Nikola, a start-up that has focused on hydrogen and battery-powered heavy-duty trucks, isn’t offering many details about the new technology and, considering that other promised breakthroughs have failed to prove production ready, there are plenty of skeptics. Even if it does pan out, tech consultancy ABI Research warns it would likely take several years, at the soonest, to begin manufacturing.
They claim – indirectly – that their battery would extend the range of EVs to 750 miles . Specifically, they say that with 2,000 charge/discharge cycles, their battery is good for 1.5 million miles. 1.5 million divided by 2,000 is 750 miles.
As a practical matter, while ICE vehicles do exceed 500,000 miles life, at times, I wonder what the typical max lifetime mileage of an EV will be? Keep in mind that besides motors and batteries, there are other things that fail over time, including interior finishing, steering wheel covers, controls, window seals, etc. Still, if their claims are true, this implies excellent range and long lifetime battery banks.
Similarly, IBM recently announced a claimed breakthrough in battery tech made from common materials and enabling extremely fast charging. But as with Nikola, no details have been provided.
This trend is important and is apparently invisible. Oregon and Utah have launched optional vehicle gas or license fees based on miles traveled rather than a fixed annual fee. (A problem with this method is they charge you for miles traveled out of state too.)
Some news reports suggest a per mile charge is needed because of better gas mileage vehicles but miss that people are driving driving less.
This graphic, from the International Energy Agency, illustrates the lifetime CO2 equivalent emissions from different types of vehicles. “BEV” is a battery electric vehicle with a 400 km range, HEV is a hybrid (like Prius), PHEV is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. This chart assumes the GHG emissions from electricity generation plants are in line with the global average. (FCEV is a fuel cell/hydrogen based system.)
Notably, BEVs are NOT zero emission vehicles and are, in general, on par with PHEVs and Prius-like hybrids when viewing their overall lifecycle emissions.
The IEA’s model assumes similar sized vehicles in each category, that the EVs have a 400 km range (this determines the battery size), and that local electrical generation emits the global average CO2-equivalent for electricity generation. If the EV range were to be extended by 200 km more, add in the gray zone box above the EV column.
An average battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars using electricity characterised by the current global average carbon intensity (518 grammes of carbon-dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour [g CO2-eq/kWh]) emit less GHGs than a global average ICE vehicle using gasoline over their life cycle. But the extent ultimately depends on the power mix: CO2 emissions savings are significantly higher for electric cars used in countries where the power generation mix is dominated by low-carbon sources. In countries where the power generation mix is dominated by coal, hybrid vehicles exhibit lower emissions than EVs.
The link, below, is a year old but still good information. Electric motor cycles for city and off road use are interesting. Many are speed limited (e.g. 45-50 mph) or range limited (e.g. 70 miles), but many are also inexpensive.
Some have swappable batteries. This is important for those who – say – live in an apartment and do not have easy access to charging where they park their bike. Just carry the battery pack inside.
Some have range extension options, such as an optional second battery, or plans for future, larger capacity batteries.
Some of the electric motorcycles are priced inexpensively ($2500-$4500) while some are silly – US $30,000 for an electric motorcycle? Seriously?
How many pounds of Lithium batteries do we need to replace 10 gallons of gasoline? We can calculate this out and find that we need about 1,700 pounds of Lithium-based batteries to replace about 10 gallons of fuel because of the much higher energy density of gasoline.
Some people think they should buy carbon offsets to reduce their environmental impact.
Others think that by switching to an EV, they will reduce their CO2-emissions.
And of course, some think that by installing solar PV panels, they will cut their CO2-emissions.
The reality is far more complicated. In some cases, buying an EV may increase your overall lifetime CO2 emissions especially when your electrical utility produces most or all of its electricity by burning coal and other fossil fuels. Similarly, installing solar PV panels when your utility is already 100% greenhouse free will likely increase your lifetime emissions of CO2. How? Because of the GHGs emitted during the solar PV panel manufacturing and installation and ultimately, not offsetting any GHGs because your utility is already GHG emission free.
Most people are oblivious to product’s lifetime GHG emissions, ignoring that for most products, the greatest production of GHG emissions is during the product’s manufacturing.
Nice overview of EV charging including 110v AC, 220-240v AC, and several charging network options including super fast chargers available at third party charging stations.
Range anxiety is one of the top two reasons consumers are buying an EV. The other is prices, which are high relative to other vehicle options.
The availability of charging options also depends heavily on where you live. I live in rural city. Traveling to the east, it is 120 miles to the next charger and there is only a single Level 2 charger located there. It is another 100 miles from there to the next available charger, also a Level 2. Fortunately there are more options at that location, 220 miles away.
But there’s not much over about 220 miles of Eastern Oregon (and no cell phone service over much of that too). EV travel in rural areas may be tough, although some EV drivers rent a space at RV campgrounds and plug into 220 receptacles (for those that support this).
By comparison, if I travel west, its about 150 miles to the next big city but there are several charging options along the route.
Larger cities, of course, have many charging options available. But note that the brown stations, on the map above, are Tesla stations and those are not available for non-Tesla EVs. Consequently, depending on your EV model, there may not be as many actual charging stations as the maps imply.
While I think EVs are cool and I would like to have one, the range problem and lack of charging options in the areas I travel are keeping me from EVs for now.
Business, Tech, Energy, Transporation, Thinking
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