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The latest J.D. Power Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) awareness study has uncovered some interesting facts about electric cars and potential EV buyers, concluding that for the most part, the technology is still generally misunderstood.
To help optimize vehicle range in electric cars, researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have decided to design an eco-routing system which chooses directions based on fuel consumption.
Limited range is one of the biggest current deterrents to owning an electric vehicle, but technology heavyweight IBM is hoping to help change that.
In 2009, IBM researchers set out to develop lithium-air battery technology that would allow an electric vehicle to have a range of around 500 miles on a single charge, making them more comparable to a gas-burning car. The idea is that a lithium-air battery would borrow oxygen from the air as a vehicle is being driven, creating an air-breathing battery.
Some automakers and environmentalists are convinced that electric vehicles are the next big thing. Others however remain skeptical and to date, there’s little indication that EVs will be embraced by most drivers, due to the factors of cost, weight and range limitation.
Nevertheless new claims are being advertised all the time about improved range and lower cost becoming achievable from Lithium based batteries. Tesla Motors lays claim to a capacity of 56 kW hours and a range of 254 miles as used in its two-seat Roadster, but now battery maker Kolibri is stating that it has gone even further.
During a test conducted in Germany, with an Audi A2 converted to EV propulsion by DBM Energy/Lekker Energie and fitted with a Kolibri battery pack system, a total distance of 375 miles was claimed for the vehicle before re-charging.
Naturally, the results were quickly met with skepticism, further fueled by the car being destroyed in a warehouse fire afterwards (the battery pack did survive).
However, the inspection organization Dekkra conducted tests of an A2 on a chassis dynometer and found that a 63 Kilowatt per hour battery gave the A2 a range of 283 miles, not quite as far as the claims listed by DBM, but still rather impressive by current EV standards. In addition, the German Federal Institute for Materials, Research and Testing also conducted experiments on the Kolibri battery pack. The results? Well the organization claimed that the pack easily passed their safety tests and was judged fit to be installed in passenger vehicles.
As a result of these “successful” conclusions, DBM is now planning full scale field trials of the system later this year. However a great deal of skepticism remains about how well the Kolibri pack will perform in real world conditions – I guess only time will tell.
[Source: New York Times]