Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Are Electric Cars Practical?


Batteries Not Included

Are Electric Cars practical?  Regular readers will know my answer to date is NO. I get sarky with Nissan hype here: http://wood-pellet-ireland.blogspot.com/2010/06/nissan-turn-new-leaf.html

What about the BIG Savings?

Only for city dwellers are current electric vehicles EVs of any practical use. Even then, the cost of the battery pack is a joke - a bad joke, and the charge capacity per litre of space to date would mean you would need to fill up most of the passenger areas with batteries to complete any decent round trip. Battery replacements costs would cut well into your gas savings, and I am not sure too many experts have properly costed this into the equation.

I can do around 650+ miles on a fill in my 2L ford diesel. You would be lucky to get 150 miles from a fully charged EV.

What's the Problem?

I have been writing about the re-birth of the electric car;
and about what will cause that re-birth to take place. I am, of course, talking about the new breed of battery that we all have been waiting for. Waiting is the operative word here. It is like a 4 year old waiting for Santa in June!

Some of the Players

Ecolocap, FluidicEnergy, Next Alternative and EEstor are four development companies that I have been following for some time.

EEstor especially have been trumpeting loudly about their fab new battery, but not a single piece of hard evidence, not a glimpse, not a smell, not a drawing, SFA to suggest their hype and publicity is anything but hot air!!

Ecolocap published some very impressive “Independent” testing figures on their claim for a truly extraordinary leap forward in battery technology, there has been talk of factories in India and Korea - but has anyone handled one of their batteries or fitted a pack into car and road-tested it?

Nothing either from Next Alternative on their Nano Lead Acid super-battery all gone real quiet there also.

FluidicEnergy are just a bit different, (1) they got two separate US government grants, not too many double whammies are given out - just like that! Either they are very cosy partners with someone high up, or they are on to something and have shown enough to get the action. (2) The have not fuelled the whisper mill, blown the mega trumpet, or wound up the spin-doctoring machines. (3) AFAIK They are a group of researchers, NOT bankers and investors.

I have been in touch with Fluidic Energy and while they are not playing the sort of games some of the other would appear to be playing, they are not releasing the goods - on the goods for fear of being ripped off - till the fat lady sings.

So When is Santa Coming Daddy?

So when will we see a proper, high capacity, reasonably priced, long lasting EV battery? You know, that has been on a sliding scale, especially with EEstor, for a good many years. Like the old saying goes; “Tomorrow never comes”



dad-everyone behave! said...

EEStor has patents and other compelling indications that they may have what they claim.

Richard said...

Hot air? That would be enough for a Stirling engine, I think.

Cold air seems like enough for a serious range and is electric plug refillable too. Is that a compressed air battery? It doesn't degrade with many charging and discharging cycles and it's physics but not chemistry nor electricity in its storage form.

And I like the three wheel ultra-light two passenger hybrid that gets 200 mpg, (projected). It's going for an X-Prize, from Canada. Maybe you could run it on oil from recycled plastic wastes.