But what’s the future for the technology needed to power these cars? In particular, can the industry really expect in the coming years an electric car battery that is not only economical, but delivers the performance needed to make these cars a common site on the streets?
This was the topic of a recent roundtable discussion held by The Kavli Foundation with Seth Fletcher, Senior Editor at Popular Science, and two researchers in the field – Clare Grey at the University of Cambridge and Jeff Sakamoto at Michigan State University.
According to Fletcher, the dynamics for innovation are falling into place. “A few years ago there were essentially no electric cars on the road in the United States,” said Fletcher, who is also the author of “Bottled Lightning: Superbatteries, Electric Cars, and the New Lithium Economy." “Now there are several thousand that people actually own, which is completely different than in the 1990s when people were leasing EV1s. Think about it: GM leased 800 EV1s over the course of three years. Last year alone, GM sold nearly 8,000 Volts.”
Better battery technology for powering these vehicles also looks promising. “There is much good work going on,” according to Jeff Sakamoto, Assistant Professor in Michigan State University's Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. “Some of it is focused on exploring new battery configurations and chemistries. One, referred to as a 'solid state' battery, uses a solid ceramic electrolyte that can replace current, flammable liquid electrolytes. Other potentially interesting though challenging areas include research on lithium-air batteries. Researchers are also exploring how different electrode materials, particularly silicon, might be used to improve battery performance.”
Another innovative direction is redox flow batteries. “Basically, these batteries pump an electrolyte solution or powder in and out of the battery,” said Clare Grey, Professor in the University of Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry. “Most batteries today are closed, sealed systems, so you’re limited to the electrons you have in a contained space. Flow batteries get rid of that limitation…And more electrons out means cars with longer ranges.”
In 2011, Grey received The Royal Society’s Kavli Medal and Lecture for work that included groundbreaking in situ studies on batteries and fuel cells. Grey recently noted that not only the technology is promising; incentives are changing in countries like the United Kingdom so the industry itself is invested in the success of these cars. “[In Europe,] emissions are regulated across each manufacturer’s fleet of vehicles. So as a result, BMW and Mercedes… are really pushing their electric and hybrid vehicle programs to reduce their fleets’ overall emissions. …And the good thing is, people are buying these cars. At the high-end of the market, it seems, people don’t mind paying a bit extra for electric or hybrid vehicles. In the most optimistic scenario that demand will eventually trickle down into the lower-end markets as well."
For the complete discussion, visit: http://www.kavlifoundation.org/science-spotlights/charging-auto-industryJames Cohen, Director of Communications
James Cohen | Newswise Science News
3D scans for the automotive industry
16.01.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Improvement of the operating range and increasing of the reliability of integrated circuits
09.11.2016 | Technologie Lizenz-Büro (TLB) der Baden-Württembergischen Hochschulen GmbH
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration
"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...
Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.
Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
16.01.2017 | Information Technology
16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering