Electric Cars Face Obstacles to Consumer Acceptance
Nashville is one of a handful of cities in the U.S. targeted to become an early focal point for electric vehicles, as Nissan plans to start production of a battery-powered car in Smyrna by 2012 and a program is launched to build a network of recharging stations. But getting to the point where electric vehicles are common will take time and work, said Joe Hoagland, TVA's vice president for environmental policy, science and technology.
"If every one of us had a car or two in the garage that was charging every night, could that be handled?" Hoagland said. "I'm not sure."
A slow charge on a vehicle, referred to as trickle charging, wouldn't be a problem. But if people wanted to fast charge at the same time — pulling more power than a house could handle — transformers could blow. A smart electric grid could stagger charges, or larger transformers could be built. These are among the matters that Hoagland's department is sorting out.
Other efforts include improving batteries, figuring out the best way to juice up electric cars that might have a 100-mile range, and establishing ways for people to pay if they need to plug in while visiting a friend or shopping.