Not selling – no better place to charge your EV!

The promise of electric cars is getting down to the power point. The promise of the dream technology solving our transport challenges is now best described as uneven! The problem might just be the socio-economic structure around us, and where the most car dependent households are distributed.

It seems at odds, that for instance, the City of Sydney is staunchly promoting a sustainable future, that the leading edge they wish to protect and serve with examples of what is the correct thing to do is also being meet with stern and robust opposition. If we put aside the concerns over the city’s trigeneration project and the claims and counterclaims. A very interesting story develops from an article published on http://www.drive.com.au under the heading “Not Selling”.

The story centres on the City of Sydney council having held a press event last week. The announcement being it had bought 10 Nissan Leaf electric cars, and it planned to buy 50 similar vehicles over the next few years. The story said “the event was supposed to be a shot in the arm for electric vehicles, which have barely registered a blip on the sales charts. But instead, it provided an insight into the failure of the Better Place electric vehicle-charging network”. Co2Land org is now very interested in the history of the Better Place network as Canberra and others also touted the wonderful concepts and the advantages of such a network.

What happened to the wonderful network at Sydney: Again, Drive.com published “In 2011, the City of Sydney put out a project to tender for 12 new electric car-charging stations – a perfect opportunity for Better Place to gain a foothold in Sydney. Better Place was considered, but ultimately the tender was won not by a multinational technology provider but a local electrician, who simply installed power points”.  It got down to there is no need for propriety displays and charge points – all based on subscription arrangements. What was needed according to the manager for strategy and assets at the council was 15-amp, 240-volt power points with a timer and flow meter. CO2Land org then though they already have them in most council owned caravan park around the country – interesting thought to think the old technology is suitable for the new, yet we were going to pay more without the need!

Council is also quoted as saying there is a lack of customers to even support installing the power points. The story continues to say after the first two power point stations were installed in September 2012: ”We haven’t had a customer yet,” but there have ”been a few drop-ins”.  Oh dear, or is it still too dear?

Nanophosphate EXT technology – evolutionary improvement for electric cars

Missing from full electric, and hybrid vehicle promotions is the Achilles heel for Li-ion. Extreme temperatures are the enemy of battery range and when the battery is also the fuel tank, a hot or cold day can stop electric vehicles in their tracks.

For best operating results and also longevity, EV batteries need to be maintained within a fairly narrow temperature band. To get around this, “thermal conditioning” is used to regulate battery temperature. Typically electric and hybrid cars require liquid coolant and battery heating to cope with the extremes. All this adds to the cost and complexity of the operational needs of the vehicles.

CO2Land org has taken note of the words of Steve Kealy, that Ohio State University’s Center for Automotive Research is well advanced in testing new technology called Nanophosphate EXT (EXtreme Temperature) and the company promoting the system, A123, is claiming that the lithium-ion variant can operate at both high and low temperatures without requiring conditioning. Nanophosphate EXT technology is expected to start volume production in 20Ah prismatic cells in the first half of 2013. The Nanophosphate EXT cells retain more than 90 percent of their energy capacity after 2,000 full charge-and-discharge cycles conducted at 45 degrees Celsius.

Testing in extreme cold suggests the new cells will deliver 20 percent more energy than conventional cells at -30 degrees C. This better power delivery implies they could be used to create smaller, lighter batteries for both electric and conventional cars.

So if that problem is solved, we still need to address the problem of tackling Generator Emissions Standards at the recharging points for electric vehicles. Maybe the carbon price will take care of that problem?