These 5 Signs Indicate Electric Cars Are The Future
Certainly, we all can debate this until the cows come home, or we can see what the ladies and gentlemen down in the trenches of the EV car world have to say.
Engineers and journalists that have their complete focus set on electric vehicles, propulsion, developments in both drivetrain and battery tech, an impressive work background & a vast knowledge of the revolutionary things happening in the EV car world, are probably the best sources of information we can possibly have.
The video above – done by Jason Fenske, the owner & creator of Engineering Explained – gives us an in-depth view into why EV car engineers & experts think that electric cars are the future. Jason traveled to Mexico City, where he talked with some Formula E engineers & experts about the topic at hand.
Electric Vehicle Adoption Is All About Size
While there’s much talk about potentially electrifying large container & merchant cargo ships, airplanes and similarly sized machines, the fact remains; electric vehicle adoption is all about size. This sign comes from Lucas Di Grassi, a driver for the Audi Sport Formula E team.
According to Lucas, while it makes perfect sense to add a battery to a bicycle or a car, the energy density and the weight of batteries don’t make much sense – in its current form – for larger vessels like container ships, cruise ships, and widebody airliners. Currently, the weight of bunker fuel or jet fuel provides a much more energy denser propulsion solution than battery power.
On the other hand, the size of the car hits that sweet spot of size and weight, providing a much more hospitable environment for electrification.
EV Utilization Depends On Location
The next sign comes from Vinit Patel, an engineer at a Formula E team called Mahindra. His opinion resolves around location and economics as primary signs of EV adoption. The trends are going in the direction of more and more people moving to urban environments. This is where EV cars excel. Short trips, steadily available power sources for vehicle charging, fast developing infrastructure and trends in lawmaking, pushing Co2 producing vehicles out of the city centers, and certainly in the future, out of cities altogether. For Vinik, it’s all about the economics.
For him, alternative solutions such as hydrogen don’t make sense in urban environments. For vehicle usage, hydrogen must first be produced, then shipped, then store and then burned in order to produce electricity. And most of the hydrogen today is produced by utilizing natural gas, impacting Co2 emission rates globally.
With an electric car, all you need is to produce the electricity, move it by an efficient delivery system, store it in the car’s batteries and that’s it! No surplus energy state changes, no need to utilize energy-dependent transport sources and no need for additional, rather complicated and labor intensive to build infrastructure.
Improved Footprint Of Energy Production
This great sign comes from Delphine Biscayne, an engineer at Formula E team Venturi. She comes from a history of work for the Williams Formula 1 team, where she helped develop KERS (Kinetic energy recovery system). Her endorsement of a completely EV future comes from the developments in the energy production industry. With better and more sustainable production sources coming online, the move to completely electric vehicles makes more sense. Clearly, energy production becomes greener with time and one day, we’ll be at a point where vehicles running on EV power alone, are globally a lot greener than the ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) powered vehicles.
This means that both the production means for both the vehicle and energy are getting to a point where Co2 emissions are greatly reduced. With the United States energy production spread going more towards renewable energy sources, so does the electricity needed to power these vehicles come with a smaller environmental footprint.
Currently, the biggest qualm people have with electric cars is the pollution that arises from their production, the recycling of the batteries and range – all of which will be undoubtedly sorted out in the next few years.
Sustainable Vehicle Production
This next sign ties into the previous one perfectly. Coming from Nicki Shields, a Formula E pit reporter, this point gives us great confidence that the electric car has a bright future. Currently, there’s not a lot of strictly EV dedicated vehicle platforms nor production facilities out there. Plainly put, there’s not a lot of car makers who are devoting a large chunk of their R&D and production to making exclusively electric cars. With the advent of purely electric vehicle platforms, dedicated solely to providing a stable foundation for a vehicle powered by an electric motor, drawing energy from a cluster of batteries, the production of such vehicles will not only become more efficient and cheaper but also a lot greener as well.
The move to all-electric vehicles will undoubtedly push auxiliary industries like wheel makers, tire companies and others, all in an effort to produce a product that caters to the specific needs of the electric car. This will in turn, result in a vehicle that’s far more efficient and cost-effective to run while being a lot easier on the environment.
Certainly, everything mentioned in the first five signs of this article is important. However, battery technology is the bread & batter behind the adoption rate of the electric vehicle. This sign comes courtesy of Paul Fickers, an engineering director for the NIO Formula E team.
For decades, cargo is being hauled by electric locomotives, people are being moved in fast traveling, high-speed electric trains, while most industrial equipment runs of electric motors. On the other hand, we’re still in the infant stages of the high-capacity, high-density battery world. The quest for efficiency in ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicles have been going for over 30 years, and it still eats up a large chunk of R&D budgets set aside by the major car makers.
On the other hand, battery technology is making strides in efficiency, energy density, and weight. Additionally, we’re developing improved production means to actually build them, affording nature with less of an impact as well. Furthermore, charging times are getting quicker by the day, and soon enough, we’ll be at a place in time where it makes more sense to charge and utilize a battery-powered vehicle than to fill up at a gas station.
The most obvious example is discussed in the video itself by the author. His Nissan Leaf comes with a 67% improvement in battery energy density than the same vehicle from 2011. It’s cheaper to make, runs better, has more power & torque, improved performance figures and costs less. Just imagine what will happen in the next 5 or 10 years. To view the entire video, press play below.