Flogging A (Battery-Driven) Dead Horse
Noseweek|September 2020
Why plug-in vehicles are not all they’re cracked up to be– and, likely, never will be
Nigel Fox

A scandinavian electric vehicle company is expected to showcase a prototype electric truck later this year. This “state-of-the-art” design will have a range of 160km and a top speed of 80km/h. Wow! That’s a similar performance to a battery-powered milk delivery truck of the 1960s.

Not much progress after more than 50 years. And it doesn’t address the charge barrier that all battery-powered vehicles face – that is the time taken to fully charge the battery and for how long and how far it will power the vehicle.

The Tesla Model S has a top speed of around 250km/h, a range of 600km, and an acceleration of 3.7 seconds to 100km/h. Impressive. But there’s still the battery charge barrier. It’s a genuine Catch 22.

There won’t be enough public fast-charging stations until more people buy electric cars, which they’re not going to do because there aren’t enough public fast-charging stations.

We won’t mention the other problem of potential electricity grid interruptions that used to be unthinkable until the advent of load-shedding.

All those decades of furious research by huge corporations and still no massively significant success. The technology pot for batteries has long been emptied but researchers and engineers are still licking it out looking for marginal performance increases. Are there really no groundbreaking alternatives?

Prolific inventor and vacuum cleaner mogul, Sir James Dyson, launched an R50 billion electric car plant in Singapore for vehicles based on solid-state batteries which reputedly offer faster recharge, higher voltage, and longer cycle life.

That project was shut down in October 2019 because it was “not commercially viable”.

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