Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Challenges of electric cars

Nissan's plug-free electric car !! Yeah, that's the latest revolution in automobile innovation. According to this Guardian article which was posted last week, Nissan has developed a wireless charging system.

I guess this is in response to a key concern of potential electric car users. According to their research, people are worried about the inconvenience of recharging their cars. A very valid concern indeed and a great way to respond !! Bravo to Nissan !!

But I guess there are few other concerns as well. First, the distance that a single charge could cover. Second, the amount of time to recharge. Third, probably the most critical one, getting replacement batteries. Can electric car manufacturers jointly develop a standard, generic, "can buy anywhere/any brand" batteries?

The above model by Nissan is suitable for short distance travel such as to work or shopping and a long interval (to recharge) between the travel back to home from office or shop.

But how about people traveling far continuously (> 100 miles / 160kms). For example, I can't even reach Ipoh from Penang :-( which is roughly around 180-200 kms. If the recharge is quick and similar to current amount of time to pump a full tank ( 5 minutes ???). Currently it takes 25 mins to recharge 80%. Otherwise we will end up having long queues in recharge stations/outlets.

So I guess, the challenge moving forward will be to find ways to increase mileage for each recharge, making recharge even quicker or better still if can recharge on-the-go by capitalising on kinetic, wind or heat energy to continuously recharge the car.

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