Tesla, Ziobro, Mark Wakefield discussed on The Indicator from Planet Money


Suddenly we are now looking at cars that can go three hundred miles on a single charge right and while they're still too expensive for many people they're expected to get a lot cheaper in the next few years but now people are worried about how long it takes to charge. Yeah and that's a. That's a fair question i guess how. How long does it take to charge and electric vehicle. More than fifteen minutes less than two days. Yeah that's not helpful right so i could throw a whole bunch of numbers that you to explain why there are so many variables that affect this but the most important thing actually isn't the numbers. It's the fact that most electric car owners most of the time charged their car like this. My name is duane ross. I live in corrales new mexico. And i have a two thousand thirteen tesla model s when i bought this car headache. Standard tesla charger installed in my garage. And you just plug that in and of course the charge and then he goes in his house and lives his life. Yeah in the case of someone like duane. Ross and others. It doesn't really matter how long it takes to charge. Because you just leave the thing there overnight right right and it would be parked anyway. Yeah also more convenient than having to go to the gas station from time to time. Plus it's cheap like a lot cheaper than paying for gas is the way i understand it <hes>. I could see how this works for daily driving. But let's say. I want to take a big road trip right across the whole country. What then that's where. Fast chargers come in. Joyce bryner has a tesla model three. She recently stopped to charge up at a brand new super charger in gettysburg pennsylvania. It sounded like this can hear the power ramping up there. So this is a gonna charge me fast and <hes>. Let's see what car says here. Looks like of got twenty five minutes to get to eighty percent charge. This is kind of staggering so charging the car at home would take hours and hours charging on the go using one of these fast chargers takes. What like twenty thirty minutes half an hour. Maybe not much more than that. That's amazing yet. That is really quick. There aren't very many fast chargers. That actually are that fast. You might take longer especially at an older charter. Though pricier i take it then then obviously charging it at home because it's well i guess it's just it's it's almost free at home right right and this case. Brynner's charged cost a little over eleven dollars not too bad compared to gas but more expensive than home. Okay so even at a state of the art charger. It's obviously still a lot less convenient than a gas station just because it takes awhile right but remember for most drivers. that's also not a very frequent experience. Mike davar needs with the market research firm s. Clint and he says if you ask people who are considering electric vehicles they really focus on the idea of waiting to charge. Is i think psychologically waited more than it deserves. And the inverse of that is the fact that they don't tend to appreciate how much they'll benefit from nocco gas stations so even though fast charging this rare occurrence for most drivers a lot of companies are really focused on making it as fast as possible and putting up as many fast chargers as possible. Yeah i could see how that would get people over that mental hump so that they just by the thing and then after that they're they're mostly just charging it at home. Yup that's the psychology. Are you ready for the economics. Are you seriously asking me. If i'm ready for the echinacea. All right here. We go the fastest. Fast chargers are super expensive to install like more than one hundred thousand dollars per charger. That means you can only really make money off of them. If people are using them a lot if the utilization rate is really high but remember most people mostly charge at home. Oh there's another hump to get over sure. I spoke to end smart. She's the vp of public policy at charge point which is charging company. And with the fast charger you often have low utilization. Not because it's not an unnecessary piece of infrastructure but because it's in a location which is vital to two drivers occasionally but not necessarily used frequently every single day so in other words. People really want a fast charger to just be there. And in fact they won't buy an electric vehicle unless they're already confident that there are fast chargers everywhere and they're super fast and in fact way faster than they are right now. They want the whole package but they don't actually want to use those fancy chargers all the time it's easier and cheaper to charge at home. It's actually better for your battery too. So it's kind of like if everyone wanted a gas station nearby but they could just get the same gas at home for a fraction of the cost right and in that situation. And you're the gas station. How do you make money. Well i mean you can always just get money from the government. The taxpayer <hes>. That is happening as i understand. Yep charging are also cutting deals with utilities and of course they're they're joining forces with automakers right because they want to chargers to exist so that people buy their electric cars. The automakers do. Kathy's oy is the ceo of vigo which is fast charging network and they have a deal with gm essentially agreement with general motors is building a bridge between where there's enough cars on the road to make money which is a little time in the future to two right now. So that helps us will build the of demand because general motors has come to the party and is helping make a contribution to the building that infrastructure so he also says look people right now mostly charge at home but that could change in a few years once more. People who don't have garages start buying electric cars. So maybe utilization goes up and this is really interesting camilla because like we normally think about how demand drives supplies like people want man for something. They're willing to spend money on it. So you know. Accompany supplies it <hes>. Here's always saying that. Like no once the supplies out there. Then it's going to drive up demand so build chargers and people will buy the vehicles to use the chargers she also says maybe you can get a bunch of shipping transportation companies to use these fast chargers and that'll help cover their costs. So companies are optimistic. Then they see a path to profitability. Here yeah but. I think it would be fair to say that. It's a lot easier to get there. If people were a bit more rational. If people used fast chargers as much as they worry about fast chargers they're either be a lot more charging or a lot less worrying. Yeah and in either case. Just less of a conundrum

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