Posted by: carboncreditsusa | February 6, 2009

“Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles” Are Gaining Support With Battery Technology Remaining Focus Of Technology Development

Make no mistake: the gating item for PHEV’s is battery technology that can provide enough energy for 100-200 miles of driving before a recharge is necessary. Everything else to make the car currently exists: efficient, high-torque motors, variable ratio transmissions, and strong, lightweight composite materials for the body and frame.

http://seekingalpha.com/article/118966-fueling-the-move-to-plug-in-hybrid-electric-cars?source=email

Obama also plans to raise miles per gallon targets to 35 MPG by 2020. Not particularly aggressive, but the carmakers will have trouble meeting it without major design changes to many of their models.

Once the air clears (pun intended) and the whining ends, what you’re likely to increasingly hear is how the big three automakers are rapidly ramping up their Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) research and development.

Make no mistake: the gating item for PHEV’s is battery technology that can provide enough energy for 100-200 miles of driving before a recharge is necessary. Everything else to make the car currently exists: efficient, high-torque motors, variable ratio transmissions, and strong, lightweight composite materials for the body and frame.

Benefits of PHEV’s are patently obvious:

Reduce – and in fact nearly eliminate – our dependence on foreign oil.

Greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Revitalize the American automobile industry (and companies that support it) when we need it most.

Provide thousands of jobs constructing the charging station infrastructure that will be required to support a national PHEV fleet of cars and trucks.

The creation of even more jobs to upgrade and expand our nation’s power grid to get all the additional power that will be required to where it’s needed.

Employ still more workers to construct solar and wind farms to generate the additional power required.

The PHEV Waiting Game

Clearly, the American automobile manufacturers have their work cut out for them with regards to PHEVs. Had they taken the long view three or four years ago on PHEVs instead of the short-sighted profit view of selling SUVs, we might already be there.

Now they find themselves in the difficult position of trying to survive the current credit freeze and consumer spending shutdown that could easily last another 12 months. It’s not clear at this point which – if any of them – will last long enough to be able to bring a viable PHEV design to market, although all three have announced they’ll be introducing electric production vehicles in the next two years.

The real winners in the PHEV game will be the battery companies. They’ll be tasked with supplying the high power batteries necessary to get a decent size fleet of PHEV’s rolling down the nation’s highways.

Right now, the most promising technology that seems like it can provide the power densities required for the 100-200 mile target commuting range is Lithium-Ion. Car companies are already running test vehicles using lithium batteries, but cost is still an issue, and they’re coming up a little short on the range.

 

 

 


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