Cars

Electric vehicle battery technology is usually of the lithium-ion chemistry, and it costs $400 to $500 USD per kWh, down from $1,000 a few years ago. They have certainly made strides, and they are set to make even bigger strides in the near future, possibly to $100 per kWh of batteries.

Tesla Model S Drivetrain. Tesla's Gigafactory could make electric vehicle batteries cheap.

Tesla Model S Drivetrain.
Image Credit: Kompulsa.

Tesla Motors has aimed to reduce the cost of lithium-ion battery technology by 30% via their Gigafactory. However, Elon Musk thinks that is conservative, and said that he would be disappointed if he didn't achieve a battery cost of $100/kWh within 10 years. The Tesla Gigafactory will also hire up to 6,500 people.

The Tesla Gigafactory Could Make Electric Vehicles Cheap

The Tesla Gigafactory should reach its full capacity of in 2020, which is 35 GWh of lithium-ion cells, and 50 GWh of battery packs per year, enough to produce 500,000 electric vehicles per year.

The Tesla Gigafactory's cost reductions could lead to a Nissan Leaf battery pack that costs only $2,400, as opposed to the $5,500 it costs now (after a $1,000 discount for turning in the old pack). Nissan Leaf vehicles could cost as little as $18,410 after federal tax rebates at that price!

Also imagine a Tesla Model S 85kWh (265 miles on average) battery pack that costs only $8,500. Compare that to the (estimated) $17,000 to $21,250 that it costs now. Please note that $21,250 translates to an unusually low cost of $250 per kWh.

That $12,750 cost reduction could reduce the cost of the 85 kWh model from $79,900 to $67,150, and that is an awfully nice car.

This cost reduction is likely to lead to the use of larger capacity batteries to extend electric car range to a few hundred miles.

That Much Additional EV Range Isn't Necessary - It's Time To Be More Fair To Electric Vehicles

Gasoline-powered vehicles can achieve over 300 miles per tank on average, but that doesn't mean that they must have that much range. Electric vehicles do not need that much range either.

Most people drive less than 30 miles per day, so most of the electric vehicles on the market can cover that range, including the (relatively) low-priced Fiat 500e and the Nissan Leaf vehicles.

Electric vehicle owners wake up to a full 'tank' every morning: Gasoline-powered vehicles cannot refill their tanks automatically every night like electric vehicles can. You have to drive to a gas station and sit their until it refills.

Electric vehicles can charge overnight while you're fast asleep.

Think about the average range a Tesla Model S could get per day, compared to that of a gasoline-powered vehicle. People don't want to visit odorific gas stations frequently, so they wait until they're running low on gas to stop by.

Most of the time, gasoline-powered vehicles have only a fraction of their 300-mile range, because their tanks aren't kept full.

Source: Green Car Reports.

A Tesla Model S operating system (OS) update (Version 6) may enable you to unlock and start your Tesla Model S using your iPhone, according to an Electrek leak.

Is This Convenient? Do You Need To Unlock Your Tesla Model S With A Phone?

Is it really that difficult to take your conventional keys/remote out of your pocket and press the unlock button? Or is this technology just a cool feature to amuse people?

Whichever it is, it's good to know that they have more options now. What may be inconvenient to you, could be very helpful to another.

It is technically possible to use the iPhone's Touch ID feature to unlock the Tesla Model S. However, this could still take longer than using a conventional remote.

There Is One Major Convenience

If you travel without your car for extended periods of time, you won't need to beg someone to babysit your car. You could just start it from wherever you are to keep the battery charged, as long as this technology enables you to lock the doors while it's running.

If you spend a great deal of time away from home, and away from your Tesla Model S, this feature could be a godsend for you.

Security Concerns Associated With Remote Car Unlocking/Starting

I'm not referring to conventional remote unlocking, but the use of cellphones to do so. Cellphones are among the most stolen (and insecure) mobile electronic devices. It is too easy for people to hack into them and gain access to your car.

They could probably even start it and let the A/C cool it off so they can just hop in and drive off as soon as they get to it. I'm not trying to scare you, but there is a good and bad side to everything, and the bad side in this case may outweigh the good.

Technology is a double-edged sword, and every new technology opens up windows to both potentially harmful and helpful things. However, the usefulness of the technology is what will determine its value to society.

An Android version may be released in a month.

Sources: Mashable and Electrek.

For technology-related news, visit the technology category, and for technology reference material, visit the technology section.

According to AppleInsider, Apple has patented a technology which could help you to find back your car in parking lots.

An iPhone 4S. iPhones may soon be able to help you find back your parking spot in the future.

An iPhone 4S. Image obtained with thanks from Matthew Pearce on Flickr.

Conveniently, this iPhone technology enables you to locate your parking space without a GPS signal or internet connection. This is certainly refreshing, coming from someone whose tablet becomes almost useless the moment his internet connection fails.

The iPhone technology uses the GPS capability of your iPhone to track your location. Once your vehicle is parked, you indicate that and the app records that as your parking space.

According to AppleInsider:

In lieu of GPS, the iPhone relies on onboard sensors to estimate with some accuracy the movement of a user. By combining sporadic GPS signal locks with accelerometer data, for example, an iPhone is able to "look forward" or "look backward" from a given point in time to deduce the location of a user proximate to their car.

Any number of techniques may be applied for tracking purposes, like motion data processing, time stamps, gyroscope data, pedometer data and more. Perhaps most applicable in driving and walking scenarios is the accelerometer, which can be used to determine motion, direction and speed over time.

This iPhone technology also has options such as 'Add To Favourites', 'Share Car Location', 'Set Parking Alert', 'Update Car Location', and last but not least: the address.

A Simple Parking Solution For The Interim

Technology can provide so many conveniences like these, but this invention raised the question: Why didn't property owners just mark parking spaces on the walkway between or behind vehicles in the first place?

For example: There could be a section A, B, C, and D with their section letters marked somewhere appropriate, and then a number for each parking space.

So you would only have to remember C4, for example, when you leave the supermarket. It would be very straightforward. You could just walk straight to the C marker, and then down until you arrive at space 4.

This may not work on vast expanses of land with no parking lots as Apple's invention can, but it is a good start.

Source: AppleInsider.

For more technology-related news, visit the technology category, and for reference articles pertaining to technology, visit the technology section.

This year, Nissan will use an outstandingly powerful engine to propel their ZEOD RC car at the 24 Hours Of LeMans. It weighs a measly 88 pounds, is equipped with only 3 cylinders, and it produces a whopping 400 HP. Shown below is a man holding the engine up with his bare hands, just to show you how incredibly lightweight and compact it is (minus the turbocharger).

Nissan ZEO 88-pound, 400 HP engine. Image obtained with thanks from NIssan.

Nissan ZEO 88-pound, 400 HP engine.
Image obtained with thanks from Nissan.

Apart from that. The ZEOD RC car is a hybrid-electric one. It will extend the range of the ZEOD RC during the long 24 Hours Of LeMans, and probably make the car outstandingly powerful. Electric motors already have a very high power-to-weight ratio. Imagine combining that with the high power-to-weight ratio of this engine? I don't know about you, but i'm eager to see how this project performs!

There could be a catch to this design. I know that unusually small and lightweight motor designs often have a partial duty cycle (in other words, they can't operate 24/7). What do you think it is? Incredible new materials? Maybe it just can't run for long? Sound off with your opinions in the comment section.

Source: Wired.

Originally published on Cleantechnica By Tina Casey.

Just in time for the 2014 Go Further With Ford auto trend conference in Dearborn, here comes news that Ford’s new super-efficient EcoBoost 1.0-liter engine has just been named International Engine of the Year for the third year in a row, and it also garnered the honor for Best Engine in the under 1.0-liter class. That’s according to a survey of 82 automotive journalists at Engine Expo 2014 in Stuttgart.

We were just talking about a bigger version of the EcoBoost, which is standard on that all new 2015 Ford Edge crossover SUV. The 1.0 version is in the Ford Fiesta available now and it will be available later this year on the 2015 Focus.

The Ford EcoBoost Engine

We happened to be visiting Dearborn (okay, so we were invited by Ford) last December and we caught a hands-on look at the Ford EcoBoost engine, so here are a few more details about the 1.0.

For starters, the three-years-in-a-row achievement is unprecedented. It brings the 1.0 EcoBoost up to 13 awards, including a Breakthrough Award from Popular Mechanics and a Ward’s 10 Best Engines award in the three-cylinder class, which is a first for any automaker.

Performance-wise, the 1.0 liter EcoBoost has a compact turbocharger that clocks in at a maximum rpm that compares to 2014 Formula 1 engines. We don’t really know what that means in terms of the numbers but we had a chance to experience it on the road when a Ford staffer offered us an “enthusiastic” spin in a Fiesta around the high-speed track at Ford’s Dearborn facility.

For those of you in the know, we’ll admit there’s a 70 mph limit on the high-speed track but hey you can still feel the burn.

Of more interest to the clean tech angle are the efficiency refinements. Some of them relate directly to fuel efficiency, and others help enhance life cycle factors that have more to do with general resource conservation.

As Ford describes it, the 1.0 liter can fit into an airplane overhead luggage compartment, but packed into that space is a system for cooling exhaust temperatures that provides for an optimal fuel-to-air ratio.

Here’s some more green goodies:

An innovative flywheel and front pulley design delivers improved refinement compared with traditional three-cylinder engine designs.

Engine friction is reduced by specially coated pistons, low-tension piston rings, low-friction crank seals and a cam-belt-in-oil design.

A variable-displacement oil pump tailors lubrication to demand and optimizes oil pressure for improved fuel efficiency.

Engines With Benefits

As Ford describes it the 1.0-liter EcoBoost delivers “big-car benefits from a small engine.”

That goes to the heart of a conversation we’ve been having about the future of liquid fuel. While first-generation biofuel has some serious ball-and-chain issues in terms of sustainability, the emergence of next-generation sources means that gasmobiles have the potential for a sustainable supply chain far into the future, even as the electric vehicle market grows.

Efficiency enhancements like the EcoBoost series and the advent of new lightweight materials will also contribute to that trend.

Speaking of contributing, the EcoBoost is the result of an intensive collaborative effort involving more than 200 Ford engineers and designers.

Collaboration also emerged as a running theme throughout the Go Further with Ford conference, and we’ll have more details on that in a later post.

Follow me on Twitter and Google+.

According to Mitsubishi Motors' website, the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is now for sale in Australia. Mitsubishi called it the first plug-in crossover hybrid SUV. The manufacturer's suggested price for the vehicle is $49,990 to $54,990 AUD. You might wonder why you shouldn't just purchase a conventional hybrid instead? Aren't they much cheaper?

Not in the long run. Plug-in hybrids such as this crossover can be recharged using the grid in the comfort of your own home overnight, enabling you to take advantage of the lower cost of electricity, keeping the gasoline engine off for a longer time. Gasoline is far more expensive than electricity, and conventional hybrids rely on gasoline much more often. If you have a solar system at home, that creates even more of an incentive to buy a PHEV!

Apart from that, this spacious 5-seater crossover SUV achieves an impressively low fuel consumption of 1.9 L/100 km (Based on the official ADR 81/02 test cycle).

Other features worth noting include the fact that it can use electric propulsion up to 100 km/h (62 MPH), so you can drive at the speed limit on highways, without burning gasoline.

Other features include:

  • 2.0L DOHC MIVEC engine.
  • 5 seats.
  • HEV & PHEV engine – motor.
  • Front fog lamps.
  • Dusk sensing headlights.
  • Rain sensing wipers.
  • 7 SRS Airbags.

For the Aspire version of this vehicle:

  • Chrome exterior door handles.
  • Leather seats with front seat heaters.
  • Power tailgate.
  • Power sunroof.
  • Forward Collision Mitigation (FCM).
  • Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).
  • EV Remote System.

Source: Mitsubishi Motors Australia.

By Nicholas Brown.

Matt Farah and Zack Klapman of The Smoking Tire went on an electric car test drive to compare the value of the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR. Zach Klapman drove the Cadillac ELR, and Matt Farah drove the Chevy Volt.

Video Credit: The Smoking Tire on Youtube.

Unsurprisingly, the ELR was found to be more pleasant overall, but the reviewers were disappointed in its value. They agreed that $50,000 would be a much better price for the Cadillac ELR (where value is concerned). There is an enormous price difference of $40,815 between these two electric vehicles. The Chevy Volt MSRP is $34,185, and the Cadillac ELR is $75,000 (as of April 2014 for the base models).

GM-Volt.com asked if this makes me happy I have a Volt, or if I wished for an ELR. If I had a Volt, my answer would be the former.

Source: GM-Volt.com.

By Nicholas Brown.

Panasonic, a major manufacturer of batteries, is hesitant to join Tesla Motors' 'Gigafactory' project, because it would raise investment risks, according to Panasonic's CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga.

Tesla Model S Drivetrain. Image Credit: Kompulsa.

Tesla Model S Drivetrain.
Image Credit: Kompulsa.

“Our approach is to make investments step by step,” Tsuga said yesterday. “Elon plans to produce more affordable models besides Model S, and I understand his thinking and would like to cooperate as much as we can. But the investment risk is definitely larger.”

I don't blame them for being cautious, as this is a very large project. It costs $5 billion! (Tesla already raised $2 billion). On the other hand, sometimes big risks result in big rewards.

If this project succeeds as Elon Musk hopes it will, it could reduce lithium-ion battery manufacturing costs, making them more feasible for electric vehicles and home energy storage. It would also enable Tesla to manufacture hundreds of thousands of electric vehicles annually. To top it off, the success of this project could provide peace-of-mind to others who are interested in pursuing similar projects, leading to more large-scale factories that produce low-cost lithium-ion batteries.

Those are big rewards!

Source: Bloomberg.

2 Comments

Brainstorm Project - Home

Autonomous cars open a window of opportunity for amputees, people who suffer from visual impairment, Parkinson's disease, and any other condition that could have an effect on their safety, such as severe cases of ADHD.

Ford Fusion Automated Research Vehicle. Image Credit: Kompulsa / Nicholas Brown.

Ford Fusion Automated Research Vehicle at the NAIAS (Detroit Auto Show).
Image Credit: Kompulsa / Nicholas Brown.

It enables them to get around privately without soliciting lifts. That's a godsend, but how is this related to energy or science?

Autonomous vehicles offer the ability to avoid the consequences of typical driving habits, such as reduced fuel efficiency, which is caused by frequent, sudden acceleration, sudden braking, and speeding.

Implications Of Autonomous Vehicles For Electric Propulsion

The electrification of automobiles is impeded by the short range of electric vehicles. Therefore, the improved efficiency achieved by autonomous vehicles (especially due to the fact that they don't speed) can help to conserve range. As a matter of fact, it can substantially improve average range, making electric vehicles a far more viable and attractive option than they ever have been.

Autonomous vehicles can also be equipped with smaller battery banks and achieve the same range that today's electric cars do, reducing their cost.

People have driven more than 1 billion miles in Tesla, Nissan Leaf, and Chevy Volt electric vehicles. This signifies that the public, and the electric vehicle manufacturers now have over 1 billion miles of EV driving experience and test data.

Tesla Model S touch Screen Interface.

Tesla Model S touch Screen Interface. Image Credit: Kompulsa.

This is critical to the electrification of the automobile, as early adopters are putting EVs to the test. When they fail, manufacturers learn of the mistakes they made, and enhance their electric vehicle designs further.

This also entails that many more than the billion people have been exposed to electric vehicles (due to the fact that they give their friends lifts and test drives in their electric vehicles).

Early adopters got today's big industries where they are, and they are doing the same for the EV industry.

Source: Cleantechnica.