Saturday, November 10, 2012

90 Minutes to Re-Charge Your EV? And They Call it a "Fast Charge?"

EV enthusiasts are attempting to paint Volvo's recent announcement in the best possible light. 90 minutes for a "fast charge" of your Volvo EV. Imagine if every time you refueled your gasoline or diesel powered auto, it took you 90 minutes!! No cigar, boys.
For those who don't know, charge time of all-electric vehicles can be a dealbreaker for the greenish technology — it can take 10 hours to charge a battery that only gets you 100 miles! Volvo's 90-minute claim is touted as six-times faster than comparable units, according to the company. The breakthrough could help spur sales.

While an hour and a half can seem like forever, with the appropriate infrastructure in place, getting a decent top-off in the parking lot at the grocery store or at the sports arena becomes a possible scenario.

Volvo is testing the technology in its Volvo C30 electric cars. No word on when it might be available to the public or costs, Earth Techling noted. _Fast Charger
Pluggable hybrids offer a lot of promise for the future, eventually. But for now? What a joke.

And yet, battery researchers continue to try to approach the energy density / power density advantages of fossil fuel powered cars:
... advanced battery makers in the United States have struggled. A123 Systems went bankrupt. Dow said its battery joint venture Dow Kokam had dropped markedly. And an LG Chem factory meant to supply batteries for the Chevrolet Volt has been built, but the factory is sitting idle, waiting for demand to pick up.

For electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to compete with gas-powered cars, battery prices need to drop by between 50 and 80 percent, according to recent estimates by the U.S. Department of Energy. Getting there might require inventing entirely new kinds of batteries, but there’s also a strong case that improvements to the lithium-ion batteries that power the current generation of electric vehicles may be enough.

...The cost for the Leaf battery could drop to under $4,000 by 2025, according to a recent study by McKinsey, just by increasing the scale of battery production, forcing down component costs through competition, and approximately doubling the energy density of batteries, which reduces materials costs.

...24M, an early-stage startup based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is taking a different approach—rather than an all-solid battery, the company is developing a cross between a battery and a fuel cell in which the battery electrodes are a sludgy liquid that can be pumped around. The energy storage material could be stored in inexpensive tanks, and then pumped into a small device to generate power (see “A Car Battery at Half the Price”). _TechnologyReview
Perhaps within the next 20 years, battery technology will advance far enough to make pluggable hybrids competitive with ordinary workaday vehicles. But so far, you really have to want one, to be willing to put up with all the hassles and expense.

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