Can An Electric Car World Handle Thanksgiving Travel?


If the world switches to mostly electric cars, how will they handle the charging on peak travel days like Thanksgiving? I wrote an article on some thoughts for that, and on evacuations as well.

Read about it at Can An Electric Car World Handle Thanksgiving Travel?


That is very interesting. I don't think it'd be reasonable to have so many fast charging stations that it could handle the current travel habits of people on peak travel days like Thanksgiving, if all cars were electric.

That said, I'm not sure this will be a huge problem, because the travel habits of people might significantly change by the time that's an issue. In fact, I wonder if the travel habits of people already have changed over the past several years, as it is already much more feasible to use mass transit to travel for the holidays, as you can now just take an Uber everywhere you need to go once you reach your destination. Robotaxis will make that option even more feasible, either because it makes mass transit more feasible in much the same way as Uber (only even moreso) or even because it opens up the feasibility to take the robotaxi all the way (and just transfer to a new one whenever the one you're using is close to running out of battery).

The latter solution would require a lot of idle robotaxis most of the year. But I believe there will likely be a lot of idle robotaxis most of the year anyway, in order to handle the morning and evening commutes without a whole lot of dead miles backtracking from the places where people work to the places where people live.

(Where I've said robotaxi above, it could also be a rented robocar, which is essentially the same thing as a robotaxi, except maybe that a robocar comes with a steering wheel and can maybe go places where the robotaxi can't go.)

Edit: It looks like the proportion of people using vehicle-based mass transit is actually decreasing, though the proportion of people using airplanes is increasing. I'm not sure quite what to think about that. People definitely don't consider vehicle expenses other than gas when looking at the price of a road trip. I'm still not sure if that's a big mistake, though.

Edit 2: Maybe we'll have 10-minute charging by then. That'll basically solve the problem.

In my experience, average Tesla Supercharger visits are no-where near '50-70 minuets', at least not now that the network has been (reasonably) 'fully-fleshed' (this is a UK perspective, mind). 30 minutes would be more accurate and even in my 60kWh Model S (the smallest pack Tesla has ever done), if started from 10% full, this charging time would give a good 100 miles+ of range out of my max range of about 180 miles.

Yes, when you want a fast visit, you don't charge to a high percentage, but on certain road trips you want to do that. But the biggest factor that makes me do an hour charge at the supercharger is because I go to a restaurant to eat, and between the walking to the restaurant and back, ordering, eating etc. it runs about 50 minutes so I want it to take that long. 70 minutes is what I suspect you see with those 100kwh battery packs.

Very interesting analysis. The problem is that converting to electric based transportation is not optional and we need to figure it out. It looks like we're on a typical development curve here where the technology will start to keep pace with the demand, at least I hope so for the planet's sake.

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