Electric Vehicle Challenges For Wide Adoption

It is fun to watch a Tesla Car glide down the road and know that it is all-electric, still, the industry has a ways to go before electric cars can compete on price for the consumer – before wide adoption is fully feasible. Trust me when I tell you, I am not against EVs, it’s just I see so many challenges – cost, weight, subsidies, efficiencies, range, charging infrastructure, etc. And, I cringe when I listen to folks explain how to pave that proverbial ‘road to hell’ with the Good Intentions Paving Company LLC. Okay so, let’s talk shall we?

Here are a Five Points on the Future of Electric Vehicles and the Real Challenges Facing the Industry:

1). Current Battery Weight: EV batteries significantly increase the weight of cars – proponents say that’s okay because new lightweight materials will keep weight down. True, but if those lightweight materials can do that, they can do it also for gasoline, diesel, natural gas, hydrogen or steam run cars too. Meaning more competition, A 100 mpg car due to low weight is now a huge selling point.

2). End of Life Battery Disposal: Where do all these batteries go with chemicals that are not so good for environment? Proponents say; it’s not that big of deal. Still, if old cell phones are considered hazardous waste partly due to the batteries inside, then car batteries which are much bigger with huge amounts of material are even more problematic.

3). Slow Growth: Currently electric vehicles make us such a small percentage of the total, that they are not making any real difference in the use of fossil fuels, so if that is the goal, it will take decades to achieve and need massive government intervention – hasn’t government intervened in the free-markets enough lately (Healthcare, Biofuels for instance) and how has that worked out for us?

4). Electric Vehicle Rebates: When government gives rebates we all end up paying for it in higher taxes. If EVs cost on average $10,000 more, and we give rebates, we are subsidizing a sector over another sector, picking and choosing winners. It’s wiser to allow EV industry to pony up and find ways to lower prices to compete.

5). Electric Vehicles Are Quiet: Proponents say that’s a good thing. But, tell that to the kid or cyclist that didn’t hear them coming and got smushed. Some EVs now have “sound” to alert people they are coming, and you can choose the sound you like, several options. That’s nice, but defeats the concept and/or benefits of such serenity associated with EVs. Sound also takes energy to make, ask any audio installer of sound systems for cars, often a second battery or batteries is/are added for larger systems.

The electric vehicle industry will have to solve these challenges before consumers will have full buy-in or before EVs can supplant the cars we drive today. Please consider this.

Electric Vehicle Connectors

Green is no longer just a color; it’s a movement rooted in environmentalism and sustainability. As people around the world have realized that we need to protect the planet if we want it to stay healthy and beautiful for future generations, more and more products have entered the market to push the green movement forward. Electric cars are one of those developments, giving consumers the choice to be more environmentally friendly in their everyday transportation. Although most Americans own and use gas-powered cars, electric vehicles are growing in popularity and as their technology progresses, they will become even more convenient and appreciated. Electric vehicle connectors are an integral part of this new form of transportation; the cars need them to power up. But before we get into specifics, let’s look at the basics of electric vehicles.

Electric vehicles are a type of automobile that uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion. Unlike gas-powered cars, they are fueled by electricity, which can come from a variety of sources (fossil fuels and nuclear power, but also renewable sources like tidal, solar, and wind power). They require less maintenance because they don’t have as many parts as traditional vehicles, and they offer tax benefits. Electric vehicles are also easy to charge at home, run on renewable energy, and emit no pollution from their tailpipes. There are many benefits to owning an electric car, but like most things, they come with disadvantages too. Electric vehicles can take several hours to charge and aren’t able to last on long road trips. They will also increase the demand for electricity and there are very few models currently available.

Charging up an electric vehicle is easy, but it will require some patience. The most convenient (but also expensive) option would be to purchase a charging station for home use. If you charge your car overnight, it will always be ready for the morning commute.

To make the process of charging an electric car more convenient, national societies and commissions work together to establish industry standards for electric vehicle connectors. The common connector for the United States is the J1772 combo plug, which was chosen by the Society of Automotive Engineers. It allows for AC and DC charging, is 43mm in diameter, and contains five pins. Designed for single phase electrical systems with 120 V or 240 V, electric vehicle connectors use a 1 kHz square wave at +/- 12 volts on the pilot pin (to detect the vehicle, communicate the maximum allowable current, and control the charging process). These connectors will often be located outside, so it is important that they are able to withstand environmental concerns like wind, rain, and heat. They are also equipped with many safety features like shock protection, connector pins located on the inside (so humans have no physical access), and pins that have zero voltage when not in use.

Technological advancements and growing popularity are helping consumers see electric vehicles as a viable alternative to their gas-guzzling automobiles, but it will take a while longer for them to truly compete. Right now, electric cars are just a great alternative for environmentally conscious drivers looking to make a change.

Hyperloop – Zipping Through Cities in the Blink of an Eye

India is at the cusp of revolutionizing the way we travel! Hyperloop is the new buzzword that has got every Indian excited and tingling with anticipation.

For the uninitiated, it all began in the summer of 2013 with Elon Reeve Musk (Founder – SpaceX, CEO – Tesla & Neuralink, and Chairman – SolarCity & OpenAl) writing a whitepaper where he conceptualized a disruptive transportation technology. He envisioned a pod like structure ensconced within a vacuum steel tube, covering long distances at supersonic speeds (estimated at almost 1200 kmph) using passive magnetic levitation system as its driving force. Musk explained that this mode of transportation would make commuting faster, safer, economical and environmentally friendly.

Musk was magnanimous to invite professionals to further develop his concept and take it to its ultimate fruition. Jumping the bandwagon were two US based companies – HyperloopOne and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT). Both the companies invited engineers from across the globe to be a part of the technology development and implementation process. Hyperloop One has successfully completed a full-scale test in the Nevada desert on the 12th of May 2017. However, both companies are only the technology providers and will require full support in terms of construction, infrastructure development and maintenance.

India with its ever increasing population, rapid urbanization, and being one of the fastest growing economies on the planet, could be the perfect launch-pad for the Hyperloop mass transportation system. These companies have shown keen interest in the development and implementation of the technology in India, albeit their approach has been very different. HTT submitted a proposal to the Transport Ministry in December 2016 and is already in talks with five Indian states for raising funds and connecting major Indian cities with a high speed network. HyperloopOne, on the other hand, invited proposals from world over asking engineers to come-up with an action plan to make the Hyperloop project feasible in their respective countries. The company has committed to collaborating with the winners on the proposed route and assured technology transfer. However the onus of Government approvals, land acquisition, capital expenditure and technology development, would lie with the participants. Amongst the semi-finalists are five teams from India, who showcased their proposals in the ‘Vision of India’ event graced by prominent dignitaries representing the Government of India.

Despite the flurry of action, none of the proposals have seen any active initiation by the concerned authorities. Whether the Hyperloop system will soon become a reality or remain a distant dream is something that only time can tell. However, the Hyperloop technology has redefined the way we envision our future mass transportation system. The road network of tomorrow – be it Hyperloop or Bullet-trains, will certainly be coveted technologies that will make commuting faster, safer and savvier.

Disclaimer: All information covered in the above article is readily available on public domain.