E-Car Range Booster

The writing is, as they say, “On the wall.” Electric car sales are already climbing at phenomenal rates.  Some countries have even set deadlines, at which time gas-powered vehicles will no longer be allowed.

Four years ago, I bought an electric SMART car. Partially because I wanted to see what it was like to drive an electric car.  And partially because I like convertibles and SMART seems to be the only electric convertible.  (I also like the fact that SMART is owned by Mercedes, whose safety standards are more stringent than U.S. government standards.)

A few years ago, Tesla drove one of their cars coast-to-coast, demonstrating that sufficient recharge stations already existed for them to do so. And thousands are being added every year.  (My SMART car, however, does not have the soft, comfortable drive to which we’re all accustomed.  Thus, I wouldn’t use it for long highway trips – even with a supply of Preparation H.)  So … here’s the new research report, with a few comments from me afterwards.

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Electric Car Range May Soon Triple,

Thanks to New Research, Tesla

In Brief:

A major difficulty in electric vehicle adoption is their battery capacity and range. One new study could help us potentially triple electric car range, hopefully supporting the global break from fossil fuels.

 

Battery Breakthroughs

As increasingly more companies and governments move to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, it is becoming apparent that electric car ranges must be further increased. We must expand battery life and output in order to both contend with and surpass gas-powered vehicles. To contend with this necessity, companies like TeslaToshibaPanasonic, and Samsung are making great strides in improving range and battery capacity, but all have yet to fully surpass significant hurdles.

However, a new paper by researchers at the University of Waterloo claims that the use of negative electrodes made of lithium metal could “dramatically increase battery storage capacity,” which could in turn drastically improve capabilities of electric-powered vehicles.

The paper, published in the journal Joule, details how scientists added a compound made up of phosphorus and sulfur elements to the electrolyte liquid, which carries charge within batteries. The team claims that this compound reacts with the lithium metal electrode in a battery to “spontaneously coat it with an extremely thin protective layer.” This protection, supposedly, allows for the use of lithium metal electrodes within batteries, which adds greater storage capacity, without risks or degradation.

This improvement could triple the range of these nascent vehicles.

 

Electric Revolution

On a small scale, this breakthrough may increase capacity of batteries and battery systems. But, if these are implemented in electric vehicles, it wouldn’t just be a slight improvement to the technology. Battery capacity and range are currently the Achilles’ heel of the energy revolution that are keeping electric cars in second place to fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

So, not only could this development give a major boost to electric vehicle technology, it could ultimately have a definitive impact on the environment and the continued efforts against the progression of climate change. If, or when, electric cars become the primary vehicles on the road, emissions could be drastically reduced, bettering our chances of continued survival on planet Earth.

 

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When the horseless carriage replaced horse-drawn carriages, buggy whips were doomed to gradually fade from existence. The same trend is true for fossil fuel-powered vehicles.  It’s not a matter of “if” but of “when.”  And whenever some technology is on a strong upswing – as thin-screen TV was as soon as it gained market acceptance – then many manufacturers and investors pour their money and energy into that growing technology, as that’s where their profits lie.  Improvements in the product follow. And costs usually go down, as well.

As the cost for creating recharge stations is far less than it was for building gas stations, the supportive infrastructure will likely fall into place much faster than when we built gas stations. We’re already seeing more and more gas stations vanish.  And we’re seeing more and more recharge stations popping up … in parking garages, in parking lots, in highway rest stops, and on and on.  As recharge stations have no negative environmental impact whatever, permitting is easy, and they can be built very quickly.

As you can evidently get an 80% recharge in about 20 minutes – while you use the restroom and get a cup of coffee – you can be on your way again in about the same time a it takes to refill a gas tank.

The big picture, as the article states, is the reduction of the emissions that cause global warming. We’ll also be reducing the emissions in urban areas that cause vast increases in respiratory disease.  However, at an individual scale – you and me simply driving wherever we want to go – e-cars growth, besides being fun to drive and far less costly to operate and maintain, means their resale value will likely be far higher than for any gas car.

Why buy a used car that’s obsolete?

The coming new batteries are another welcome step in living sustainably.

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