Intermittently Grid Connected Vehicle System

Synopsis: Cut the cost of passenger electric vehicles while extending their range, by intermittently connecting them to electric lines enroute (versus large batteries, supplemental gasoline engine).
- cut CO2 emissions from transport
- cars: cut the cost of transport fuel without doubling the price of a car
- Diesel electric trucks and transport busses: cut the cost of transport fuel
- gov: elliminate the need for EV subsidies / incentives: price difference between IGCV EVs and gasoline cars < $5k
- seamlessly connecting at road speeds and onboard energy source mean only major routes need grid
x currenlty there is no IGCV system or prototypes beyond what is on this web page. It's a fuzzy concept. 
* no intellectual property hold-up problems/non-patentable: it's obvious to a layperson, and implementation requires only generic engineering and off-the-shelf parts
* anything on this page which is the intellectual property of the authors the authors hereby declare it free and public domain
- goal: develop an economically and technically viable design and open standard for global adoption; cut petroleum CO2 to a fraction of current
Image Top to Bottom:
1.nadir switched method
2.bumperCar method
3. nadir side by side method
4. zenith or trolleyBus method.
BEV - battery electric vehicle - large battery, no engine
HEV - hybrid electric vehicle - small battery, mostly engine and regenerative braking
PHEV - plugin hybrid electric vehicle - mostly battery, plus small engine
DEV - diesel electric vehicle - like a train locomotive, engine drives a generator
GCV - grid connected vehicle - teathered to overhead trolley electric lines or equivalent
IGCV - intermittently grid connected vehicle - like GCV but disconnects and reconnects enroute
CO2 - carbon dioxide
zenith method - overhead trolley lines
nadir method - conductive bars embedded in road surface, turned on by presence of EV
BAU - business as usual, current reality 
Future Scenarios: (helped by)
1. BAU - business as usual, mostly diesel, gasoline with increasing HEV and PHEV for efficiency
2. BEVs & PHEVs (battery cost/performance breakthrough)
3. CNG/LNG (natgas fracing floods the world with cheap methane; cheaper/lightweight kits, low pressure Adsorbed ANG)
4. synthetic fuels substitute for gasoline and diesel (nuclear fusion breakthrough makes CO2 recycling viable)
5. mitigation (high density cities, improved telepresence and neighborhood mfg reduces the need for shipping or road travel)
6. IGCVS goes viral as complex blend of energy sources output homogenous grid power (superconductor breakthrough, cheaper switches)
In the new millenium we face a few transportation issues: CO2 emissions and cost of energy and systems for transport. The book Cool It says mitigating CO2 is much more expensive than social adaptation, and attempts to mitigate with carbon taxes, cap&trade or Kyoto-like voluntary protocols tend to be expensive and fail in democracies. When talking about CO2 mitigation from transportation, any programs or technologies are much more likely to succeed if also economically advantageous - if it saves money.  Some 25% of our CO2 emissions are from transportation.
The book Transport Revolutions noted that grid connected electric vehicles are more wells-to-wheels CO2 efficient than fossil fuel vehicles, even when the electricity is generated by coal. Coal fired electric power is also cheaper per kwh than gasoline or diesel fuel. Natural gas is another commonly used fuel for electric generation and is also cheaper per kwh than gasoline or diesel, depending on natural gas supplies, which depend on pipeline services.
One way to reduce fossil fuel consumption -and as a side effect the wells-to-wheels CO2 emissions that come from that - is to drive electric vehicles.
But lithium ion batteries for BEVs are expensive - half the cost of the car - making a $15k car cost $30k with battery, the battery has limited lifespan with decaying performance by year, and limited driving range due to the low energy density of batteries compared to gasoline When consumers compare prices and range and durability at consumer prices, the BEVs lose out to conventional gasoline vehicles.
The battery technology is the limit:
a) cost
b) durability
c) range 
HEVs and PHEVs partially fill that gap, at varying costs and performance tradeoffs.
Solve the battery cost, durability and range problem.
Intermittently Grid Connected Vehicle System IGCVS consisting of Grid, Passenger vehicle systems, and Transport vehicle systems
1. The Grid:
A. Nadir method
- side by side method: 2 segmented strips embedded in pavement
- switched method: single segmented track and 3 brushes: 1 for signals, 2 for + -- power
- vehicle mounted brushes or dolly wheels
- segments turn on and off as EV drives over
- may be heated in winter to keep clear of ice, snow, slush
x safety issues:
xx making sure segments are off in an accident
xx making sure only segments under the vehicle are on, so pedestrians near by aren't electrocuted
xx fast per-segment switching technology adds major cost, heat loss, reliability issues
xx driving traction (turning, stopping) / wheel bump steer safety on non-asphalt surface
x practical issues:
xx keeping road clear enough of snow and ice
xx minimizing shorts through saline road slush
xx embedding securely so not ripped up by snowplows
B. Zenith method
- 2 overhead trolley-like electric lines
- unlike old-style trolley lines and busses, the lines don't need to cover the whole route, because the lines and the teathers are engineered so that vehicles can connect and disconnect automatically, seamlessly at road speeds anywhere, and the vehicles have onboard power systems to keep them going
- 2 geometries of lines: one for passenger teather, one for transport teather
-- passenger: a power-antenna/fishing-rod-like teather extends from the roof of the car, and rubs in 2 places on overhead power lines.
-- teather automatically retracts when out of range
x safety issues:
xx oversized loads hitting the trolley lines
xx teathers ripping out lines at highway speed
xx teathers whipping in wind or dragging lines or vehicle offtrack on ice
xx more roadside poles for vehicles to hit and kill people
xx icicles falling into oncoming traffic at road speed
x ugly overhead lines
x interference with oversized truck loads
C. BumperCar method
- similar issues and benefits to nadir and zenith methods
-- fewer switches needed than nadir methods
-- poles needed like zenith method
-- easier to connect and disconnect at speed than zenith method
-- safer than nadir methods
D. All methods
- covers major commuter and transport truck routes
- does not cover side streets, alleys
- powered by whatever is fuel-de-jour: coal, hydro, fission (heavy water, salt), fusion (if it gets here), solar (thermal mirror, photovoltaic), wind, cellulose (straw - just burn it and run a boiler, no need for cellulosic ethanol), methane, geothermal, tidal. . .
x cost issues to fund: transport revolutions says about $1M/km, possibly funded from power sales, power sales would need technology to measure and record per-vehicle power use
x unlike BEVs and PHEVs that charge overnight, GCVs consume power during driving, with peaks at rush hour, so some clean sources like wind and solar cannot directly power it
x safety issues to mitigate:
xx as with all EVs: electrocution of emergency personnel and passengers during accident rescue
2. Passenger Cars and Light Trucks (60% of transportation CO2):
- automatically connects and disconnects as the vehicle changes lane
- when not connected, vehicle is powered by onboard battery
- if battery is fully charged, regenerative breaking sells power back to the grid
- BEVs, PHEVs, HEVs can charge their onboard batteries while driving, extending their battery range to unlimited within the area covered by grids, even when the battery is much smaller
- smaller BEV batteries: $5k battery will do, saving $10k/car x 2 per lifespan = $20k/20 year car = $1k/yr
 3. Transport Trucks and Busses - GCDEVs
- transmission is like a diesel train locomotive: conventional diesel truck engine turns an electric generator, which in turn powers electric drive motors
- diesel engine idles while connected
- diesel engine takes over seamlessly when pulling out to pass, and when off grid
- regenerative braking sells power back to the grid - no onboard battery needed
To vehicle operators:
- use any fuel - EVs are ultimate flex fuel vehicles - mitigate CO2 at large power plants
- unlike the battery problem, all necessary technologies are currently available for IGCVS, although not optimized yet, no breakthroughs needed
- GCVs are more wells-to-wheels CO2 efficient than fossil fuel vehicles and -due to not storing which loses 15%- more efficient than BEVs, PHEVs, HEVs
- smaller onboard batteries cut $10k from initial vehicle price and another $10k from lifespan costs, while extending range within grid coverage to unlimited
- any net savings in cost of generated electric power versus refined petroleum fossil fuels
To transporation system implementors:
- intermittent connection means only major roads need to be gridded
- no intellectual property hold-up problems because it's obvious to a layperson/non-patentable; uses off-the-shelf parts
To economists at macro economic level:
- decouple GDP further from the use of oil as transportation fuel
- immunize economy from cap & trade, carbon tax, and UN agreements impacts
- mitigate compensation to developing economies for future coastal flooding and climate related crop failure
To politicians at political level:
- pre-empt Green Tea movement (like Tea Party except conservative about cost-of-adaptation to future generations)
Problems and Costs:
- safety - Zenith method: death by striking increased roadside poles. Nadir method: electrocution - pedestrian, in-car, road worker, emergency personnel; tire traction/stopping distance impairment when tires on contact plates
- cost of grid infrastructure at $1M/km (common use would help pay for it: 10,000 cars x $10k battery savings/car = $100M)
- Nadir method: cost of keeping road cleaner, cost of per-tile switching and safety breakers, cost of shorts and leaks, per-vehicle maintenance
- cost of metering systems, vehicle ID tracking, switching/blocking unauthorized use, billing systems
- trucks: cost of converting transmission to generator /. electric motors
- cars: major conversion needed on existing fleet (unlikely) or must wait for adoption of EVs (slow rollout) vs diesel/gasoline substitutes
- systemic technology / dominant design / network economics (like the QWERTY keyboard) / catch-22: no one will build a grid system unless there are grid vehicles. No one will buy a grid vehicle unless there is a grid system.
- there is no IGCV system. It is currently a fuzzy concept and may remain so
- governments responsible for roads must agree to sell rights to IGCV firms in uniform way suitable for scale
- consumers must support their governments in doing so
- economics for vehicle owners must be compelling
Compared to:
CNG/LNG or synthesized dimethyl ether distribution network for trucks:
-- IGCV network more expensive: road work, tonnes of metal, upgrades to electrical generation and distribution
+ IGCV network can also serve EV cars; more 'flex' fuel choices: natgas, coal, nuclear, solar, wind, hydro, bio; hedges carbon tax
+ truck continues to use conventional diesel when no Grid, and diesel is available everywhere in N.A.
-- 'natural gas highway' for CNG/LNG powered trucks exists in south america and is proposed for parts of North America where shale gas is flooding the natgas market and keeping supply security high and prices low, and would be a close substitute for IGCVS on repetitive Long Haul routes
+ IGCVS better for CO2 capture and recycling (through syngas to synthetic hydrocarbons) or storage (carbon capture and storage CCS) because of the stationary fossil fuel burning power unit
Ethanol, Methanol, BioButanol
-- no need to ferment biofeedstocks into gasoline-like fuels: just burn to run steam turbine and generate electricity
* butanol requires the least modification to gasoline engines allowing a quick rollout into existing fleet
Large Lithium Ion battery EVs
-- IGCVS don't store energy -except in smaller battery- so generation capacity needed for peak rush hour traffic
-- grid infrastructure
+ lower entry cost for new EVs with 1/3 size LiIon battery, more EVs sold without subsidy
+ IGCV - vehicles recharged enroute, extending range in partially covered area
+ smaller battery to replace, helping EVs retain value and seeding market with used EVs in 10 years
Hydrogen Fuel cells:
-- IGCV requires more infrastructure
+ IGCV - more energy efficient with fewer changes of energy state;
-- hydrogen can in the worst case be electolicized from water but at the cost of a lossy change of energy state, and compression losses
+ IGCV suitable for trucks as well as cars
-- hydrogen is very low energy density as a gas, so must be compressed to 10,000 psi, or use of nanotubes/burned chicken feathers to absorb it at lower pressures
Korean OLEV  or Bombardier equivalent
-  similar in goals and benefits
-- IGCVS more dangerous with exposed contacts; suceptible to surface shorts and bad/dirty contacts; contacts may cause traction danger
+ IGCVS more energy efficient and suitable also for cars and trucks; suitable for rougher road and higher (normal) road speeds
+ IGCVS has no patents and is obvious to a layperson
Telecommuting / transport mitigation
- telecommuting, telerobotics, telepresence, Skype and their evolutionary descendents should be used first wherever possible
- mitigation can be helped by high market prices of carbon fuels relative to other methods of producing a good or service
- information sciences can also help by giving shorter paths, comparing marginal price differences which may highlight embeded fuel prices
- optimization decisions: make locally vs ship in - may be easier with supply chains exposed on the internet
- reorganizing economy, supply chains, infrastructure around carbon minimization may be slow but steady
- detailed economic comparison of near substitutes - if IGCV isn't most economical then do not procede
- design competition - something like an X-Prize
- controlled lab tests
- test track tests under varying weather, traffic, driving conditions
- field test - small towns, airports, shipping yards - controlled and well monitored with reworks and adjustments
- scale up
- publish as open standard
- state/province/municipalities: pool and auction geographic monopoly (similar to auctioning frequencies for wireless carriers)
--- grid owner can charge monopoly premium on road electric power to recover cost of infrastructure and winning bid
- start in geographic area with
--  a) surplus generation capacity
--  b) relatively higher cost of transport fuels
- do HD trucks first, with contracts to save fuel costs
- cars and light trucks can join once the truck routes are complete
- BEV mfgs competing on initial vehicle price can cut the cost of the battery by $10k
- HEV mfg look for better mileage
The following are guestimates and placeholders to give an idea of how the economics are calculated.
Assume nadir side-by-side: 2 strips, one ground, one a series of 1 meter long plates, switched, 750V DC
Cost_per_km = steel + transformer + switches + wireless
steel $100k
transfomer $200k
switches 1000 switches/km x ($128/switch x 5 switches/plate to get 100kw/750V=133Amps) = $640,000
wireless communications (with vehicle - for vehicle size, position and ID for billing) $100k
Total grid cost per km: $1.040M/km
Annualized cost at 10% = $104,000 / km / year
Truck_breakeven_$_per_grid_km = max_cost_of_electricity/km = cost_of_diesel/km - amortized_cost_of_conversion/km
cost_of_conversion = cost_of_electric_transmission + cost_of_wireless_connection_kit = $20k + $5k = $25k
amortized_cost_of_conversion = cost_of_conversion / 3 years / (75,000 grid km/year) = .11 $/grid-km
cost_of_diesel/km = cost_of_diesel/liter x liters/km = $1/liter x .25 liters/km = .25 $/km
kwh/km = 3.3kwh/liter x .25 liter/km = .825 kwh/km
Truck_breakeven/km = .25 $/km - .11 $/km = .14$/km
GRID REVENUE BREAKEVEN = COST = $104,000 / km / year
revenue/km = count/year x kwh/km x profit/kwh
     = truck_count/year x profit/truck_km or
truck_count/year = revenue/km / profit/truck_km
profit/truck_km = revenue/truck_km - cost/truck_km
   = Truck_breakeven/km - (truck-kwh/km x wholesaleElectricity/kwh)
   = .14$/km - (.825 truck_kwh/km x .08$/kwh wholesale) = .14 - .066 = .074$/truck_km
truck_count/year = 104,000 $/km/year / (.074 $/truck_km) = 1,405,405 trucks/year
truck_count/day = truck_count/year / 365 days/year =  3850 trucks/day
Summary: for a route to break even for the grid operator and trucks, it needs 3850 trucks per day on each lane. Over 12 hour busy time, thats 320 trucks per hour or 9 trucks per minute, or a truck every 7 seconds.
CONCLUSION: Viable in some hot spots. 
Informal comments and suggestions:
- truck drivers: like the electric drivetrain -like train locomotives- which has good torque at standstill
--- truck fuel costs can be $5k/month
--- rising gasoline and diesel price, inconvenience of CNG/LNG - there's a demand for more choice / convenience / price / flex fuel options
- consumers: overhead lines (zenith method) is ugly
- politicians: interesting idea
- transport ministries: no funding (must be private sector funded), no overhead lines (they interfere with oversized loads)
- electrical component mfg: start with a private point-2-point route for maximum viability
- electric power distribution guru: could stress generation and distribution infrastructure requiring expensive upgrades born by the project; option: generate along route
- clean energy researcher: hydrogen is for applications that can't reach the grid, such as aircraft and ships
- gov energy researcher: Canada's average electric power is about 35% less carbon intensive than equivalent diesel power on a lifecycle basis, so if you have an efficient way to run electric vehicles on the grid you should save CO2 and energy costs
- energy industry corp finance guru: it doesn’t appear your idea is advanced or articulated enough at this point for financing 
Subpages (1): Economics