Is It Actually Time to Pull the Plug?

With a range of anxieties looming large, it is time to add one more to the list!

Range anxiety (pun unintended!) is the fear of the electric vehicle’s battery, running out of power. With electric cars zooming past in the market, it was natural to have a breakthrough idea of dynamic charging, which refers to the charging of an electric vehicle, on the move, without the necessity of charging stations. However, the idea is futuristic. What is in the loop is wireless charging. Currently, Plugless Power, which is a brand of EVATRAN, is the only company that supplies wireless charging systems, but for the aftermarket. The company plans to enter the OEM market in China and has already signed a deal with a Chinese manufacturer. Companies like Qualcomm, Witricity, Bombardier, Momentum Dynamics, etc. are still in the nascent stage with respect to the market and claim to launch their products for OEMs in 2018.

An India-based market research consultancy elaborates on the trends in the global wireless charging for the electric vehicles market. According to estimates, the market is poised to grow at a rate of 43.6% in the coming five years.

Bid adieu to the painful wired charging and welcome the new tech in town -all it needs is a strategically located station and a charging pad, to infuse life into cars, again.

In all its simplicity, the components required are a pad on the ground, and a receiver mounted on the underside of a vehicle. Inductive charging is used in the EVATRAN wireless system. A magnetic field is created by running electricity through a coil. One coil is placed on the ground and the other is attached to the vehicle’s underside. The second coil that is placed on the ground, must be connected to a power source and is weatherproofed for outdoor use.

Technology giants like Qualcomm have forayed into wireless charging for the electric vehicles market, with the Qualcomm Halo Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) technology.

How is the technology going to affect the market?

The electric vehicles market is expected to witness a surge in sales. Also, an increase in electric car ownership is expected, owing to the ease of charging. This, in turn, is expected to increase the demand for infrastructure manufacturers of wireless charging systems. However, the demand for conventional cars is expected to take a beating, with the advent of wireless charging for electric vehicles.

Now, here is the bright spot for investors – The market is expected observe steep growth by 2018, owing to many company-related activities or product launches due in that particular year. Also, the market is anticipated to increase rapidly, due to rise in awareness about global warming issues, depletion of fossil fuel levels, etc. This is a future market, which is poised to reach its peak by 2022-2025. Now, isn’t it a golden opportunity for investors to pitch in and do their bit for the environment as well?

Brace yourselves for the next big thing!

New Electric Car Charger Cuts Down Recharging Time

Hybrid vehicles have become increasingly popular in the U.S. since Toyota launched the Prius some time ago. The skyrocketing price of gasoline has driven American car buyers to opt for these fuel efficient vehicles which can run as much as 50 miles on a single gallon of gasoline.

In response to the demand for hybrid vehicles, car manufacturers are looking for ways to add another feature to the already fuel efficient hybrid vehicle. The plug-in technology has already been knocking on the doors of the auto industry. This technology allows hybrid cars to be recharged from an ordinary household socket. This means that the battery pack integrated into the car to power the electric motor can be conveniently recharged and there is adequate power on call from the battery.

Aside from hybrid electric cars, there are also full time electric vehicles using the plug-in technology.

Pioneering in the manufacture of electric cars is ZAP. This company has given American motorists with a choice of electric cars which are categorized as zero emission vehicles. This means that the cars from ZAP do not produce greenhouse gases which contribute to even greater global warming.

The three wheeled vehicles from ZAP are equipped with plug-in technology. Normally, electric cars need up to six hours to fully charge its battery pack. This means that you can charge your electric car while you are sleeping at night and wake up with your ZAP electric car juiced up and ready to go.

But developments in the auto industry is constant, and ZAP has announced that they are offering an electric car charger which cuts down charging time from hours to just thirty minutes.

The company said that the charger on the XEBRA, their electric car, can be configured to suit either a 110- or a 220-volt outlet. The revolutionary charger can provide up to 100 amps or 10,000 watts of electricity into the car. The company promises that the new charger will significantly increase the range of the XEBRA.

ZAP Chairman Gary Starr has this to say about the new charger: “This new charger can reduce your charge time from hours to minutes. Now you can drive your electric car all day with just a few short stops. In the time it takes to eat lunch you can hook your XEBRA up to the charger and have a full charge in less than an hour. Think of it as putting your XEBRA out to graze.”

The fact that the XEBRA is a zero emissions vehicle means that with its use, emission of greenhouse gases is limited to zero. This shows that there are technologies available today which can put a stop to global warming as effectively as an EBC pad works when stopping a vehicle. And with the technology for these cars growing steadily, the use of electric cars like the XEBRA will surely gain momentum.

Is It Time for a Purely Electric Car to Become Mainstream?

Electric cars have stepped out of sci-fi thrillers into our day to day life. They are all around us. Those who are ready to take the plunge into fully electrical car, hybrid petrol and electric automobiles are a good alternative. Millions of hybrids have been sold and many millions are waiting to be sold.

Electric cars are trending

Pure electric vehicles are surely gaining a foothold in the market. Last year in Great Britain alone some 13 thousand electric vehicles were sold. This is not an earth shattering number but enough to justify broader infrastructure and more R&D investment in new models of electric cars. Two things that might stop a would be electric vehicle buyer from buying are its cost and lack of sufficient charging stations.

Cost of Electric Cars

Ever-increasing popularity of electrical vehicles is set to change the cost dynamic of these cars. The price of electric autos is coming down every passing year. Prime examples of this change is reflected in current pricing of electric version of Mitsubishi Outlander and Renault Zoe. Prices are indeed coming down and in the coming five years the premium charged for electrical version of standard or hybrid automobiles may disappear.

Electric Car Charging Infrastructure

This has been the second biggest obstacle. Most electric automobiles have at best a range of 100 miles before they need a charging station. This infrastructure is now in place in and around large cities of most developed countries. It is certainly not as convenient as stopping by a Petrol station to get your tank filled, most electric charging points have the capacity to charge two cars at a time but with 3000 charging stations in just the United Kingdom, it has become feasible to travel long distances with electric cars. In UK alone, there are 700 rapid change stations that will charge your car to 80% in just half an hour.

One obstacle in this is that every manufacturer has chosen a different connector type. There is a strong need for all electrical car manufacturers to standardize on one connector just as every petrol and diesel vehicle can be filled with the same nozzle the world over. With seven different kinds of connectors in use for different electric vehicles, one cannot be sure if the connector used on your car will be available at the charge point on your route. One tip: don’t head to a charging station without checking the Zap Map in advance of any trip as it does list this information.

How to Charge your car

It is always a good idea to hire an electrician to check if your circuit will be able to bear the load of regular overnight charging. If it cannot, then work with him to increase the capacity. Once that is done you can leave your car to charge overnight as you sleep. You don’t have to do this set up alone. Not only can you get a government grant to defray these expenses, many manufacturers will do the set up for you as a part of your electric car purchase package. If you don’t have parking in your home, garage or offroad, most governments in developed world will give you a grant to install a public charging point near your residence or office. You can supplement overnight charging with during the day charging at public charging points.

Two kinds of charging is available at public charging points: fast charging which take three to four hours or rapid charge which takes around half an hour. Too many rapid charges are not recommended as they reduce the life of your battery.

Are electric cars the wave of the future?

The answer is definitely yes. The pioneers who have taken the plunge now are paving the way for the rest of us. With governments encouraging consumers through tax breaks and grants and manufacturers competing with each other to create batteries with longer and longer life, one can only imagine that in a decade or two we might have electric cars that will need charging every thousand miles or so. Then all you would need is an overnight charge. We can then save our fossil fuels for our future generations to derive important petrochemicals for every day use.