Archive for Electric Car Charging Stations
3blmedia.com Press Release
Wednesday, February 26, 2014 – 8:20am
For More Information Please See: SAPMobility
Feb. 26 2014 /3BL Media/ — As part of a co-innovation project, SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) and BMW Group Research and Technology have developed an innovative technology infrastructure for in-vehicle mobility services. The research prototype is based on the SAP HANARead More
Tesla, which markets a $70,000-plus electric sedan, took aim at the broader market in announcing a way to make the batteries that power the cars cheaper.Read More
New cars from 2020 onwards will have to emit no more than 95g of CO2 per kilometre, under deal hailed ‘as good deal for the environment, EU economy and drivers'
From the Hypercar to home insulation, the early visions of the influential physicist are becoming a reality
Amory Lovins last year harvested from his small garden more than 30 pounds of bananas, along with guava, mango, papaya, loquat, passion and other exotic fruit. Nothing remarkable in that, except that the energy analyst and chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) does not live in the tropics but in an unheated house 6,500 feet up a mountain near Aspen, Colorado, where the temperature falls to -44C and where last week more than two feet of snow fell in less than 24 hours.
The fruit is grown in a greenhouse that is part of the sprawling, experimental, super-insulated house at Old Snowmass, built 30 years ago for $500,000 (£300,000) and an inspiration for a generation of energy thinkers, designers and sustainable builders. Visited by 100,000 people, it was the archetype for the European Passivhaus movement.
"Heating systems are so 20th century," he says. "We have found you actually save money by not putting in a heating system. It's cheaper. The monitoring system uses more energy than the lights."
On a visit to the Caribbean where the RMI is working with Carbon War Room NGO to help island states wean themselves off expensive diesel-generated electricity, Lovins recalls a visit in the mid-1980s from the originators of the Passivhaus idea, Bo Adamson of Sweden and Wolfgang Feist from Germany. "They realised that you could make heating systems far smaller but they hadn't realised that you could save energy by eliminating the heating kit completely."
Lovins has always maintained that energy conservation not only pays for itself, but that energy-saving technology can lead to higher quality of life at lower cost. He has advised many of the world's largest companies and dozens of countries how to reduce bills with renewables but has also challenged the giant car, aviation and construction industries to rethink the way they operate.
Thirty years since moving to Colorado from Britain, where he was Friends of the Earth's first-ever employee, the 66-year-old sees the energy revolution which he helped kick-start with a series of academic and policy papers now in full swing. "Since 2008, half the world's added electrical generating capacity has been renewable. Non hydro-electric renewables, chiefly wind and solar, were 49% of US and 69% of European capacity added last year.
"In three of the world's top four economies, China, Japan and Germany, there was more generation of electricity from non-hydro renewables than from nuclear in 2012."
Renewables have scaled up incredibly fast, he says. "Worldwide it is faster than mobile phones. More Kenyans now get first electricity now from solar than the grid. China got more generation from wind in 2012 than from nuclear and it added more generation from non-hydro renewable energy than fossil and nuclear combined. It is now the world leader in seven of the 10 renewable energies and wants to be top in all 10. It appears to have added 12GW of photovoltaics in 2012 – that's more than the total that have been installed in the US."
The US, which lagged behind for years, is shifting, too, he says. "The US is a giant laboratory. Different states are going at different speeds. Texas is best for wind, it now gets 10% of its energy from wind because it's good at business; Hawaii is ground zero, with one in 10 households now with a PV system.
"The energy intensity of the US economy has declined 50% in 10 years, mostly because of better design. In 2012 the energy used to make a dollar of GDP went down by 3.4% in one year. We can see a very clear way forward to trebling energy efficiency by 2050."
Most encouraging, he says, is that 14 states for electricity and 20 for natural gas now reward consumers for cutting bills. "That is the reverse of the use of electricity as a commodity. Electricity is an infrastructure, not a commodity. We need to reward the provider to give you lower bills".
Twenty years ago, Lovins proposed what he called the "Hypercar", a hybrid electric/hydrogen-fuelled family vehicle that had only a few parts, was made of lightweight carbon but was stronger than steel, used existing technologies, weighed half a normal car of its size, and could travel the equivalent of 300 miles to the gallon. It was designed to have next to no emissions and, using its batteries, could become a power plant on wheels when parked, eliminating the need for nuclear or coal-power stations.
2014, says Lovins, sees the commercial birth of the Hypercar, with the arrival of the all-carbon electric BMW i-3 family and the 313 miles per gallon Volkswagon XL1 with emissions of just 20g/km. "The car industry is notoriously slow to change," he says, but "you could say the era of the hyper car is starting now."
The most exciting energy conservation advances may be in the way new technologies and business models can be combined, he believes. He was the first to suggest that cars, which are on average used for just an hour a day, be used to generate and store electricity and then be able to despatch it back to the grid.
"Suppose I am a carmaker and I have two identical plug-in cars, one for £5,000 less than the other. Suppose that the car maker can use the battery of the cheaper one to sell to the grid at peak times … in other words a car-maker can profit from your stationary car."
"In the future I see radically cheap renewable energy and storage, new types of battery, super-windows, cheap ways to instal LEDs in large buildings to eliminate wiring, many advances in insulating materials, smart thermostats that learn what comfort you want and buildings that do not need heating or cooling."
But despite all the advances in technology and business models, Lovins weeps for Britain, where he lived for 12 years during and after a spell at Oxford University. He led the successful opposition in the 1970s to stop Rio Tinto digging up Snowdonia with a massive mine.
"Britain's plan for a fleet of new nuclear power stations is … unbelievable," he says. "It is economically daft. The guaranteed price [being offered to French state company EDF] is over seven times the unsubsidised price of new wind in the US, four or five times the unsubsidised price of new solar power in the US. Nuclear prices only go up. Renewable energy prices come down. There is absolutely no business case for nuclear. The British policy has nothing to do with economic or any other rational base for decision making."
In the end, he says, "economics tends to win over stupid policy. The energy revolution is under way but there are decades of playing out to be done. It's both encouraging and frustrating that it's not going faster. This work requires relentless patience."
- Renewable energy
- Wind power
- Solar power
- Nuclear power
- Energy bills
- Consumer affairs
- Energy efficiency
- Ethical and green living
- Energy industry
- Electric, hybrid and low-emission cars
theguardian.com Read More
1.9m third-generation cars affected by software problem that could damage hybrid system and cause sudden stop
The full version of this article was originally published in Electronic Design October 7, 2013.
The electrical vehicle has been around for more than a century and its most critical subsystem has always been the propulsion system, which includes three main components: a power converter, the propulsion motor and an energy storage system. The latter supplies energy to the electric motor, converting to mechanical energy and traction to the wheels. To most, it has a much simpler name: the Battery.
Like the electrical vehicle, rechargeable batteries have a long history that comes with connotations that cloud people's perceptions of electrical vehicles, potentially slowing the adoption of EV's. The general public has anxiety over battery technology that has no doubt created trepidation amongst automakers as to whether it makes sense to push ahead with the development of electric vehicles.
The problem is memory – literally. What was true a decade ago is not true today – there are no batteries today that have a “memory effect”, but if you're a child of the '80s you remember batteries not having the same capacity or longevity if you didn't fully discharge them or fully charge them. Public understanding of battery technology and capability today is the biggest barrier to wider adoption of electric vehicles. We have cleared the technology hurdles, but not the perception issues.
Finding the right mix
Over the past few decades, the chemical content of batteries has changed. Until the mid-1990s, most electric vehicles used Lead Acid batteries, although some used Nickel Cadmium. Today, most commercial hybrid-electric vehicles use NiMH batteries, but are transitioning rapidly to Lithium-ion and Iron-phosphate derivatives. With the Tesla Roadster or high-end Model S, users can travel more than 200 miles per charge on a Lithium-Cobalt or tri-metal chemistry. GM's Chevy Volt plug-in HEV and the Nissan Leaf (BEV) also use a version of Lithium-ion batteries with a Lithium-Manganese spinel chemistry. Lithium-based technologies, Lithium-ion and Iron-phosphate batteries are proving to be good options for PHEVs and BEVs.
One of the reasons Lithium-ion batteries are appealing is because they can output high energy and power per unit of battery mass; this means they are 4-8 times lighter and smaller than Lead-acid batteries.
Unfortunately, lithium-ion batteries are the most expensive option for PHEVs and BEVs right now and contain toxic electrolytes that make disposal a serious concern. Another option is lithium iron phosphate, lithium ferrophosphate (LPF) or iron-phosphate (FE) batteries. These batteries have about a 15 percent lower energy density, but have longer cycle-life, great power density and are more thermally and environmentally stable than common lithium-ion batteries, which makes them safer in all respects. They are also 30-40% less expensive.
Small things add up
The development of cell phone technology and the evolution of mobile devices have certainly aided advancements in battery technology for electric vehicles. We have been able to leverage manufacturing scale and components and even driven down the costs, for example.
However, the cost of a battery in a car is amplified because we're not just talking about a single cell, which you have in your mobile phone; we're talking about thousands of cells strung together and the costs such as labor and materials to connect those cells together. Tesla's roadster, for example, was reported to have more than 8,000 cells. Each cell was independently monitored for things such as voltage and temperature. That means overhead for electronics.
The reason why monitoring is so important is each of those cells is a very high energy and potentially volatile device in adverse conditions. You can only pack so much energy into a device like that and risks are inevitable. When these batteries go into catastrophic failure they “rapidly dissemble” – they don't just spit out their contents, they can do very bad things. That's why you see really big headlines for EV fires and battery recalls for devices such as laptops.
When you use a high energy density technology in vehicles and you've got 8,000 of these strung together, you have to include a lot of safety elements that increase the cost of that system. Let's be clear: EVs are safe. They are as safe to drive as any gasoline-powered vehicles and Iron-Phosphate batteries are fire-safe, for example, even if they are slightly less energy dense. Iron-Phosphate batteries can be cycled more than 7000 cycles; that means they can be fully discharged every day for more than 20 years of life! We have batteries today that will outlive the vehicles that they are in. There is no longer a barrier of longevity or calendar life for these batteries.
One of the main challenges for mass adoption of electric vehicles by consumers is range. This of course could be addressed by increased battery storage and infrastructure. Charging stations could easily become as common as gas stations and rest stops along every highway in America. Every motel, restaurant, shopping center and grocery store would have a charging station, making long road trips in an electric vehicle a viable reality.
The beauty of the all-electric vehicle, besides being environmentally friendly, is its simplicity. An all-electric vehicle has 30 percent fewer parts than a standard internal combustion engine; it's also more reliable. It also requires less maintenance in part because there are fewer fluids to change out and regenerative braking spares brake pads.
Long live the battery!
Regardless of what type of rechargeable battery ultimately becomes the standard for electric vehicles, one hurdle that has definitely been overcome is longevity. We have battery technology that will last 30 years, outliving any car. There are vehicles on the market today that can go 230-300 miles on a single overnight charge – approximately five hours in an owner's garage – and be able to drive that distance the next day without a mid-day charge to extend range.
But perceptions of drivers must be managed and shifted. In the same way mobile phone technology has contributed to the development of rechargeable batteries in electric vehicles, this example can be used to change attitudes of the general public.
Take wired landline phones for example: You could pick them up any time of day, any time of week and talk as long as you wanted, you didn't think about power. And you didn't worry about being tethered.
When the first mobile phones were introduced, they barely offered 20 minutes of talk time, but eventually the paradigm shifted and so did people's expectations. We don't expect a cell phone to last all week on a single charge, but we still expect a vehicle to last all week after we have filled the tank with gas? The difference is that we are okay with plugging in our phone to charge it whenever the opportunity comes up – not just overnight, but while we are at work, at lunch, traveling, at the airport or at home making dinner, for instance. We've come to an unspoken agreement that we charge whenever we have down time. We don't expect it to last two days in talk time. We don't expect it to last a week long in standby time and that's because we have changed our thinking.
This shift is happening with EVs in some parts of the world. There are now over 1,000 electric taxis running in Shenzhen, China, and all of them are in cars that only go 187+ miles average (300 Km) on a single electric charge with air conditioning running. However, they are driving totals of 300-400 miles per day (480 – 800 Km) because they are “opportunity charging”. When the cars start out in the morning they are fully charged, but as with taxis in most jurisdictions around the world such as London or New York, they are idle about 40 percent of the time. When taxi drivers stop to go to the bathroom, they plug in. When they go for lunch breaks, they plug in. When they are sitting in the taxi queue, they are plugged in.
A change in thinking occurred there to revolutionize this high-utility, long-range application. This can happen in the Americas, if not immediately for consumers, certainly for high-utility public transportation. There are no two-shift taxi operations or bus routes in the United States that couldn't be covered with an electric taxi or bus with opportunity charging.
A change in thinking needs to happen for electric vehicles to see wider adoption. The battery technology is there; we just have to shift attitudes and our thinking, so that drivers are as comfortable “opportunity charging” their vehicles as they are with their “untethered” cell phones, while at the same time providing the infrastructure to do so.
We saw a revolution from land-lines to mobile-telephony occur within a decade. This same new “battery-based” energy revolution will occur in the transition away from gasoline to electrified transportation.Read More
Free parking, incentives and driving in bus lanes push Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf to top of best-seller lists
Norway's traffic jams are becoming the cleanest and quietest in the world due to a flood of drivers buying electric cars which now power around the country's cities on hydro-electricity, competing for free charging points.
For three months at the end of 2013, the luxury electric sports car the Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf family electric car were the best-selling models among all cars sold in the country, beating popular and conventionally-fuelled cars including the VW Golf.
The latest figures suggest that over 21,000 all-electric vehicles (EVs) are now registered in the country of 5 million people with sales running at over 1,200 a month, or over 10% of all sales. That compares with a total of around 70,000 EVs registered in the US with a population of 313 m, and just 5,000 in the UK with apopulation of 63m. Dealers expect there to be more in Oslo than in Los Angeles and San Francisco combined within a year.
The Nordic rush for zero-emission vehicles, which have a range of just over 100 miles in the case of the Leaf, is less inspired by concern for the environment than for the chance of free commuting in the bus lane and generous incentives, says the industry.
Battery-powered cars in the world's fourth richest country are not just exempt from high rates of purchase tax, and VAT, but pay no road and ferry tolls or parking fees, cost less to insure and can be charged up for free electricity from thousands of points. Local government will also subsidise the installation of charging points in homes. Research suggests the subsidies could be worth nearly £5,000 a year per car.
"You can buy a Nissan leaf for 280,000 NOK (£26,500) which compares with 300,000 (£29,400) for a VW Golf. Over 10,000 km, it costs about 1,800 Nok (£176) to run, but the same for a petrol car would be 8,000 Nok (£784). On top of that I save save 35Nok (£3.20) a day on tolls but some people are saving far more," says Snorre Sletvold, president of the Norwegian electric vehicle association.
"We needed a new family car. We got a Nissan Leaf because it was really cheap and we did not want to pollute the air", says Maren Esmark, ceo of Friends of the Earth Norway. "We felt we were supporting the technology but the reason why most Norwegians are buying them is because they have a lot of money and can afford two cars, and because they can use them in the bus lanes.
"At the start we got comments like 'do you really think you can save the envirornment with that car?' but now they are so common that they are not noticed."
By far the two most popular are the Sunderland-built Nissan Leaf which was Norway's third best-selling passenger car last year, selling over 3,500, and the more expensive Tesla Model S which was the country's best-selling car in September and December. Volkswagen and BMW are now rushing to introduce their versions of electric cars.
"A boatload of Nissan Leafs arrives in Norway each week and is sold almost immediately. It is astonishing. We did not expect this. Electric cars started as an Oslo phenomenom but they are now selling all over Norway. By the end of Ferbruary we expect to be the first country in the world where 1 in 100 cars on the road are electric," said Sletvold.
But, says the govermnment, the Norwegian love affair with electric cars may end sooner than expected. Incentives will be withdrawn, or reconsidered, when 50,000 zero emission cars have been registered or come 2018, whichever is the earliest. At the current rate of sales, the 50,000 figure could be reached within 18 months.
Besides, the allure of quick commuting and free fuel is wearing thin as they become more popular and defeat the purpose for which people bought them. The vehicles are now so popular that they dominate the bus lanes into Oslo, making up to 75% of the vehicles alowed in them. In addition, it's getting harder and harder to find unoccupied public charging facilities.
- Electric, hybrid and low-emission cars
- Travel and transport
- Carbon emissions
- Ethical and green living
- Automotive industry
theguardian.com Read More