Gas Stations of the Future: Waste Land?

A disused gas station may be a sign of the future photo

Transport Infrastructure Will Change
With the i-MIEV electric car being rolled out sooner than expected and electric vehicles like the G-Wiz and Vectrix becoming ever-more common sights on our streets, it's a good time to start figuring out what the transport infrastructure of the future will look like. Dale Vince of Ecotricity fame, who is himself building an electric car to rival the Tesla, has taken up the topic of gas stations (aka 'garages' or 'petrol stations' as we Brits call them) on his Zerocarbonista blog. After initially discussing the petrol stations of the future, and whether they will be swap shops for batteries or a collection of charging points (Dale favors charging points over swapping batteries), his latest post suggests that gas stations may in fact become all but obsolete:
"It turns out that less than 1% of all car journeys are above 100 miles. There are no figures above 150 miles, which is easily possible with today's batteries — but it would follow that it's a smaller number again. Some people talk of 200 miles being possible now — certainly in the future we can expect that. So far (far) less than 1% of cars on the road at any one time will need a filling station — as we know them.

There are 27 Million cars on the road today by the way — re-fuelled by under 10,000 petrol stations. Clearly we don't all want fuel at the same time — except when there's a scare on — otherwise that would be 2,700 car visits per garage per day. The fuel tank range of cars is a buffer, a vast rolling fuel tank. And so it will be with batteries. The big difference will be that we can fill up our cars at home and for most people (70%) and most journeys 99%+ that will be enough."

Of course these figures are based on reality in the UK, where distances between population centers are much shorter than in many other countries — but it's enough to get your average gas station owner nervous. Add to this that Dale doesn't account here for broader trends like new urbanism and increased density, more telecommuting and rapid growth in mass transit ridership and biking, and the prospect of breaking the stranglehold of big oil becomes tantalizingly plausible.

More on Dale Vince and Ecotricity
The TH Interview: Dale Vince
Dale Vince to Develop Electric Sports Car and Domestic Wind Turbine
Ecotricity and B&Q; to Erect 2MW Wind Turbine
Zerocarbonista: Dale Vince of Ecotricity Launches New Blog
A Great Britain is a Green Britain: Dale Vince Challenges Gordon Brown
Ecotricity: 20 More Urban Wind Projects Planned
On the Right Track: Lotus to Harness Wind for Greener Manufacturing
Ecotricity's 'Global Cooling Machines': Stunning Video
Popeye and Ecotricity Join Forces to Fight Climate Change

::Zerocarbonista::via site visit::

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