrations, what of the millions of households for which vehicles must be parked on the street or "off-site", nowhere near the owner's source (or possibly any readily-accessible source) of electricity, such as from the owners' homes/dwellings/businesses?
An example is my own home, an old Wilmington "town house" that, like most such houses all over Wilmington, is at least 50 feet from the street parking in front to the nearest electrical outlet inside. How could I possibly re-charge an EV, even if I could secure a space directly in front of my home - which usually happens about 5-10% of the time in free-for-all that is city street parking?
I don't see people running extension cords out to the street, even if they could guarantee parking in front of their place. I have not seen any simple, practical solutions to providing electricity wherever drivers end up having to park their EV's.
Not that it isn't technically possible, but it would likely cost trillions, born by unknown parties at this point, to create ubiquitous urban energy infrastructures to practically accommodate EV re-charging at street level in cities the world-over.
Imagine this problem in a city the scale of NY, with a lot of dense vertical housing, and the problem becomes exponentially more complicated.
An interesting article out of Belgium breaks down the technical aspects of EV charging, but seems to raise more questions about the practicality of mass use of EV's than it answers and it appears to have been written almost 10 years ago.
Sometimes the seemingly more mundane practical aspects of mass-deploying alternative technologies like EV's can be highly-limiting, if not killer, issues despite the best intentions of their engineers. I noted just such an issue in my previous linked post, wondering aloud what solution is conceivable to address when some drivers, careless or otherwise, inevitably run out of battery power on the roadside.
These EV drivers can't just dump a gallon into the tank in short order, and be on their way. (I can only imagine how much portable stored power would be necessary if "fast-charging" was even possible in such scenarios).
The possibility of integrating photovoltaics (solar conductors) could hold promise, but is nowhere near realization for conventional EV power needs.
EV's will require much closer attention, monitoring, and forward-planning by their users...something not exactly commonplace in the vast majority of vehicle owners/drivers....but perhaps people will adjust and deal with the additional hassles/issues as best they can.
Any thoughts or information to share?