Quick-Charging Plus Better Batteries Equals Mainstream Electric Cars

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Sep 13, 2011
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Item courtesy of Brad Berman.

The entire shape of the automotive landscape could change with a small shift in technology. It happened 100 years ago, when the advent of the self-starter ushered in the age of internal combustion and killed electric cars. Now, a low-cost quick charger, capable of adding as much as 100 miles of range in the time it takes to have a cup of coffee, could mean the birth of mainstream all-electric cars.

Nissan Motor Co. said  that it will offer a new electric car quick-charger resembling a gas-station pump for around $9,900. That’s less than one third of the cost of the current charger. So-called quick-chargers provide a jolt of 480 volts, filling an EV’s battery pack to around 80 percent of its capacity in approximately 20 minutes.

Today’s all-electric cars commonly provide a total driving range of 80 to 100 miles, but battery engineers are working on next-generation technology that could mean 150 or 200 miles of range for a similar cost. If combined with more affordable quick-chargers, the extended driving range of electric vehicles could greatly expand the desirability of gas-free EVs to mainstream car buyers.

“The newly developed quick charging unit retains the high performance of the current quick charger manufactured by Nissan, but is nearly half the size by volume,” the company said in a statement. “The new charger unit’s smaller size will take up less space and enable easier installation.”

Nissan is not the only company endeavoring to make quick charging a practical and affordable option. “I’m being told by equipment vendors that I should be able to get a DC fast charger for between $18,000 and $25,000,” said Michael Farkas, chief executive of Car Charging Group, in an interview with PluginCars.com. The sweet spot for DC fast charging is around $12,000 to $15,000

About The Author - Jeremy Smithson

Started Puget Sound Solar in 2001 with 30 years of construction contracting experience, and a desire to turn Seattle on to solar energy. Achieving NABCEP certification in 2004, Jeremy believes that our customers often follow a path similar to the one he took, starting out with solar daydreaming, then progressing to education on the subject, and eventually leading to action. In addition to leading the company he also does some teaching and speaking engagements about various aspects of solar energy, and experiments relentlessly with various solar, energy efficiency, and electric vehicle projects.

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