The Future of the Car?
The Future of the Car?
With the launch of Honda’s hydrogen fuel cell car, we see a further development of the race for oil free motoring. Hybrid oil-electric cars, like the Toyota Prius, are only a halfway mark at best, many suggest that they are less eco friendly than turbo diesel cars.
There is almost no question in my mind about the fact that 100% electric drive cars are where the future of the automobile lies. The question outstanding is how can the electricity best be generated and/or stored in the car.
How do you think the new breed of electric car will develop? Will it be hydrogen fuel cell based? Will it perhaps be a future development of very high capacity ultra-capacitors? Will it be a further development of the lithium ion type of battery?
You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned anything about engines. That is simply because highly efficient electric motors and the control gear needed are already available. The bit of the jigsaw missing, right up to the present time, is a suitable electrical power source or battery
Old is Re-born as New!.
One of the oldest types of batteries used in cars is starting to re-emerge as a new contender in the electrical power storage field. Big, heavy, and short lived lead acid batteries were considered out of the question for providing primary drive power, that is until recently. Suddenly the lead acid battery was re-born, with a symbiotic new element incorporated into the casing – a super-capacitor. The new hybrid battery is called the – you guessed it – Ultra-Battery.
It lasts longer, costs less, and is more powerful than the current high tech batteries used in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). Initially this is the main use being made of the ultra-battery.
Tests indicate that the ultra-battery has a life at least four times longer than lead acid batteries, and produces 50% more power. It’s also about 70% cheaper than the high-tech batteries currently used in the hybrid electric cars. Ultra-Batteries would also be very suitable for renewable energy storage from wind and solar.
Nanotechnology is rapidly developing better and better ways of storing energy. It is my guess that there will need to be a move away from batteries. Batteries are chemical factories, every time they charge and discharge, there is major erosion of the elements, and there is also heat and gas build up to deal with. Capacitors, on the other hand, do not have these problems. The further development of Ultra-Capacitors could possibly displace the Ultra-Battery and all batteries as such in time. The other advantage of ultra capacitors is very rapid charging (10 minutes could charge a car – not a whole lot more than it takes to fill a tank with fuel) and very long life perhaps 10 years. The current major disadvantage is size to power ratio. Science needs to shrink the size and increase the capacity further.