March 1st, 2011. Today we will talk about Electric Cars and Cities.
Already a reality in many countries, still a dream for others.
Many times, urban changes are way too slow compared to the technology available on the market.
Unfortunately cities do not change as we change our iphone or ipad and also politicians and rules makers never change or are just too old and not updated.
So, we have Electric cars, but why we don't see that many around?
K.T. Chau, Director of the University of Hong Kong’s International Research Centre for Electric Vehicles said: "even with tax breaks, an electric car costs two to three times as much as a comparable gasoline-powered car. Plus, the batteries need to be replaced after about four years, he says, and some estimates put the costs of a replacement battery pack at around US$15,000". Uh that's harsh.
Hong Kong’s steep hills add to what Mr. Chau calls a “range anxiety problem.” Though many electric cars advertise being able to drive up to 160 kilometers on a full charge, Mr. Chau says Hong Kong’s mountains along with the use of air conditioning makes that range closer to about 100 kilometers, and “people won’t use the last 20 [kilometers],” he says. Until battery technology improves and people can drive further, “I don’t see significant growth in electric vehicles,” Mr. Chau says.
Indeed, electric vehicles are a nascent market across the globe. Plug-in America, a nonprofit advocacy group, estimates there are only about 3,000 highway-capable electric vehicles from major auto makers in the U.S. To encourage the adoption of plug-in cars, the White House proposed on Jan. 26 to change a tax credit to a US$7,500 cash rebate for electric cars and plug-in hybrids purchases. In London, the government has set a goal of having 100,000 electric vehicles on its roads by 2020 — roughly 5% of all vehicles registered in the city.
The Hong Kong government has set its sights even higher. In September, officials said they were aiming for 30% of privately owned cars in the city to be hybrid or electric by 2020. As such, the government is encouraging businesses and car-park owners to install at least 2,000 charging stations by 2013, setting up an electric infrastructure before the vehicles hit the roads in significant numbers. There are currently 265 stations across Hong Kong, says the Environment Bureau. On Jan. 21 it launched a hotline that provides installation information.
“Availability of charging facilities is critical to potential car owners in considering whether to take up an EV [electric vehicle],” says Eva Wong, a spokeswoman at the Environment Bureau.
So, one of the main issue with Electric Cars as we know is the location of the chargers. People still prefer to rely on their Petrol Station and the grid of Petrol Stations all over the world. Unfortunately Electric Chargers in Parkings for instance are still a dream sometimes. The amount of Electric Chargers in Parkings can be count on one hand.
Some cities anyway are getting there with the number of charging columns.
For experience I know that Florence in Italy is well ahead with them. They should just adequate the models of the chargers: they are in fact still connected to the grid only, no solar power generation on top of them, so it is a bit of a waste.
Dublin aswell is sloooowly starting to place them around town (E-Cars project from ESB), but the times and the habits of politicians and consumers are still too slow and hard to change.
Unfortunately, this technology is already old. Ah ah the politicians and electric columns business people will die after this.
Not many people know in fact that "chargers" as we were used to know them, are already over.
2011 is already the year of "MAGNETIC INDUCTION CHARGERS". Basically it's wifi electric charging applied to your electronic device. No more cables, no more plugs (I just think at the decision taken recently by manufacturers to create one type only of charger - the mini usb. Already beaten by technology!)
This technology we saw in the video is not a dream anymore.
At CES this year Fulton Innovation has shown what the future of retail shopping, and even parking lots will be. Now that the Wireless Qi Standard has been finalized it seems like things are coming together and Magnetic Induction Chargers are really possible. MIC can charge EVERYTHING, from cereal boxes with blink lights to Tesla Roadsters that charge almost as quickly as with a wire but, quite obviously, without the wire. Basically you do not need anymore the charging column but just a MIC underneath your car (can be placed in ANY parking spot and there you go, your car charges while parked. Same thing can be done if you place them on the road: while you drive, you charge your car! Sort of Energy Zero Driving!
This form of charging is 80% efficient, but the company estimates that with a more integrated system (mainly deleting the converter) they could get to 89% efficiency. The wired charger? It clocks in at 96% efficiency, meaning for any given voltage the charging time would only be about 7% slower going wireless -- a potentially small price to pay for the ability to turn an entire parking lot into a charging station without having to worry about wires or vandalism or semi-inadvertent electrocution of curious people who decide to see what happens when terminals get licked. Amazing applications are also possible with the MIC as electric cooking areas that not heat up of smart shelving in stores. Have a look.
Why Electric cars aren’t selling: http://blogs.wsj.com/hong-kong/2011/01/31/why-electric-cars-arent-selling/
Fulton Innovation with Engadget: http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/06/fulton-innovation-blows-our-minds-with-ecoupled-wireless-tesla