Half the cars in the U.S.
are driven approximately 25 miles a day which means that a plug-in vehicle
with as little as a 20-mile range could reduce US petroleum fuel
consumption by over 50%. This 50% reduction is equivalent of 8 million
barrels of oil per day and would come close to eliminating the need for
the US to import crude oil.
If it is so obvious to use
electric cars, "Who Killed the Electric Car?" by filmmaker Chris Paine
asks the question why it has taken so long for the Electric Car to
dominate the US private transportation market. The reality is that current
electrical energy storage technologies like batteries and capacitors have
not had an energy density performance that is anywhere close to that of
The Pace of Development
This situation is changing
rapidly with developments in battery, capacitor and electric motors, plus light weighting of vehicles is
evolving at such a pace that the electric drive performance is on track
for parity with that of the internal combustion engine and liquid fuels.
Once these technologies
start to approach the conversion efficiencies of combustion engines, then
the advantages of electric drives are so compelling when compared to
liquid fueled drives, that customer adoption will be very rapid. Once
performance parity is achieved, it is not hard to envision electric drives
overtaking the internal combustion engine as being the primary energy
The advantages of high
density electricity storage when compared to the energy storage capability
of liquid fuels are dramatic. Once more electricity can be economically
stored per kilogram than can be stored in a kilogram of liquid fuel, this
technology breakthrough will enable us to start to abandon the internal
combustion engine in favor of electric drive.
If we continue at the
current pace of innovation, it would not be out of the question to
envision a situation where the majority of new cars, boats, scooters etc.
were powered by electric motors by the year 2015.
Vehicle to Grid
Vehicle to Grid describes a
concept where battery or hydrogen powered vehicles are hooked up to the electric grid. This
intriguing idea opens up the possibility of vehicles providing the
electricity storage capability that is currently provided by "spinning
capacity" and also providing power to homes and business in a brown or
black out situation. Hydrogen fuel cells might be the medium of storage
to overcome the problem of battery "fatigue", but comes at an energy
conversion loss penalty.
powered vehicles really suffer when you have to load the vehicle up
with a lot of heavy batteries, so putting the power in the road is an
interesting idea. Wireless charging systems use the concept of an
electric current flowing through a conductor generates a magnetic field
and this this field induces a voltage in a second conductor, even
though the two are not connected. The other way to do this is transmit
power via lasers like current UAV technology is demonstrating. Even
turning the whole road
into a solar panel might be possible and then no huge wiring project
needs to be done to bring solar power to the whole grid as the roads
are already interconnected. The enabling technology for the power to be
transmitted with virtually no energy loss is already fielded in the
form of high temperature super conducting wires.
Electric Bikes and
Transfer - Tesla's Scala Wave, Microwave Power (MPT) etc
Plug in Hybrids