By Bruce Mulliken
In a compromise between industry and government, the Obama Administration is set to announce a new, significantly higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard for cars and light trucks. At the outset of talks government and environmental groups wanted an average of 62 miles per gallon by 2025. Industry wanted 45. They met in
the middle at 54.5. Fuel economy for cars will have to rise 5 percent per year between 2017 and 2025 to meet the new rules. As is now, alternative fuel vehicles such as electrics would get special consideration in meeting the new CAFE.
Already Toyota, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, BMW, and Volvo have endorsed the new plan.
John Boesel, President and CEO of CALSTART, a national clean transportation technology consortium, said in a statement,”This proposed deal on light-duty vehicle efficiency standards will drive innovation and encourage investment in US startups and established automotive suppliers. This is a landmark announcement that will result in significant growth in U.S. vehicle assembly and component manufacturing jobs over the next decade. “
Remarkable in the compromise is the change in attitude by automakers in raising the standard. Between 1992 and 2010 CAFE was largely unchanged at 27.5 miles per gallon for passenger cars. After many hard fought years by government and environmental groups, in 2007 the auto industry relented to an increase to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. Now only four years later the industry is agreeing to an even greater leap.
What’s changed? Why is the industry suddenly agreeable? Oil keeps spiking and damaging car sales. The car industry can no longer rely on cheap oil to fuel trucks and SUVs. With introduction of more efficient gasoline engines, hybrids and electric cars it’s getting much easier to squeeze more miles per gallon or switch away from gasoline altogether. With rapid technology improvements even electric cars are on course to improve dramatically in coming years.
In the world of electric cars here are two technologies that could feasibly complement each other and help the auto industry easily meet the new standard: Wireless electric vehicle charging while in motion and electric vehicle batteries designed to fully recharge in minutes.
There’s more than one company working on wireless vehicle charging. Here’s a description offered by HaloIPT of the UK for its Inductive Power Transfer (IPT):
“Inductive Power Transfer (IPT) wireless charging uses strongly coupled magnetic resonance to transfer power from a transmitting pad on the ground to a receiving pad on an electric car.
“This is why an IPT wireless charging system comprises two separate elements: a primary-side power supply with track; and a secondary-side pick-up pad with controller.
“To charge, an electric car simply has to be parked or even driven over a pad. Charging is immediate, robust and reliable.”
Wireless charging is not really new. Oral-B electric toothbrushes employ wireless inductive charging. And turning up the way-back machine, GM’s EV-1 electric car used an inductive charging system. It used a paddle stuck in a slot in the nose with no direct electric connection between car and the power grid.
The HaloIPT technology seems sound enough. Cars could be fully charged while parked over a pad for long periods or pick up small charges on the fly, as it were, as the vehicle drove over many pads. However, the technology would work much better if the battery was designed from the onset to recharge very quickly. In other words charging in motion needs batteries that can be recharged in motion, even if it’s in many partial charges.
Step in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and its licensing agreement with Xerion Advanced Battery Corporation and its StructurePore technology developed by Paul Braun, Ph. D., of the Department of Materials, Science & Engineering at the university. Braun is presently an officer and director of Xerion.
From its website Xerion describes the StructurePore Technology:
“Xerion Advanced Battery, instead of focusing only on electrode material or electrolyte composition, is exploring a novel method of using nanotechnology to increase ion transport and energy extraction to produce a new electrode architecture called StructurePore. This architecture is an electrode structure on the sub-micron scale that consists of an open-celled, porous metallic lattice conformably coated with the active electrode material. The StructurePore architecture has been demonstrated with prototype batteries using both Li-ion and NiMH chemistries.
“Our current research and testing indicates, the new StructurePore architecture reduces ion and electron diffusion times inside the battery electrodes, greatly reducing the limitation of ion transport through the battery, which causes many of the performance limitations of current commercial batteries. XAB believes that fully commercialized batteries, based upon the StructurePore architecture combined with modern Li-ion battery chemistries, could display enhanced energy capacities and revolutionary power densities—dramatically reducing both charge and discharge times compared to rechargeable batteries on the market today.
“Commercialized StructurePore batteries have the potential to impact a wide range of industries. Consider the possibilities of a full laptop recharge between plane changes at the airport, an electric vehicle that could be recharged in the time it takes to currently fill your car with gas, or dramatically smaller footprints of large scale batteries for alternative energy storage, as examples.”
So, if everything went well and technologies worked as believed, the two technologies working together could create an electric transportation system where cars and trucks were recharged as they were driven with the battery storing enough energy to travel where there was no installed wireless charging system.
As a proof of concept that vehicles can be charged while in motion, HaloIPT has partnered with Drayson Racing of the UK to “pioneer the deployment of dynamic (in-motion) charging of zero emission electric vehicles. The racing cars, fitted with HaloIPT technology, will pick up power wirelessly from transmitters buried under the surface of the road or race track; transferring power directly to the vehicle’s electric battery, ensuring that the vehicle receives constant charging on the move.”
If a race car can be driven at high speed around a race track energized by power transmitters buried in the macadam, then cars crawling in traffic should be OK as well.
Lord Paul Drayson, cofounder of Drayson Racing said: “Dynamic wireless charging will be a real game-changer, enabling zero emission electric vehicles to race over long periods without the need for heavy batteries. This is a milestone innovation that will have a dramatic effect not just on racing but on the mainstream auto industry. We’re looking forward to putting this technology through its paces as it charges electric race cars at speeds of up to 200 mph.”
With the success of these technologies and/or others that may come along, 54.5 miles per gallon will be easy to meet. From there the next step will 100.
Article courtesy of green-energy-news.com?
Image courtesy of Paul