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« Wind Turbine Manufact… | Home | Hybrid Moves Into Hou… »

Are electric car makers missing the trick?

29 03 11 - 11:12 Are electric car makers missing the trick?


by Martin Ott

I believe that electric car makers may be driving us all down the road that may result in the same sort of technology failures that we have seen in the past.
I'm not referring to the Sinclair scooter here but cast your mind back to the débâcle of Betamax v VHS home recording systems. The eventual winner was the technically inferior VHS but the battle was not resolved until innumerable consumers had paid out for worthless Betamax systems. Back in the 70's a similar conflict occurred over audio systems when America fell in love with the 8 track tape system that moved magnetic tape in a loop over the player head at a high speed resulting in a better sound. The world market finally dictated that the audio cassette was the way to go but not until millions of consumers had been lumbered with home and in-car systems that went down the technological cul de sac. Much wow and flutter ensued.
Every major (and several minor) car manufacturers know that they have to get electric vehicles into their product lists and seem to be asking their customers to risk paying many thousands for a technology that may not be future proof. Worse still, the cost and life expectancy of the electric cells means that buyers in the used electric car market may be in for some real shocks (sorry) to their pocket when the cells have to be replaced. Burying the battery deep within a vehicle has to be the worst idea when it comes to fitting a replacement.
At cab4one, (www.cab4one.me) we have been actively looking for a vehicle that addresses the range and flexibility that we need for day to day taxi or mini cab operations in both urban and rural environments. To date, our search has been thwarted due to lack of vehicle range and the lengthy time it takes to recharge the batteries. May I humbly offer a couple of solutions which may go some way to overcome customer resistance to this emerging technology and save a fortune in ill-conceived development costs?
Motorists are a pretty conservative group of consumers so like things to continue much as they have experienced in the past. The paradigm is that when a driver needs more fuel he simply arrives at a petrol station, replenishes his fuel, pays the bill and goes merrily on his way to the next traffic jam. In essence, this is the same system employed since the days of the horse – feed the beast and it keeps going. It's easy, predictable and everyone understands how it works.
As it stands now, battery technology is advancing quickly so an element of future-proofing electric cars has to be found. Rather than having competing types of battery cell why don't the manufacturers agree on a physical shape and commonality of connectors that will enable consumers to easily obtain new batteries rather than have to disassemble the car to reach and replace the worn down power source?
By all means allow the batteries to be home charged aboard the vehicle or at the small but expanding number of on street recharge points. However, consider the rural driver or those making extended trips who don't have either time or inclination to pre-plan journeys around available re-charge points.
Consider the ubiquitous AA or AAA battery. They are mass produced and therefore cheap, available world wide and can be used in a multitude of devices. If car batteries could be made in a uniform size and shape, then all electric car makers could ensure a decent life cycle for their vehicles and a fair re-sale value for the used market.
I would propose a battery cell that is easy to replace and convenient enough to handle without falling foul of health & safety rules. Make it attaché case sized and easily accessible for the outside of the vehicle. For now they would probably have to be used as multiple cells in order to achieve the required power output. As the technology advances, more power will inevitably become available within a smaller volume, perhaps reducing the number of battery cells required per vehicle. However, if agreement can be reached on the physical size of battery cells and electrical connectors, future users will be able to follow the time-tested refuelling method wherever they travel.
I can envisage the electric motorist pulling in to a “fuel” station, removing the attaché case sized cell (or cells), slotting in identical but fully charged replacements and continuing their journeys. Retailers would still find a way of making a profit and I'm sure the major supermarkets would be happy to compete on price and promoting the “greenest” way of recharging the replacement battery cells.

About the Author: Martin Ott is a director of cab4one Limited who provide an expanding fleet of environmentally friendly private hire vehicles that carry just one passenger and their luggage. Conventional taxis and mini cabs spend much of their time with only one passenger aboard, guzzling fuel, pumping out high levels of carbon dioxide and taking up too much space on our congested roads. cab4one can reduce your carbon footprint and equally important cost you less money on most journeys.

If it's just you and your luggage travelling, who needs a DIRTY great vehicle?
You can follow cab4one on Twitter, Face book and other social media sources Used tags: , , ,
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Are electric car makers missing the trick?

Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 11:12 am Are electric car makers missing the trick?


by Martin Ott

I believe that electric car makers may be driving us all down the road that may result in the same sort of technology failures that we have seen in the past.
I'm not referring to the Sinclair scooter here but cast your mind back to the débâcle of Betamax v VHS home recording systems. The eventual winner was the technically inferior VHS but the battle was not resolved until innumerable consumers had paid out for worthless Betamax systems. Back in the 70's a similar conflict occurred over audio systems when America fell in love with the 8 track tape system that moved magnetic tape in a loop over the player head at a high speed resulting in a better sound. The world market finally dictated that the audio cassette was the way to go but not until millions of consumers had been lumbered with home and in-car systems that went down the technological cul de sac. more

Wind Turbine Manufacturer Acknowledges SGS´s Contribution towards Successful Project Completion

Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 10:57 am by Suresh Varma

The Theni Wind Farm project was developed by CLP India Pvt. Ltd., one of the major wind farm project developers in India. Located in the south western part of Tamilnadu, a southern state of the country, the facility consists of 60 Vestas V82 geared wind turbines. As recognition of its contribution towards the successful execution of this wind power project SGS received Vestas award.

Each turbine at the wind farm has a capacity of 1.65 MW IEC Class IIB machine with a blade diameter of 82 m. After a six-month long completion period, the Theni Wind Farm was officially opened in May, 2010.

Acting as contract engineer during project execution, SGS was responsible for ensuring that all activities were carried out at the site by the contractor in line with the final agreement. In doing so, SGS supervised the quality of construction works, the fulfillment of the technical parameters and kept the project within the scheduled time and contracted price. more

E.ON uses PPC's Broadband Powerline technology in smart grid project

Tuesday 29 March 2011 at 10:37 am E.ON uses PPC's Broadband Powerline technology in smart grid project

by Power Plus Communications

Mannheim - Power Plus Communications AG (PPC), the leading provider of Broadband Powerline Communication systems (BPL) for smart grids has taken on a key role within an E.ON smart grid project to facilitate an extension of Cisco's Connected Grid Solution.

E.ON Westfalen Weser AG is currently trialing smart grid technology within its network of 1.3 million inhabitants and PPC's proven medium voltage BPL solution has connected substations in the project using the existing power grid.

Using BPL technology, standard compliant and IP-based data transfer rates of 5-30 Mbit/s can easily be achieved via the medium voltage cable itself. Within E.ON’s smart grid project, PPC's medium voltage technology facilitated the extension of Cisco's Connected Grid Solution. The Cisco smart grid Router and Switches used in the project are highly compatible with BPL networks, providing a real cost advantage over fiber optic networks – which can be much more expensive where cables are not pre-existing.

By combining their technology at Westfalen Weser, PPC and Cisco have ensured the evolution of fast and efficient smart grids which are controlled on an IP basis. This increases the reliability of the power grid, fulfills regulations and drives down costs. At the same time this modern smart grids communications technology makes it possible to effectively integrate renewable energy into the grid. more