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Old 08-28-2010, 09:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Easing the Race to extended range Electric Vehicles

Aside from availability, one of the biggest objections to me purchasing an electric vehicle is range. No doubt with time and enough pressure on the gov that will change, however, is anyone working on alternative complimentary technology?

For example, wireless power transfer? I can forsee a trememndous benefit to being able to charge your electric vehicle as you drive long distances. Yes I understand they can never be efficient enough to prevent drainage and indefinately extend your range, but this does open the possibility of being able to charge your vehicle with out plugging it in or while stopped.

And depending on future storage capability extend your range by x percentage.

I found a wiki article on the subject called Wireless Energy transfer, but I also wanted to get your opinions on the subject and its potential future in the auto industry.

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Old 08-28-2010, 10:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The issue is infrastructure, sending power over air is hard, most systems use magnets or electric coils, to build these into roads would cost $$$$$$. Also the distance is only good to about 3 inches. that makes for tight clearness and even at the distance the power loss is over 20%.

Until they figure a way to get power to move over long distances (over 10' with under 5% loss) it will not happen.

Another thing is how to only send it where you want. Voltage wants to go to ground, it will short out all sorts of thing (any electronics) not to mention you heart.

when those things work it will happen.
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I agree with weather spotter, wireless power transfer is not workable with current technology. I do remember some people doing work on wireless power transfer using microwaves however in all current technologies the losses are incredibly large therefore making it unworkable.

Since you ask about other range extending technologies there are a few out there I have heard of.
One I did a feasibility study on was a model that involves swapping out batteries packs at service stations. This means you would have a car that can do for example 100 miles using lithium batteries. It is relatively small and light but it will get you to work and back and you can charge it over night. When you go on long trips you can go to a service station part way along your trip drive onto a automatic swapping mechanism in the service station. It swaps your electrically depleted battery pack for a fully charged battery and your on your way again for another 100 or so miles.
A big problem with current EV cars is that most consumers want 400 mile capacity between fill ups / charges so the battery packs are large and heavy, this is one method that can make the technology more feasible. For more info have a look at this website Better Place | The Global Provider of EV Networks and Services. it is promoting the technology

Another method which I think is coming out in some production electric cars soon or already is a complementary onboard generator. So you get some small distance from your normal EV charge but when you run out of power the car switches on the generator and you keep going. The generator I assume runs on standard petrol.
This technology has the benefit that you aren't idling at lights ever, you get engine off coasting for free. But you do have the added losses of generator inefficiency and battery charging inefficiencies.
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Wireless power transfer is a dead end, due to the expense of the transmitters and horrible inefficiency as WS mentioned.

I think the first EV that will be popularly adopted will have fast recharging, and the same range as a human bladder: 300mi at 70mph. Unfortunately, this would take either a great leap in battery density, or consumer acceptance of streamlining (fat chance!).

Meanwhile, PHEV's will do just fine.

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Originally Posted by saand View Post
This technology has the benefit that you aren't idling at lights ever, you get engine off coasting for free. But you do have the added losses of generator inefficiency and battery charging inefficiencies.
I'd like to note that currently existing hybrids offer these benefits.
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Old 08-29-2010, 02:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Maybe I'm not very creative or I don't have the ability to expand my horizons, but I don't really see EV's getting the same type of mileage as gas cars. Finding a battery that has 10 times the energy density of lithium will bring about a new problem: getting the energy in there. One of the beauties of the electric car is being able to charge at home. I really don't like the Leaf requiring a special outlet. I think it should plug into any outlet. If you start getting into some really monster sized energy density packs, you'll be REQUIRED to look for charging stations that could pump that many electrons into your tank in a reasonable amount of time, as it would need to deliver a serious amount of amperage that most household circuits can't handle. It seems electrics from OEM's can do 100 miles already, which is well over 3 times what the average American drives per day anyway....

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Old 08-29-2010, 02:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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most people have to come to terms with the fact that these cars are for commuting. If you're going on a 800mi road trip then plan on stopping to charge or using a gas car. Same as when they came home with the SUV, they can't put aside all the "what if" questions.

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