Monday, December 13, 2010

Rise of the Electric Vehicles - the IDTechEx electric vehicle event in San Jose, California

The inaugural IDTechEx electric vehicle event in San Jose, California was a great success and it will now be repeated annually in three continents. The range of different electric vehicles on display was fascinating such as a Hawkes Ocean Technologies submarine, a 200 mph silent Formula One Racing car from Kleenspeed, etc.

BMW, Nissan and Fiat provided fascinating views and announcements as well. Detailed market statistics for all types of electric vehicle were shared at the event.

Professor Pietro Perlo of Fiat Central Research insisted that, for maximum benefits, vehicles must be "born electric". He is developing small pure electric cars because they have the clearest business case, being lower cost, not just non-polluting at point of use. However, he is cautious about the first generation in-wheel motors. Others are using them confidently.

On-road vehicle makers shun third generation traction batteries such as lithium sulfur, fearing for safety, but they are already used in electric aircraft and military off road vehicles. 1kWh/kg is achieved with lithium air and lithium water, where carbonate based electrolytes have proved a dead end. Presenter PolyPlus Battery Company claimed to have cracked this problem, having moved on from lithium sulfur focus. Indeed, with its compliant seal, its batteries are pressure tolerant for EVs at great depths under the ocean and rival the energy density of gasoline. 1 kWh/liter and 600 wh/kg are being targeted under a recent ARPA-E grant. This work and that of Sion Energy on lithium sulfur target 300 miles affordable range for pure electric land and air vehicles. Toyota and IBM recognise that here is the future. Meanwhile, 1.3 kWh/kg and 700 Wh/liter has been achieved with a damage tolerant lithium water battery for marine use that has no self-discharge. A pilot line is planned next.

Future of Electric Vehicles Europe will take place in June 2011 in Munich, Germany. Visit for more info


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