Electric Vehicles are now hitting the markets in full force, and are expected to become even more popular in the next few years. You can now see ads for EVs all over your Cox cable, complete with promises of reducing carbon emissions. This popularity is mainly due to the fuel savings and eco-friendly nature these vehicles are perceived to have. However, there are still various drawbacks to consider. Such as range, costs, and whether they really make a difference to the environment. After all, they consume electricity, which is still generated by fossil fuels. In addition, they use batteries, which have their own environmental impact issues.
So, while EV technology is quite encouraging, there is still a way to go before it becomes truly practical and applicable across the world. Currently, the industry is working on some tech developments which will make EVs much better and more environmentally friendly. These developments are also aimed at increasing the range and reducing the cost of these EVs. Here are a few ways the industry is working on these issues, and striving to apply this tech throughout the world.
Currently, you’ll see that most of the batteries around you are lithium-ion batteries. These use liquid or gel electrolytes and can be quite volatile, resulting in fires or short circuits. In addition, they need to use cobalt, which is hard to source in an ethical and sustainable manner.
Now, the industry is working on solid-state batteries, which use ceramic or other solid electrolytes to reduce these risks and be more sustainable. These batteries can also tolerate faster charging times than their lithium-ion counterparts, without the risk of short-circuiting and fires.
Fuel cells in the automotive industry use proton-exchange membranes. These require humidity and also need pure hydrogen to operate properly. This is why these vehicles have intricate water freezing and management challenges.
EV companies are currently working on flow batteries, which use and revitalize electrolytes. However, various approaches still need more work on storing, producing, isolating, and transporting hydrogen for these fuel cells to work efficiently.
Electric Motor Tech
The motors in EVs use permanent magnets made from some rare materials. Currently, China has a monopoly on these magnets and is the only one producing these at scale. However, some universities in the US have managed to develop strong and viable magnets. That will work great in the automotive industry. This will help lower the costs of these motors.
In addition, magnet placement affects the range and power consumption of these EVs. There is currently a new class of axial-flux motors in use, which place the magnets farther away from the axis of rotation. This gives them more torque for less energy, improving their range and efficiency.
There is a push for EVs to use recycled and recyclable materials in their manufacturing. Otherwise, their environmental impact will be as bad as that of conventional vehicles. The need of the hour is to dispose and recycle batteries and fuel cells properly. So that they don’t leech their components into the soil.
Numerous companies are working on reusable batteries which can then be recycled at the end of their lives. These prevent harmful components from entering landfills and also reduce the energy used in manufacturing new batteries constantly.
Shift to Local Manufacturing
Often, logistics can make all the difference. Previously, many of the components of EVs were imported from other countries, including batteries and fuel cells. This adds to their carbon footprint, as importing is not really an eco-friendly activity.
Companies are now setting up factories and assembly lines in their home countries. This way, they can manufacture the relevant components and roll out the EVs without all that fuel to transport various components here and there.
Decarbonized Energy Sources
The thing about EVS is that while they reduce fuel consumption, it really matters what energy sources the electricity in their country is coming from. If these sources are still primarily fossil fuels, then these vehicles only make a marginal impact on the environment. However, if they’re using renewable energy, then they are truly worth it.
There is an increasing shift towards renewable energy, particularly in European countries. So, these vehicles will have a minimal carbon footprint. Therefore, companies are currently working with states to discuss renewable sources of energy. And also see what they could do to reduce the carbon footprint of electric vehicle refueling. They are also working on installing eco-friendly refueling stations for EVs.
Bidirectional charging is really bringing something new to the mix. It basically means that you can charge your car using the grid, and the car can also send energy to your home or the gird. With this technology, the load of EVs on the grid will reduce. That’s because they can balance out the pressure by giving back to the system.
This technology is becoming more viable over time, and we should expect it to be more common in the EV market in the coming years.
To sum up, EV tech innovations are currently underway to improve the range, cost, and efficiency of these vehicles. This will help preserve the environment and also consume less fossil fuels in the long run.
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