EVs: A detailed analysis

11Jul08

Rei at Daily Kos is currently running an interesting series analyzing the economics and feasibility, as well as current state and future outlooks of electric vehicles. Rei possesses considerable technical knowledge on the subject, and is confident that EVs are the answer, based on well-backed arguments and facts.

The gist of his analysis is The economics of electric vehicles, together with an overview of the upcoming battery technologies in The battery revolution will not be televised. I’ll refer you to the articles for details, but here are some of the highlights: Apart from the fact that maintaining your EV will be much cheaper than maintaining a gasoline car, an area that holds great promise in bringing EVs up to speed with gasoline cars is fast charging. Promising battery technologies lithium phosphate and lithium titanite, from A123Systems and AltairNano respectively, both support fast charging, and on top of that are non-toxic and inherently safe.

  • A fast charging station costing $125,000 can return 8% on investment in a couple of years by attracting just 3 cars per day
  • a peer-reviewed study by the Department of Energy found that the US grid has 84% of the capacity necessary to support a transition to electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles
  • Fast-charging stations such as the PosiCharge by AeroVironment trickle-charge a battery system from the grid, and then fast-charge customer vehicles’ batteries, meaning that existing electricity distribution infrastructure can readily be utilized.

These new batteries last for thousands of cycles and are near 100% efficient, unlike the lithium-ion batteries found in today’s laptop computers. A123Systems’s batteries are currently used in some plug-in conversions of Toyota Pruises, and they are also set to be used in the upcoming Chevy Volt (due in 2010).

Further reading: An original post dating from 2005 on Green Car Congress about A123Systems technology, as well their history. Rei has also assembled a detailed wiki on electric cars that is well worth reading.

In other news, John McCain has promised a $300 million prize for developing a revolutionary breakthrough battery.

Update: CNN ran a story on 14 Aug. about the increasing amount of people in the US who refuse to wait for car companies, converting their cars to electric by themselves.


Did you know?

In 2010, there will be 4200km of new highways in and around Shanghai, China that didn't exist in 2000. Varese, a town in Northern Italy, runs on 100% renewable power. The town uses a mix of wind, solar and small-scale hydropower. The town has reaped benefits from the energy network through added jobs, and an additional 350,000 euros [US $514,000] in revenues that are handed over to the council each year.

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