10 December 2010

Battery Technology Update

An electric car is comparable to, or superior, in almost every way but one to a conventional gasoline or diesel powered vehicle with an internal combustion engine. Their flaw is their limited range. They are mechanically simplier. They have no emissions other than those associated with generating electricity in the power grid at a central power plant which can be upgraded to be greener. The infrastructure necessary to put charging stations in places where they are needed in not particularly expensive. They perform essentially the same as a conventional vehicle. Tney are quiet. The electricity necessary to power one is much cheaper per mile than a comparable gasoline or electric vehicle. They reduce the need for imports of petroleum that account of half of all U.S. imports, drive the trade deficit and weaken the U.S. hand in geopolitical circles.

Electric cars have just one serious problem. Their batteries have a range much shorter than a conventional gasoline or electric powered vehicle and they take much longer to recharge than it doesto recharge a conventional vehicle. Also, batteries are expensive and cost a considerable amount to replace, which ust be done every five to ten years. The future of the electric car (and a host of other portable electric technologies from laptop computers to cell phones to electric law mowers and power tools rely on state of the art battery technologyl

There is room for optimism on this front. New fuel cell technologies may reduce their cost by replacing platinum with gold (also here).

Progress is being made towards making lithium batteries that store ten times as much energy as the current versions. This would allow an electric car to have the same range as an conventional cars with half as many batteries, greatly reducing the cost of the car.

Electric buses four times as efficient as existing buses are also in the works. Electric propulsion fo vehicles is a technology that scales from motorcycles to large trains and everything in between, very well.

1 comment:

Mishalak said...

The bus article seemed on the old side. There is a later Science Daily article indicating deliveries of the bus by 2009. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/07/080728192944.htm Going to the Fisher Coachworks website linked in the article it seems they still have not delivered a bus yet, though they have a driving prototype.