Oct 162011

Going Electric because you Care

Imagine you’ve just bought a new all-electric car. You care about the environment and you also care about reducing your ever-rising fuel bill. You don’t care about having a car that does 0-60 miles per hour in less than eight seconds and you’ve checked to make sure there are electric charging stations in your area, and indeed across the country. In other words, this new way of driving and using energy to get around fits your greener lifestyle.

30 Minutes to Re-Charge

Except on one key point – every time you want to recharge your new electric car you have to wait around for half an hour for it to charge. Of course, you could just charge it overnight but that hardly affords any kind of range. What if you wanted to drive to the tip of Scotland or go on a long trip across Europe? The point is that the gap between traditional petrol and diesel vehicles and electric ones in terms of how long it takes to refuel remains a large one. And the key to getting drivers to switch to electric is showing them that vehicles that have to be charged are really no different from those that need a new tank of petrol.

Charging reduced to 10 Minutes

Thankfully this key problem that has plagued eco cars from the start of their very existence looks to be one significant step closer thanks to a new way of charging batteries developed by Nissan and engineers at Kansai University in Japan. By changing carbon to tungsten oxide and vanadium oxide on the inside of the capacitors developers have found the charger could safely take a higher level of power meaning a process that until recently has taken 30 minutes now takes about 10 minutes.

Charging time close to a Fuel Re-Fill

That represents a huge difference. Instead of waiting impatiently around for the battery to charge for half an hour, 10 minutes is getting very close to the amount of time it takes to put petrol in a tank. And even though it’s still longer, 10 minutes is manageable for even the most impatient driver.

Petrol must be added to increase the range

The tests were carried out on Nissan’s electric vehicle the Leaf, the world’s first mass-market fully electric vehicle, which can do between 73 miles and 100 miles on one full charge. That’s still a lot by electric vehicle standards. The Chevy Volt, like many electric cars, can do just 40 miles on one charge and as such has a petrol engine. And that’s the key point. The limited range of electric batteries means petrol engines still have to be added to many vehicles to make them marketable. But this new, faster charger could change all that.

Chevrolet Volt - Electric Car

Chevrolet Volt - Electric Car

Were going to have to wait for this technology

The bad news is that this technology is not expected for some time, in fact not for 10 more years, meaning that in the meantime electric car buyers will be forced to sit and wait in their eco-friendly vehicles while the battery takes half an hour to charge back up. Still, the implications of this technology could be massive. Like many things that happen in the green car world, we’re just going to have to wait for a while longer.

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