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Battery-electric Road Vehicles and Energy Infrastructure

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Russell Ault:

--- Quote from: Tim Halligan on June 03, 2021, 08:26:47 PM ---The current fossil-fuelled vehicle paradigm is one that we all know very well: you pull up next to the pump, fill your tank, pay the cashier, then drive off with the capacity for however many kilometres of travel before needing to repeat the process. The whole refuelling procedure takes 5 minutes...10 tops.

Until EV's can deliver that kind of charging paradigm they will be a non-starter in many people's minds.

Hydrogen fuel cell equipped vehicles - whilst still a relatively new product - allow us to continue with the paradigm we are all familiar with, and as such may change a few minds along the way.

--- End quote ---

Ultimately I would guess that, as has happened so many times before, economics is what will encourage people to accept the end of the old refuelling paradigm. Faster charging is always more expensive (and that includes hydrogen fuel cell technology, which has been around for nearly two centuries in some form or other but has never managed to overcome the difficulties of storing and transporting pure hydrogen—a substance that makes gasoline look like water); there are applications where that expense can be worth it, but for most people it probably isn't (and people will do almost anything to save a little money). Besides, for a lot of people (particularly in places where single-family housing is the norm) the old paradigm is significantly less convenient than what overnight home charging offers.

Of course, this all assumes that individual car ownership will continue to be the norm. Driving is already one of the most expensive ways to get from point A to point B (especially once externalities like roadway capacity and parking are factored in), and I wonder at what point that cost becomes higher than people are willing to bear.


--- Quote from: Matthias McCready on June 03, 2021, 08:45:03 PM ---Check out Pumped-storage hydroelectricity :-)  {...}

--- End quote ---

This has real potential for utility-scale storage (although it's only viable in places that aren't already running out of land and/or water), but unfortunately doesn't address the storage-in-transit problem.

One of the biggest selling points of fossil fuels (and petroleum in particular) is their ability to store a phenomenal amount of energy in a package that is a trifecta of small, light-weight, and stable. Nothing we've come up with comes close to achieving more than one or two of these properties (and, frustratingly, the closer we seem to get on the density/specific energy front the further we get from stability, as evidenced by the number of electronics products over the last few years that have been recalled for spontaneously combusting). This is why electric airplanes are such a challenge (and why research is being done to find economical ways to take captured CO2 and turn it back into jet fuel...although if you think the US has electricity distribution problems now, just remember that, in 2019, replacing jet fuel joule-for-joule with electricity would have consumed something like a quarter of all the electricity produced in the whole country).

-Russ

Bob Faulkner:
I'm not a battery expert, but have come across a couple of things.

Until the battery industry can fix the "memory" related issues with batteries, I'm still opting for the internal combustion engine.  However, I think capacitors are a much better option for energy storage and would consider an EV if it used capacitors (vs. Li-Ion).  Some dash-cams use capacitors.

Regarding slow charging of EV batteries, this is exactly what they need to ensure a full charge.  Fast-charging of batteries is convenient, but it reduces the capacity of the battery over a "not to long" time (think cell phone).

John Roberts {JR}:
This is actually a mature discussion... I think Nicolas Tesla (the real Tesla) had the right idea with wireless transmission of electricity (I don't think he perfected that). My more pedestrian alternative is conductive tires and roads so cars can lose the heavy batteries and suck power from the roadways as needed. I understand in some EU cities they are experimenting with induction coils buried under the roadway to charge up vehicle batteries but they are focusing on public transportation (buses).

I am old so this is academic to me... I continue to be impressed by the energy in a few ounces of gasoline used by my chain saw to make sawdust. We are crazy to not use fossil fuels while they are so cheap and so plentiful. We are also ignorant to not pursue newer generation nuclear power technology.

I hear that my local power utility is tearing down the clean (cough) coal power plant they built at great expense, and we rate payers are still on the hook for the bill. The federal government thought it was a great idea (thanks). My utility will continue making electricity with NG.

JR

Russell Ault:

--- Quote from: Bob Faulkner on June 03, 2021, 09:45:53 PM ---{...} Until the battery industry can fix the "memory" related issues with batteries, I'm still opting for the internal combustion engine. {...}

--- End quote ---

One of the major selling-points of Li-ion battery chemistry is that it doesn't suffer from a memory effect. Of course Li-ion batteries degrade over time, but keeping them charged near the middle of their capacity drastically slows this process.


--- Quote from: Bob Faulkner on June 03, 2021, 09:45:53 PM ---{...} However, I think capacitors are a much better option for energy storage and would consider an EV if it used capacitors (vs. Li-Ion). {...}

--- End quote ---

It's certainly an appealing idea, and I'm sure research is being done in this area, but at present the most advanced supercapacitors on the market have less than 1/10th the specific energy of a Li-ion battery.


--- Quote from: John Roberts {JR} on June 03, 2021, 09:50:55 PM ---This is actually a mature discussion... I think Nicolas Tesla (the real Tesla) had the right idea with wireless transmission of electricity (I don't think he perfected that). My more pedestrian alternative is conductive tires and roads so cars can lose the heavy batteries and suck power from the roadways as needed. I understand in some EU cities they are experimenting with induction coils buried under the roadway to charge up vehicle batteries but they are focusing on public transportation (buses). {...}

--- End quote ---

I think the big challenge here is that transmitting lots of electricity (whether wirelessly or wired) is hard to do safely if there are people nearby. Obviously rail-based modes of transportation have it easier in this regard, but I'll be interested to see how those in-road induction coils work out.

-Russ

Jeff Bankston:
great for going to and from a stage at a large concert

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