But your real-world examples are either wrong or not comparable. Trains are cleaned after long trips, as are airplanes. Subway cars and buses are cleaned on a regular basis, as are taxis. Most rides on subway cars, in-city buses, and taxis are much shorter than the suggested battery life of a car, so they don't have to be cleaned after every use, and they are cleaned more often than you seem able to admit. What's more, there are rules on buses, subways, and so forth that you aren't allowed to eat, simply because eating is an inherently messy activity. Even if those rules existed in your proposed car-swap system, they would be unenforceable. No bus driver to yell at you, after all.
Originally Posted by IsaacKuo
Well, except for the fact that it inherently requires more cars. Remember that you have to take into account that the cars will have to sit somewhere while they charge. Since there are literally dozens of kinds of special needs within your proposed system, you'll have to have more cars sitting around than you would have on the road at any given time. You'd have to make sure that there were enough big cars, small cars, smoking and nonsmoking, kids and no kids. And all sorts of combinations thereof, though I personally think all "kids" cars should also be designated "nonsmoking."
On demand short term car rental does not inherently require more parking space.
How quickly do your proposed cars charge, that they could be used multiple times in a day? Remember, that's the problem you're trying to solve.
The overall number of miles driven per person in society remains roughly the same. Because a single car could be used by multiple users in a day, these cars may end up driving around a somewhat higher percentage of the time, and parked a somewhat lower percentage of the time. So, overall, parking space requirements would be somewhat reduced.
Yes, they would, which means you'd have to have a lot of large cars parked somewhere to accommodate that spike--and if they aren't parked where there is demand, you have to hire a lot of people to drive those cars to the places where the demand is going to be, not to mention figuring out some way for them to get back and forth in the first place.
However, I see on demand short term car rental as a potential enabler for commuters to use single passenger commuting cars. This could lead to a requirement for more spare cars--larger cars which would see a demand spike on the weekends.
You could see it going either way because you haven't put a lot of thought into the demands of the average consumer. If a person works all week, they are going to need to do errands on the weekend. I have known plenty of people who don't drive at all on workdays, because they're able to take the bus just fine. On the other hand, picking up supplies for their home repair/landscaping project is not something you can do on the bus. Grocery shopping is, but it's a major pain, especially if you need anything heavy or bulky. Errands for the kids is possible but complicated.
What percentage of commuters will require these extra rental cars on a weekend? It's unclear. I could see it going either way, as to whether more parking spaces are required or less parking spaces are required.
Do you know how far "outlying" you'd have to get in some locations before costs are reliably cheaper? Here's a hint--it's far enough so that you're going to need something like half a proposed hundred-mile battery just to get the car there and back, if not more.
Still, the distribution of these parking spaces can be optimized for costs. Since the weekend demand spike is predictable, the extra rental cars could be parked in cheaper outlying areas during the week.
That wasn't my point. My point is, there are about fifteen places I can buy a whole new battery for my car within a mile radius of my apartment. This is because they don't actually take up much room, even with storage of batteries taken into account.
Service stations are still needed for car repairs, and you do not want to be paying service station prices or suffering service station waits for battery swaps!
Very true. Yet my car gets better gas mileage than a comparable car from fifty years ago (not that there were any, quite; I drive a minivan), and there are a lot more gas stations now than there were then. What does that tell you?
Umm...the big oil companies are making higher profits than ever. That should tell you that they aren't hurting.
Depends on how long-term you're looking. Actually, just in my lifetime, gas mileage has improved considerably. Provided you don't drive an SUV, which is enormously wasteful. The cause and effect is a lot more complicated than "prices have gone up."
Why not? It's because gas prices have risen so much. Gas mileage has not really improved much, and gas prices are expected to continue to rise. The big oil companies aren't sweating.
You're assuming the number of cars on the road will remain static, and that's not a safe assumption. You're assuming driving trends will remain static, and that's not a safe assumption. And how will that fail to be different for your proposed car-swap, which will require vastly more inventory than a battery-swap?
With battery swap services, demand will plummet as battery capacity becomes sufficient for the great majority of trips. Others in this thread envision commuters using them several times per day. That means a battery swap for almost 100% of trips. But what happens when battery capacity improves to eliminate commuting swaps? Since these are long commutes to begin with, battery swap demand could plummet from 100% of trips down to 2% of trips. How many of these stations will survive a 50-fold reduction in demand?
No, it couldn't! It would have to have a lot of plug-in spots, obviously. It would have to be monitored. It would have to be close enough so that there is someone who can handle the keys. It would have to have someone on hand to inspect returned cars; I don't know if you've ever rented a car, but they do that every time, just in case. So either you'd have to have it set up by the car rental company or else you'd have to have someone whose job is driving cars back and forth. The infrastructure of a rental car agency is clearly much more complicated than you've considered.
A car swap location
could be anywhere there are parking spots. The parking lot doesn't even need to be owned by a car rental company. A parking lot owner could have arrangements with several car rental companies. Some parking lots might try to be monopolistic, but they would tend to get squeezed out in favor of cheaper lots where competition drives down the prices.
Thus wasting the energy to get the cars back and forth. And requiring someone's job to be driving cars around and presumably taking public transportation a lot, which is time-consuming in a large city.
Plausibly, the car rental companies would also have their own parking lots for periodic car maintenance and other various reasons. But these could be located on less expensive land outside of cities.
How much is a parking place in Manhattan? Did you know that parking spots in Manhattan are actually rented?
In any case, parking lot owners always have their regular business of directly selling parking spots to individual customers. They can flexibly reserve some spots for traditional customers while letting car rental companies use other spots (on a first come first serve basis).
Why underground? How much less space does a battery-swap location take than even a bare-bones car rental agency?
A battery swap location is a special purpose facility with robotic hardware, maybe underground.
A better solution would be improving public transportation and making it more desirable, frankly, but Americans aren't very excited by that prospect. Because Americans are emotionally invested in their cars. Consider the success of the bumper sticker industry.
People with electric commuting cars could ge to and from work every day. As long as the range of the battery is good enough for most purposes, it's a good solution--but only if there's a convenient option for those cases where they want or need to go farther.
That's because you've decided it is and aren't looking at all the inherent problems.
I see on demand short term car rental as a perfectly viable solution for that.
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