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Posted on April 28, 2011 by  & 

Electric Vehicles - But Not As We Know Them

Today's electric family cars are useless in telling us anything about the future. The design and adoption of electric vehicles is subject to sudden change driven by surprising factors. The unique event Electric Vehicles - Land Sea Air in Stuttgart, Germany is alone in looking at the big picture in order to clarify what is really going on. Analyst IDTechEx is the organiser. It has 11 new reports on different aspects of the subject, with ten year forecasts by sector that will be presented at the event. That includes mobility for the disabled and military electric vehicles, buses, industrial and commercial vehicles, cars, two wheelers and more, with each having lessons for manufacturers of the others.
Presentations on solar craft, that silently ply the inland waterways of the world, will reveal how increasing use of flexible copper indium gallium diselenide CIGS photovoltaics makes designs more elegant and efficient. However, it is new laws that ban internal combustion engines that have made this market take off from Taiwan to India and Europe. For example, Kopf Solarschiff will demonstrate one and describe their work in this area that even includes silent lake ferries carrying 120 people.
On the other hand, new technologies such as multi-mode energy harvesting, different traction battery chemistry and printed electronics and electrics will power sales of on-road, off road and airborne pure electric vehicles within a few years. Indeed, Antonov will explain," Use of Multispeed Transmissions for Electric Vehicles".
Experts feel that the typical pure electric car from Tata Motors Europe or Adam Opel, Daimler AG van, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle AUV or plane that has a range of the order of 100 miles today will offer 200-300 miles range in ten years with a battery of similar size, weight and price but more is needed. One approach is lithium sulphur batteries to be presented by Oxis Energy at the event. Similar batteries already power several Unmanned Aerial Vehicles UAVs giving a pointer to what may happen on land and in water later. On the other hand, the cells can be only 50% of the cost and performance of the battery pack as a whole and Tesla Motors will demonstrate their superb, profitable sports car and speak on how its radically different battery system will now permit the company to go mainstream.
On land, top up inductive charging, where the driver does not have to get out, may help to ease range anxiety. Indeed, the fundamentals of charging infrastructure have being rethought by speakers Mitsubishi Electric but multiple energy harvesting will be at least as important. Today, energy harvesting means welcome kilowatts briefly from regenerative braking and the rare appearance of a tiny solar panel on the vehicle providing a few tens of watts. Tomorrow comes shock absorber sets that can generate a hefty, ongoing ten kilowatts to the battery when fitted to a truck. Massachusetts Institute of Technology spinoff Levant Power is a leader here. It presents on its trials on a wide variety of vehicles at the event. It even sees applications in AUVs.
Yet more is to come, with multiple forms of energy harvesting on one vehicle including a much wider area of the new conformal photovoltaics. That may affect vehicle shape: maybe a car will spread upwards when parked, to catch the sun. Meanwhile, new vehicle shapes are being offered for different reasons. A new Volkswagen pure electric concept vehicle is egg shaped with passengers in tandem, this achieving a leap in fuel economy. Peraves in Switzerland claims to have done even better with their award winning egg shaped vehicle and they will demonstrate this and give a presentation. Alke describes its off-road electric vehicles and Bluebird its racer and commercial EV program.
However, the largest automotive companies are also testing some radically different ideas. Opel, part of $135 billion GM, will explain its mainstream hybrid car program. With hybrids the next step is to get rid of the internal combustion engine that caused all the trouble in the first place, starting with alternatives in supercars. Accordingly, India's largest motor company the $20 billion Tata Motors, which presents, has invested in presenters Bladon Jets which has mini jet engines as "range extenders", the first application being scheduled for Tata's planned Jaguar supercar, which has two mini jets generating 140 kW of electricity using a wide choice of fuel and only one moving part in each monoblock turbine.
The largest traction batteries currently appear in AUVs and military land vehicles - up to 400 kWh - and the chemistry is being rapidly improved for these specific needs. The world's largest chemical company, the $54 billion Dow Chemical presents on its high performance materials for large lithium-ion applications, involving a recent acquisition in Switzerland.
There is no doubt that the new electric vehicles will radically change society. Silent electrical aircraft will take off and land in residential areas even in night time. Euros 46 billion EADS, one of the largest aerospace companies in the world, will explain, starting with its operating pure electric stunt plane. Indeed, the German Aerospace Agency will explain how its nosewheel motors will make even the largest airliners independent of tugs when they land and silent as they queue for takeoff. Fuel cells could power those nosewheels and the ground support equipment at airports, indeed speakers will cover not only this but trials of fuel cells in cars and taxis and commercial use of them in motorcycles. These fuel cells usually act as a new, generally useful form of range extender for a lithium-ion traction battery, again emphasising how people from different industries will be delighted to meet for the first time at the event and benchmark best practice.
Printed electronics and electrics can save up to 40% of size, weight and cost in appropriate parts of all forms of electric vehicles. Experts Flexible Electronics Concepts will explain and demonstrate.
Indeed, many other breakthroughs in key components will be exhibited and covered in the lectures and exhibition, leaving the multinational audience in no doubt that the future will be very different from the past. There will be many new forms of electric vehicle by land, water and air, the market drivers including totally new technologies, new laws and other sudden changes.
We clarify the bewildering new choices. For example, Natureo Finance of France speaks on "The Lithium Battery Sector: Analysis of the Market, the Value Chain and a Methodology for Identifying Winners". Nanotecture gives the latest research on supercapacitors and supercabatteries. Lithium Balance scopes the future of battery management systems.
Instead of the tedious commercials so familiar in other events, this one concentrates on useful overviews and forecasts and genuinely new announcements.
For more about this unique event and how to book your place follow this link

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Posted on: April 28, 2011

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