A few back-of-an-envelope remarks about powering electric vehicles with wind to get an idea of the scale.
Bitchy European remark: why do we need these ridiculous large cars like the Chevy Volt? With an average occupation rate of 1.25 it makes more sense to work with one or two-seater cars only. When by 2030 the electric self-driving car could very well have replaced a large part of the standard five-seater car fleet, you can order a particular car from the public pool that will suit your needs at that particular point in time.
Take the popular e-vehicle Renault Zoe:
[wikipedia.org] – Renault Zoe
Battery: 41 kWh
Range: 400 km (optimal conditions) or 300 km (real world)
So with 2017 technology you will get 75 km from 10 kWh.
Note that even the Renault Zoe is unnecessary big, in a world where most cars travel with a single passenger. Let’s assume that by 2030 single seater cars will be available that travel 120 km on 10 kWh instead of 75 km. Let’s link that number to wind energy for normal usage (Netherlands car distance average: 12,000 km/year = 1000 kWh/year). Yearly electricity production of a 5 MW offshore wind turbine: 22.8 GWh.
[adwenoffshore.com] – Adwen’S 5 MW Wind Turbine Reaches A Yearly Output of 22,8 GWH
This means that this single wind turbine can power 22,800 e-vehicles. The Netherlands currently has a (petrol) car fleet of 8 million. If we assume continued private car ownership of 8 million single seater e-vehicles, merely 320 large 5 MW offshore turbines would suffice to keep this fleet going.
In the coming few years five 700 MW offshore windparks are going to be built in the Dutch part of the North Sea, the five largest wind projects in the world. Two of these windparks would cover the private transportation needs of the Netherlands, where the Dutch rail system is already fully covered by wind energy.
There is no fundamental energy problem.
P.S. Energy efficient cars like these are far more suitable for a self-driving car future:
[deepresource] – Meet the Carver