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Electric Vehicles Research
Posted on October 31, 2011 by  & 

Electric Mobility Conference Ljubljana Second day

Here we report on a few of the presentations on the second day of this excellent conference. Lew Fulton of the IEA projected global oil production as level for now. There is a strong need for carbon dioxide reduction and the likely sale of PEVs and PHEVs is consistent with a reasonable achievement in respect of this. He said that 40-50K plug in electric vehicles (PEV+PHEV) will be sold in 2011. The IEA target and the likely projection is 20M plug in vehicles on roads in 2020. This is only 2% of world cars and less than 1% of electricity demand but it sets the position for rapid uptake in the following decade. Either batteries improve a lot or fuel cell FCEV becomes very important.
Janes Lipus of the University of Ljubljana explained the basis for his proposed conversion of bus production in Slovenia to hybrids. He sees fuel cells as a long way away and he concentrated on gas turbine hybrids. He finds that in-wheel motors are also a long way away due to cost. He strongly prefers asynchronous motors.
Brian Price of Aston University in the UK reported on its extensive vehicle trials showing how people currently use today's pure electric cars. He pointed out that historically changes have taken a very long time, rollout of television being 63 years from the first invention. Worse, the automotive industry is particularly reluctant to change because of the high level of investment in existing technology. Only 1.3 people ride in the average car. People travel shorter distances than they say in response to questionnaires. Car pollution is mainly made during warm up.
In winter, range of PEVs was shortened somewhat and drivers reduced their use of hotel facilities to preserve range. Daily use averaged half of the battery capacity and distances and frequencies of driving were typical of a conventional vehicle. Mileage driven increased a little as familiarity increased. Charging took place every two to three days, mainly at home (often overnight but usually taking charge for only 2.5 hours or so) and somewhat at work but almost never at publicly available charging points. Some public charging points have never been used and the UK Government has therefore pulled back its investment in public charging points from 12,000 to 8,500.
Batteries are up to 50% of the car and a large part of the weight and space. Aston University calculates that 98% of desired trips can be achieved within the range of the PEV. Range anxiety moved from 100% to <20% in three months but vehicle costs were a huge deterrent. PEV cars are best for certain types of people in urban environments. Half of the sales of PEV cars in the UK and USA are to government departments, yet the UK saw only just over 600 bought last year.
Franc Polihardi of the University of Aquila in Italy reminded us that conventional car engines are heaters that convert only 30% of the fuel energy into motion. He described his theoretical modelling of thermoelectrics for energy harvesting in cars where better efficiency/ Seebeck coefficient and, conductivity and lower thermal conduction of the element are required. He concluded that it is complicated but he has a new model that correlates well with experimental data.
In answer to questions he surprised us by saying 5kW is in prospect for Automotive Thermoelectric Generators ATEGs on car engines, capturing 10% of energy. He thinks 20% efficiency could be achieved in future ATEGS.
Toyota is way ahead in electric vehicles, its activity in these having been at the multi-billion dollar level for many years, including electric forklifts, buses, vans etc. Only Toyota does massive development of electric traction motors, fuel cells, traction batteries and other key components, filing patents that are the envy of many of those seeking to supply these. The Toyota Prius hugely outsells all other electric on-road cars.
Speaker Julien Rousseau said Toyota is very keen on FCEVs with a van being prepared for launch in 2015 on the consumer propositions of saving the planet, 5 minute refuel and no range anxiety. Cost and durability are the concerns remaining but cost is already one twentieth of that in 2008 and its FC system will drop a further 50% in cost by 2015. For example, platinum use is still being reduced. Crossover on system cost for an FCEV vs. PEVs is seen as 150km range ie that typical of PEV cars today.
Solid state batteries are a priority because the wet organic electrolyte is the source of fire and power density may rise to 10,000W/liter and energy density to 1000 W/liter with the new options. LiCoO3 cathode with LiNbO3 intermediate layer and Li7P3S11 electrolyte are promising for launch in 2020. Note that this is not a lithium sulphur (cathode) battery as favoured by others as the third generation option. He discussed the plug in hybrid Prius on display that will be available in 2012 with 20km range. Huge trials continue to take place across Europe. Results are very similar to those of Aston University in the UK presented earlier. A small pure electric Toyota car will be launched next year.
Dr Peter Harrop of IDTechEx explained that innovations in EVs almost never come first in cars. He noted that there have been three key enabling technologies for EVs land, water and air - batteries (where Europe is very weak), motors and electrics/electronics but now we must add range extenders (where Europe is in the lead), supercapacitors (where Europe is very weak) and energy harvesting.
For more attend Electric Vehicles Land, Sea & Air 2012 where a large number of electric vehicle manufacturers not seen in conventional EV events will present including WheelTug aircraft electrification, MotoVolta, LLC motorbikes, SolTrac farm tractors, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute Autonomous Underwater Vehicles AUVs and manufacturers of industrial, commercial, military, e-bike, cars and other EVs.

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Posted on: October 31, 2011

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