Battery Electric Vehicles to Become More Popular with Recent Technology Advancements

John Slifko - Battery Electric Vehicles to Become More Popular with Recent Technology Advancements

Volvo’s announcement on July 5, 2017, which all its vehicles will be hybrid or electric by the early date of 2019, made it the first auto manufacturer to talk of ending the reliance on combustion engines.

However, that raised questions about how they can accomplish this promise to populations throughout the globe whose transportation traverses many hundreds of miles. What are several current happenings in battery technology that could make believers out of those drivers who are on the cusp of electric vehicle (EV) conversion? What will aid in removing the daunting barriers of distance and cost that presently keep many potential buyers skeptical?

For example, in China, with its conservation mindset, taxis are powered by electricity, electric scooters outnumber gas ones, and buildings and towers are topped with solar panels.

So why isn’t there a United States-based conversion to battery-powered modes of transportation? Mostly convenience and not having the patience to wait nor stop after a short haul. The average American driver who may be planning a vacation doesn’t want to face the possibility of running out of power and air-conditioning.

Because of an abundance of hydropower, the Pacific Northwest is the nation’s largest producer of carbon-free and renewable energy. Coupled with residents who are conservation-minded, it becomes an ideal location for a wholesale conversion to electric vehicles.

John Goodenough, now age 94, joined colleagues in inventing the rechargeable lithium-ion battery in 1980. Now he has improved on his design and created the first all-solid-state battery cell, which means that the batteries, being rechargeable, will last longer and be noncombustible, which would be a real boon to mobile handheld devices and electric cars.

Because the energy density in a battery determines an EV’s driving range, and those battery cells have three times the density of lithium-ion batteries, drivers will eventually be able to drive farther and longer.

With no timeline for when the above will be on the market, we need to look toward other advances that are closer to becoming accessible, like Israel startup StoreDot’s FlashBattery technology which is said to charge a car in just five minutes. Its technology leverages nanotechnology to create uber-fast charges and hopes to debut the five-minute smartphone charger next year.

Although in its infancy, another possibility is a dynamic electric vehicle charging (DEVC) system being developed by French automaker Renault along with Vedecom and Qualcomm Technologies. In May, outside of Paris, two electric vehicles drove on a test track of 100 meters with buried coils emitting an electromagnetic field that converted into the cars’ electricity systems. Electric vehicles that are driven by DEVC even 25 percent of the time would not need to stop to be recharged.

From Purdue University, their instantly rechargeable “flow” membrane-free IFBattery extends the battery life and is more cost-effective. Drivers would just pull up to a fueling station that dispenses fluid electrolytes in water and methanol or ethanol solution. Spent battery fluids would be safe enough for residential storage and could later be recharged at an energy-efficient wind, solar, or hydroelectric facility.

 

Since transportation accounts for 14 percent of global greenhouse gasses, it is becoming critical to expand electric car driving and wean drivers away from gas guzzlers.

Battery Electric Vehicles: The Future is Tesla

John Slifko - BEV Tesla

Battery electric vehicles, also known as BEVs, run on a chemical energy that’s stored in a battery pack. These battery packs are rechargeable. In BEVs, there is no use for an internal combustion engine (ICE), a fuel cell, or even a fuel tank, because they use electric motors and motor controllers for propulsion. BEVs aren’t just in the form of cars; they’re also trucks, buses, construction vehicles, watercrafts, bicycles, motorcycles, and many other forms as well.

For the past few years, Nissan’s Leaf model has been the world’s top selling highway-capable BEV with a 100-mile range from one single charge. Nevertheless, Bloomberg is reporting that the Leaf is set to be overthrown by a different automaker. Tesla Inc is the brand to watch for this upcoming year. The co-founder and CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, has been known for creating vehicles that go from zero to sixty in less than three seconds, giving you an adrenaline rush similar to riding the world’s fastest roller coaster. However, in the past year, Tesla has been focusing their efforts on creating a BEV that’s more suited for the everyday commuter.

The Model 3, which appeared on the market in late summer, is the BEV we’ve all be waiting for. While the vehicle won’t go from zero to sixty in under three seconds, it will do it in under six. The vehicle looks sharp, seats comfortably, and has a 220-mile range from a single charge on its standard battery. Starting at an MSRP of $35,000, the Model 3 is much more affordable than the previous models which start at just under $100,000.

Tesla is the only automaker to have broken the 300-mile range, and they’ve now done it with two of their models: Model S and the long-range battery for Model 3. Along with this amazing feat, Tesla is also known for their vehicle safety, which isn’t always common with BEVs or Hybrids. Tesla tweeted a video in late July showing the comparison of an impact test between the Model 3 and Volvo’s S60, what is thought to be one of the safest cars on the road today. The Model 3 withstood the side-pole impact much better than the S60.

The future is battery electric vehicles, and Tesla is paving the way. It will be interesting to see what the Elon Musk will come up with next.

5 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Air Pollution

5 Ways to Reduce Your Exposure to Air Pollution - John SlifkoAir pollution is the cause of many health related issues. They can range from short term medical difficulties to very serious lifetime diseases. Poor air quality can affect your cognition, decrease your life expectancy, and cause developmental issues in children. If you’re living in a city with high air pollution, here are five ways to reduce your exposure.

For starters, find out what is your current air quality index (AQI). Head to AirNow.gov to see the current AQI for your area and what is forecasted for the rest of the day. On this site, you will also find resources pertaining to your specific area. Your local newspapers may also publish information about the daily air quality as well. If the air quality for that day is poor, consider staying indoors.

If you enjoy exercising outside, do it during the morning. Early hours of the morning are when the ozone is the lowest. Cardio workouts draw air deeper into your lungs which can cause an issue if the air you’re breathing is heavily polluted. Working out in close proximity to a roadway is highly inadvisable as well, since that is where the air is dense with pollution from vehicle exhaust.

Additionally, you should avoid heavy traffic whenever possible. Sitting in bumper-to-bumper rush hour exposes you to the exhaust of trucks, busses, and other commuters around you. These air pollutants have proven to increase negative health outcomes. If possible, commute during irregular traffic hours. If you find yourself in traffic such as this, keep your windows closed and set your fan on recirculate to avoid the outside air from coming in. Don’t forget to replace your car’s air filters on a regular basis as well.

If you’re a smoker, it’s time to learn how to quit. If your friends and loved ones smoke, help them quit as well. Smoking causes emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and many other diseases. Second hand smoke is just as harmful so not only are you causing harm to yourself, you’re also causing harm to those around you. To avoid second hand smoke from others, stay away from places that allow smoking indoors such as restaurants and bars.

Cyber-Activism: Harnessing the Power of the Internet to Enact Change

As you may have already gathered from my other blog posts on this website, my primary academic interests lie in the origins of democratic civil society and eighteenth-century worlds of print. What you may not know is that outside of the classroom, I’ve spent most of my life championing for equal rights as a social and political activist. Interestingly, as the internet continues to grow and change, it seems as though my academic and personal interests are beginning to overlap with one another in the form of what is referred to as Cyber-Activism.

Egyptian Revolution John Slifko

Cyber-Activism on Twitter played a significant role in the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

In a 2015 podcast for PhilosophyTalk.org, John Perry defined Cyber-Activism as “political activism that is made possible by the use of cyber tools like email, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other sites.” Essentially, the internet has now made it possible for activists to spread their messages to a wider audience than ever before by using digital platforms as their soapboxes. As you can imagine, this has certainly changed the face of activism; for proof, one need only recall the Egyptian Uprising of 2011, in which social media played a crucial part in letting the rest of the world know what was going on in that country when all other vehicles for communication were locked down. During the Egyptian Uprising, people around the world changed their IP addresses – or the digital string of numbers that tells other people and the internet the location from which you’re accessing the internet – to Egyptian IP addresses. They did this to protect Cyber-Activists in Egypt from having their identities exposed, which would have led to them incurring the wrath of their government for spreading this information. Or think about the fact that with the internet, we are now plugged into a global 24-hour news cycle, capable for the first time of watching events unfold in other parts of the world in real-time.

To me, Cyber-Activism is a stellar example of how the invention of the internet represents a new era in the way humans communicate with each other and advocate for those in need. With more access to information and to each other than we’ve ever had before, this shift is as historically significant – if not more so – than the one that occurred after Gutenberg invented the Printing Press. I, for one, am certainly looking forward to witnessing the myriad other ways that the internet will help propel us into a brighter future…a future in which it is virtually impossible to plead ignorance about the injustices that are committed every day around the world.