16 January 2008

Step by Step to Ubiquitous Electric Automobiles

Two recent articles at New Energy and Fuel illustrate two of the incremental improvements needed to make electric vehicles the norm, rather than the exception. First:
What the researchers have done is explore the alloys of magnets usually used in these types of motors and design an alloy that offers much higher operating temperatures which can be produced at low cost and manufactured quickly and efficiently....The new alloy proposal adds yttrium and dysprosium to neodymium solve the heat gain – magnetic decline problem. With most neodymium-iron-boron magnets [ed: operating only] at half strength at 125 degrees C, the new alloy [operating] at near full strength at 200 degrees C offers a solution to production of electric motor magnets for vehicles....Now motors can be built lighter and more powerful within the specifications of a vehicular application. These kinds of background developments are significant to the move to electric drives.
New Energy

Next:
The EEStor technology is described across the board from battery to ultra capacitor, as having 10 times the capacity at one-tenth the weight than “traditional battery technology” and a big improvement in leak down over time. Those are three of the battery limiting issues of the day....The combining of battery and capacitor attributes is quite exciting. Capacitors are very fast acting allowing very quick charge and discharge abilities that will dramatically improve the usefulness of devices that are self-storage powered....
New Energy

Another vital need is for enough electrical power generating capacity to support a rapidly growing electric vehicle industry. Preferably clean energy such as advanced design nuclear. If renewables such as wind and solar are to be stepped up appreciably, a form of utility scale storage (such as flow cells) is mandatory.

Here is more about EEStor from GMVolt.com. (from New Energy)
Speaking of the GM Volt, this Wired interview with GM Vice Chairman Robert Lutz gives more information on the upcoming 2010 flex-fuel pluggable hybrid.

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