The Three ‘Game Changing’ Electric Vehicle Technologies
Next year could well be the year of the electric vehicle; with millions of them reaching the market. But it’s key technologies that are at the heart of them going mainstream…
‘Charge Point Anxiety’
Not too long ago, industry analysts suggested that it was ‘range-anxiety’ that prevented drivers from embracing electric vehicles (EVs). In essence, this was the fear that the maximum charge of the vehicles would prove insufficient for most journeys; opening the door to being effectively stranded. Over the last decade, however, battery technology has improved and total ranges as a result. Many models now easily offer between 200 – 300 miles in real-world conditions. Given that the average mileage for most Brits is between 25 – 30 miles a day, we can see how a problem has been surmounted.
The shift now, however, has gone from range-anxiety to a ‘charge point anxiety’. This specifically concerns fears around precisely where one can top up; made worse by the fact that nearly every provider requires a different app in order for their infrastructure to be used. But it also naturally concerns a lack of options and availability, especially outside of urban areas. Consequently, most innovation surrounding EVs concerns charging technologies designed to reduce consumer anxieties around infrastructure.
A major problem concerning electric vehicle technology is the total amount of energy required to charge them. There are over 30 million motor vehicles in the UK. Imagine the strains placed upon the power-grid if even a quarter of drivers made the transition to zero-emission vehicles! The situation, frankly, would require major changes and investment. One solution, however, is vehicle-to-grid technology and ‘smart charging’. The idea is simple. Your electric car isn’t just a recipient of electricity, it can also be a provider. Via smart charging technology, power could be siphoned off from plugged-in EVs when they don’t need it; allowing it to be used elsewhere. It’d also prevent the system from being overloaded at peak times; say the late afternoon and evening when people finish work. Costing can also play a part, too, with off-peak times being cheaper for drivers.
If you’ve got a smart phone (if you don’t, how’s the 20th century?) you’ve probably come across wireless charging. This does precisely what it says on the tin. But the concept can be used to charge far more than an iPhone. Without going into the gritty science, it works via magnetic induction. But by dispensing with lengthy and cumbersome wiring, it’ll make it easier to install more charging points and in more accessible ways. This is important, as some drivers EV have literally been forced to charge the cars via wiring hanging out of their homes’ windows! The safety benefits are obvious. But it should also make it easier for private companies and local authorities to make charging points more widely available; not to mention easier to use.
The 3-Minute Charge
How long does it take to re-fuel a diesel or petrol car? Well, it depends on how empty the tank is and how big it is in the first place. Either way, it’d be difficult to find a personal vehicle that takes longer than five minutes to top up. As for EVs, they take a bit longer; in fact, they can take much longer depending on the charger in question. A slow charger will take all night, whereas others will take around 30 – 50 minutes. Electric vehicle technologies, then, are being designed to greatly reduce the time the charging process takes. BMW and Porsche have produced a 450 kW charger that can top an EV up by 62 miles in just three minutes.
Not bad, right? The problem is the voltage is too powerful for practically every EV currently on the market; so, in many respects, EVs themselves aren’t keeping up with battery and charging tech. So it’ll take time for the full benefits to be felt. Either way, it won’t be long until it takes ten minutes or less to fully charge your EV.
The End Of Range Anxiety: New EV Batteries Can Cover 600 Miles – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/new-ev-batteries/
RAC Takes The Fight To Range Anxiety With Mobile Chargers – https://www.autoservefleet.co.uk/latest-news/range-anxiety-mobile-chargers/