New approaches aim to charge up consumer interest in electric …

8 Мар 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи New approaches aim to charge up consumer interest in electric … отключены
Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)

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A persistent problem with making electric cars attractive to the general public has been how to build one with sufficient range to be marketable without using prohibitively heavy and expensive batteries. New battery technologies and electric refuelling options offer some hope of getting around this problem.

Lead acid batteries — the type used for years to power the starter, lights and accessories in gas-powered cars — are just too heavy to be suitable for electric cars designed for long-distance travel, says Michael Bergeron, vice-president of engineering at Zenn Motor Co. a Toronto maker of low-speed electric cars for city use.

The ZENN electric car seats two people and is roughly the size of a Mini-Cooper. ((Courtesy ZENN Motor Company))

Zenn uses lead-acid batteries in its Low Speed Vehicle, which is available in Quebec where it may be driven on roads with speed limits of 50 kilometres per hour or less (so far no other Canadian province has approved its sale), and through about 25 retailers in several U.S. states, but Bergeron says lead-acid batteries needed to support highway speeds and distances would weigh too much.

That’s why Zenn has a 3.8 per cent stake in EEStor Inc. a secretive Cedar Park, Tex. company trying to develop battery alternatives using ultracapacitors. Traditional capacitors can store small amounts of energy — one of their uses is maintaining power in battery-powered devices while batteries are changed — but not enough to compete with batteries. Ultracapacitors store much more energy, and can be recharged more times than batteries before wearing out.

Zenn hopes to use ultracapacitors from EEStor in a future product called the CityZenn that would have a 400-kilometre range and a 125-kilometre-per-hour top speed.

But while EEStor says it has made some progress, prompting Zenn recently to announce plans to increase its stake in the company to between 6.2 and 10.5 per cent, it doesn’t have a commercial product yet, and no public independent tests have verified its claims about its technology.

Lithium ion

An alternative technology getting attention today is the lithium ion battery, a technology increasingly common in cellphones and computers.

Tesla Motors Inc. of San Carlos, Calif. chose lithium ion for its Roadster, a $109,000 electric sports car that can run about 400 kilometres on a charge and has a top speed of a sizzling 200 kilometres per hour.

Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)

Lithium ion technology has the best combination of density and cycle time, says Michael van der Sande, Tesla’s senior vice-president of sales, service and marketing. This means it delivers the most power for its weight and is reasonably quick to charge.

A selection of all-electric cars:

Up to 400 km on a full charge.

Top speed of 185 km/h.

Battery uses ferrous ion.

For sale in China in late 2009. 

Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)
Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)
Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)
Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)
Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)
Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)
Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)
Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)
Eliica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car)

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