December 22, 2014

Electric Vehicles Renewable Energy and Storage News

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This is part of our series on understanding the electric vehicle and hybrid terminology.

It’s no wonder people are so confused with terms used to describe hybrids and electric vehicle.

Electric Vehicle? This is a word we have used in this blog to describe any vehicle that uses electricity as it source of propulsion.  Why not use car?  It was a deliberate attempt to show that cars are associated with gasoline engines and electric ones could use a more exotic term like vehicle.  Another reason is that a vehicle can be a boat, an airplane, helicopter, scooter, bicycle, motorcycle, so on so forth.  As future will surely proved, these new vehicles will blur the lines between cars, planes and boats.

Recap:

Lead and acid batteries are heavy, use liquids, such as acids to create a chemical reaction producing electricity.  They are cheap and make good choices for converting some cars to electricity on a budget.  Their range can be limited to under 40 miles, though some conversions go well beyond 100.

NiMH batteries use nickel metal hydride to store electricity and are lighter than the acid ones with a better energy output.  They are more expensive then regular lead batteries and are used in many current hybrids, such as the Prius and the Civic Hybrid, to name a few.

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Lithium-ion batteries are lighter, have more energy output but are also expensive and tend to heat up under use.  EV maker Tesla approached the problem pragmatically by water cooling the battery pack.  Lithium batteries are used in cell phone and laptops, to name a few.

So what about Supercapacitators?

Supercapacitators, or Ultracapacitators. This is a special type of battery that is particularly well adapted to electric vehicle, EV delivery of power by giving it short bursts, and lose and regain energy better than a regular battery.

Technically speaking, is stores electricity in electric fields placed between a pair of plates conductors.   Conductors are any materials that contains movable electric charges.  Each plate in a capacitor are electric charges of equal magnitude with opposite polarity (plus or minus charge) which gives off electricity energy.  Sounds complicated but its not.

How does it compare to regular batteries? Good question.  Regular batteries use a combination of two or more electro-chemical cells to store chemical energy.  I converts chemical energy directly to electrical energy.

As a side note and highly controversial, batteries are not all that new, at least according to a discovery in ancient Mesopotamia where a clay pot which held vinegar and rusted out metal looks like a perfect prototype of a battery, over 2000 years ago.

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Electric vehicle