Friday, August 15, 2008

How to power an electric car.

Electric cars are not functional at the moment because of concerns about the range of the battery and the time it takes to recharge. Both of these problems are issues because we make the batteries integral to the cars. If the batteries were changeable (pop one out and a new one in), it would not be an issue at all. Just like you have gas stations now, you'd have battery stations then. Battery runs low? Pop in a new one!

The trouble is, this would require infrastructure, and no one wants to invest in infrastructure because no one wants to be on the losing end of a format war. This, to me, seems to be a legitimate government market-intervention. Get the industry representatives together, have them decide what kind of battery cars are going to have, and make it an industry-wide standard. Every car would run with the same battery--which would make it worthwhile to create battery stations around the country to change the battery. The infrastructure will be built piecemeal otherwise.

That's how you make an electric car and make it work.

4 Comments:

Blogger Yoel Natan said...

Well, it could come down to that--where the govt must get involved--but lately in the news EEStor battery maker and ZEEN e-car maker say their new ceramic ultra-capacitor will give cars the power, range and instant rechargeability that will put the internal combustion engine out of business. Almost no new infrastructure would be needed, and no battery swap stations either since by the time one swaps the batteries, one could just recharge them:
http://yoelnatanbooks.blogspot.com/2008/08/new-zenn-car-promises-to-end-internal.html

11:39 AM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

one could just recharge them:

The article says that a prototype electric car (which weighs only 100 pounds, thus hardly a car), could get 200 miles on a charge, and would take 10 minutes to recharge. Though better, it's still more unwieldy than a tank of gas.

However, improved batteries doesn't mean that my solution is not workable (or necessary). The only standardization would be the size and attachments. They can improve batteries AND get them in the market stream without waiting for a car manufacturer to pick them up, which integral batteries do not.

12:08 PM  
Blogger Noumenon said...

Don't have the government mandate one battery for everyone to use -- have it mandate one interface for every battery to use. The difference is between AT&T making everyone use the same black phone (serviceable, but stagnant technology) and the breakup law mandating AT&T allow people to connect to their network with any kind of device, allowing stuff like the cordless phone and the modem.

Battery tech would leap ahead if everyone started using electric cars, so you'd want to make really sure the government wasn't picking a winner too soon.

I'd also like to know why every iPod and cell phone uses a different battery instead of standardizing -- there might be something about batteries that promotes customization to the application.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Octavo Dia said...

have it mandate one interface for every battery to use.

Weird, I had a third paragraph that didn't make it into publishing, which is why you're confused. I specifically mentioned it in my comment on Yoel's post.

7:38 PM  

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