There was an interesting story over the holiday about electric cars piled up at “fast” chargers . . . waiting in line for other EVs to finish “fast” charging. This brings up the problem of *throughput* – another of many EV problems not being reported by the general press as well as the car press (the latter being inexcusable).

It is a function of the EV’s much longer recharge time vs. a non-electric car’s time to refuel. Even in a best-case scenario – at what are hilariously (and depressingly) styled “fast” chargers – an EV takes at least five times as long (about 30 minutes) to recover a *partial* charge as it takes to fully refuel a non-electric car.

Consider what this means in terms of how many electric cars can recharge in one hour at a *limited number* of “pumps.”

A gas station that has say six gas pumps can refuel six cars in about five minutes but for the sake of discussion, call it ten each – to take into account people leaving their car at the pump for a couple of minutes longer than it takes to fill up to go inside to buy a soda, etc. The station’s throughput at that rate is six cars every ten minutes. Twelve cars in 20; 36 cars in an hour.

But six EV “fast” chargers can only charge six cars – partially – in *30* minutes. In the same one hour that it takes to refuel 36 cars, only 12 EVs are *partially* recharged. This being necessary at a “fast” charger, to avoid damaging the very expensive battery and shortening its already short useful life. The EV can only accept about 80 percent “fast” charge; the remainder has t be charged slowly. Well, even *more* slowly. The full charge takes an hour-plus – but let’s leave that problem aside for purposes of this discussion.

The EV leaves the “fast” charger with 80 percent charge.

Which means it’ll have to be recharged again, *sooner*.

That’s the *best-case* scenario, remember.

The only way to mitigate this – in terms of the number of EVs that can charge at the same time – would be to build at least* three times* as many “fast” chargers as there are gas pumps. But where will the money come from? And where will the *space* come from?

Six pumps fit easily on a small concrete pad. But it would take the equivalent of three times as much space to match the gas station’s throughput capacity with EV “fast” chargers. This means a tripling of real estate and construction costs to the owner of the “fast” charge” station. More waste, too – of concrete and steel and all the other material which go into building a gas – or EV – station.

What is the carbon footprint of all this, by the way?

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