Yesterday we examined the news about new models of advanced vehicles being produced to meet consumer demand. Today we focus on lesser-known facets of the advanced vehicle industry: batteries, defense applications, and infrastructure.
General Electric has partnered with Ford Motor Company and the University of Michigan to improve EV batteries. The project will create an ultrathin battery sensor system and sophisticated model of cell behavior to optimize the battery’s energy management. Clean Technology Business Review reports:
GE Global Research principal investigator and mechanical engineer Aaron Knobloch said that the battery systems in a car was the greatest barrier as well as the best opportunity to make EVs more viable and easy to adapt in mainstream private transport. “Improvements in the range, cost and life of the battery will all be needed for EVs to be competitive,” added Knobloch.
Developments in EVs are not limited to civilian life, as Stars and Stripes reports. As a part of the Department of Defense (DOD) initiative to improve energy security, save money, and operate more efficiently, EVs are being integrated into military fleets. The vehicles are used as on-base nontactical government vehicles. The Army aims to place EVs at more than 40 bases over the next few years and the DOD will eventually integrate 1,500 road-capable EVs into base fleets in the coming years. Stars and Stripes reports:
Last month, the first two Chevy Volts arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., where they will be used as nontactical government vehicles. Eighteen Volts are about to hit the roads at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Marine Corps and Air Force officials said […] The Volts, which can run on gas or electricity, join more than 3,000 electric vehicles already in the military fleet, according to the 2011 Federal Fleet Report.
Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, is optimistic about the overall future of the EV market. In an interview with Automobile Magazine, Musk discussed the Tesla Supercharger strategy, which will be unveiled in the coming months. “The Supercharger strategy should address people’s intercity concerns,” Musk said. “It charges three hours of driving in 30 minutes, which is the convenience inflection point, approximately, for a gasoline car.” Tesla also has plans for a third-generation vehicle that is targeted at $30,000. Musk went on to say:
“[In a market unfamiliar with EVs,] the only way that I could think of to address that was with innovation — to come up with a product that was better so that people would choose to buy an electric car because it’s the best car in the current economics of the source of energy.”
As the market for advanced vehicles expands, so too will the industry surrounding advanced vehicles. This has wide-ranging implications for the advanced energy industry as a whole. Infrastructure for EV charging will expand along with the spread EVs themselves. Advanced battery technologies have wide-ranging applications, including storage opportunities for renewable energy and increasing grid stability. The advanced energy industry stands to gain from the expansion of the advanced vehicles market.