The sale of electric vehicles in 2017 increased by more than 50% or 1 million since 2016, bringing the total of EV in circulation to over 3 million. By 2030, it is expected that there will be 125-220 million electric vehicles on the road if sustainability targets and goals are met.
Although there are barriers to a widespread adoption of EV among auto buyers, technology research and innovations can overcome these impediments to make electric cars attractive, cost-effective and practical solutions.
Faster Charging Times Is a Game Changer
One of the main stumbling blocks of EV adoption is that it takes a relatively long time to charge up a car. It is said that it is faster to fill up 86 vehicles with gasoline than it is to renew power for an EV. At present, charging times for EVs vary by type and brand of vehicle. It can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours to charge an electric car. As an example, the Nissan Leaf takes 4 hours to charge from empty. Tesla cars can go to a Supercharger station and it takes about 20 minutes to charge up to 50% and 75 minutes to reach 100% according to Tesla Motors.
For prospective buyers of a new vehicle, making charging times faster will convince drivers on the go to make the switch. ABB, a Swiss company, recently launched its Terra High Power DC fast charger allowing a car to recharge in 8 minutes for a 200-km range or gain. The only problem is that charging infrastructure in cars must be able to take in that kind of power which pumps out energy at 350 kW. Nissan can only handle up to 100 kilowatts while Tesla from 184-210 kW.
Better Batteries for a Wider Range
Another point against EVs is that their batteries limit driving autonomy. Drivers are worried that they will get stranded in the middle of nowhere as charging stations are, at present, not that many compared to gas stations. The solution is to add another battery to serve as a back-up or increase the power storage capacity of present batteries. Doing this will improve the range of EVs drastically.
Currently, researchers at the University of Waterloo are working on using lithium metal batteries to improve the range of EVs. Researchers are improving the capacity of the batteries to store power. BASF Germany is busy with its nickel-cobalt battery technology that will top up power as quickly as pumping gas with a 300-mile range. The Universities of Surrey and Bristol are collaborating with Superdielectrics Ltd on a ‘new polymer conductor technology.’
Without a doubt, electric vehicles are the future. But to increase adoption and acceptance, technology must be able to address the obstacles that make consumers hesitate in purchasing and driving EVs.
Author: Jennifer Dawson