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You know all those projections that predict a slow and gradual transition to battery powered cars? They are wrong. They are extremely wrong. That is not how technological transitions work.

It typically takes a decade and a half from launch for new consumer technology to achieve 50 % of its long-term market penetration. Less for technologies that piggy-back on or involve cheap retrofits of existing technology with wide penetration. Greater for capital-intensive technologies like Broadband and a replacement of the automobile fleet.

So you're looking at two decades from first commercial availability to 50 % of market saturation, and more like three to full market saturation.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 09:01:10 AM EST
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Here's a strategy document from the San Diego power company that seems to suggest that they plan support 20% electric vehicle penetration by 2020 (p. 217).

http://sdge.com/sites/default/files/documents/smartgriddeploymentplan.pdf

The Walgreens drugstore chain plans to install car charging stations in Colorado Springs (800 around the country) for what appear to be primarily "green" marketing reasons.

http://www.gazette.com/articles/electric-130982-charging-springs.html

by asdf on Tue Jan 3rd, 2012 at 04:37:10 PM EST
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The ability to support is an upper limit on penetration, not a penetration estimate. Compare "US homes passed by cable TV" to "US homes connected to cable TV" (the former figure is - ballparking since I do not have my reference handy - about twice as large as the latter).

Depending on local geography, I could easily imagine that the difference in infrastructure rollout required for supporting 20 % is not materially greater than that required to support 5 %. In that case, any demand forecast between 5 and 20 % would result in essentially the same infrastructure rollout.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jan 4th, 2012 at 08:57:46 AM EST
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