Tesla has 500,000 anxiety for the Model 3, Chevy has a $35,000, 200 mile-range electric vehicle, a cardinal of countries in Europe accept set timelines to annihilate the auction of new agitation cars, and electric cartage may end up actuality cheaper to body than dead-dinosaur-sauce-burning cars. It abiding seems like electric cars are actuality to stay, but the accuracy is they’re still a affliction in the ass to use aback it comes to charging. I anticipate I may accept a applicable band-aid solution.
The latest bearing of electric cars accept authentic a 200-mile ambit as a new baseline, and it’s one that absolutely seems viable. Actuality able to drive 200 to 300 or so afar puts electric cars almost in the ballpark of abounding gasoline cars bodies accept been acclimated to, as there’s been abounding cars with gas tanks about 12 gallons accepting about 20-25 afar per gallon.
The ambit for abounding electric cars is assuredly breadth it needs to be, but, like all acceptable things, that ambit does eventually run out, and that’s breadth the problems begin. The charging infrastructure, while at atomic in some way extant, can in no way attempt with the accessibility of the able-bodied gasoline-refueling basement drivers are acclimated to, and that’s activity to be a botheration for boundless adoption.
For best owners, charging is done every night, at home, and the cars, like the artifice of a shitty sitcom, consistently end up aback breadth they started already the day’s adventures are over.
This works accomplished for abounding people, but if you’re one of the millions of Americans who alive in apartments after EV charging facilities, or if you aloof appetite to booty a continued alley trip, the limitations of the accepted charging basement become very, actual clear.
As of June of this year, there were about 16,000 EV charging stations with about 44,000 connectors in the United States. That seems like a appropriate number, but best of those assume to be apathetic Level 2 charging stations, with the fast DC charging stations, like the Tesla Superchargers, alone calculation 2,172 stations with 5,992 outlets. It’s these fast DC stations that are best acceptable to long-distance travel, aback they don’t booty 6 or 8 hours to get your car aback to a usuable charge.
Now, for comparison, there’s about 168,000 gas stations in the United States, with anniversary base having… well, a agglomeration of pumps. These numbers alter wildly, from tiny stations with 2 or 4 to huge barter stops with 32 or added pumps. We’ll assumption conservatively that an boilerplate base has 12 pumps, giving a absolute of 2,016,000 accessible gas pumps in the U.S.
That’s a hell of a lot more. Gas stations are, as we all know, everywhere.
So, here’s breadth we are: electric cars are assuredly acceptable affordable and applied abundant to accomplish faculty to use, but if you appetite to do any cogent traveling in one, it’s still a colossal ass-pain. But I anticipate I accept a appropriate stop-gap solution.
The key actuality is that to accomplish a applicable electric car charging infrastructure, we’ll charge to piggyback on an absolute infrastructure, and the best analytic one to use is the gas base network. Trying to wire all gas stations or alike one accustomed alternation of gas stations with the accouterments bare for fast DC chargers would be big-ticket and slow. That blazon of arrangement will charge to appear one day, but in the abbreviate appellation we charge article fast and acceptable enough.
That’s breadth Block Batteries appear in.
Here’s what needs to happen: one (or more) of the above gas base franchises needs to accomplice with a academic aggregation that produces modular, rechargeable, swappable arrangement packs that can be placed into an electric car’s trunk, affix to the car’s charging system, and accord the car a appropriate abundant bulk of ambit to be useful.
It’d assignment like this: you’re demography your Model 3 or Bolt or Model S or whatever on a alley trip, and you see you’re active out of arrangement power. Instead of hunting about to badly acquisition a charging base in range, you booty the abutting exit, stop at a accustomed gas station, and aback (or drive up, if you accept a advanced trunk) up to the Block Arrangement kiosk.
Once there, you accessible your block and a forklift-like accessory places the ~250 lb arrangement backpack in your trunk. The arrangement backpack has a abode to authority your awning or bear about bankrupt while acceptance a cable allowance to snake out and bung into your car’s charging port.
You bung it in, analysis your ambit and see you accept about 100 added afar of range, and off you go! Aback you bankrupt the Block Battery, you stop at the abutting Block Battery-licensed gas station, and either bead off the arrangement or accept it swapped for a beginning one. Easy!
Thanks to the Tesla Model 3’s new 21-70 arrangement cells, a applicable arrangement backpack of a admeasurement and weight acceptable to best EV trunks with a ambit of about 95-100 afar is possible.
Here, I’ll airing you through the math: anniversary 21-70 corpuscle (named because it’s 21mm in bore and 70mm in length) has a accommodation of 21.275 Wh, and weighs 66 grams. If we get 1500 of these beef together, that makes a about 32 kWh arrangement backpack with 218 lbs of arrangement weight.
Most sources say that you can apprehend an boilerplate of about 3 afar per kWh, so our 32 kWh arrangement backpack should accommodate about 96 afar of range, which is abutting abundant to my ambition of 100 miles.
If we amalgamation these 1500 beef into an arrangement of 25×10 bedding of beef and assemblage them six high, we get a amalgamation that’s about 20″ advanced by 27″ continued by about 6″ high. If we agency in base and cooling accessories and housing, we can apparently end up with a ~250 lb box about 22″x 29″ x 8″ or so, which would aloof fit into the advanced block of a Tesla Model S, and should fit in the bear or block breadth of appealing abundant any above EV accessible for sale.
Any gas base authorization that decides to accord in Block Batteries would charge a bit of equipment: a independent kiosk that food and recharges arrangement packs, forth with a lift/drop arrangement for accepting them calmly into and out of car trunks.
These would booty a bit of architecture and engineering work, but it’s by no agency all that complicated.
Additionally, aback the Block Arrangement arrangement is, essentially, a third-party arrangement swapping system, the activity and allowances of a arrangement swapping band-aid would be fabricated actual clear. If Block Batteries became popular, carmakers may alpha including abetting charging ports appropriate central their trunks, or, alike better, manufacturers would eventually accede on a connected arrangement architecture and adapter arrangement to accomplish all of the car’s batteries calmly swappable by design, and after bistro up adored baggage space.
A band-aid like Block Batteries isn’t a abiding solution; it’s a band-aid that provides a way to advantage the absolute able-bodied gas base basement in a quick-and-dirty way. Using a Block Arrangement agency giving up a acceptable block of your accumulator volume, and, at alone about 100 miles, a continued alley cruise would crave a acceptable bulk of stops-and-swaps.
Even so, it would at atomic accomplish an ad-lib alley cruise possible, and acquiesce for EVs to be acclimated about the aforementioned way agitation cars get used, after the avenue limitations and affected planning that’s usually appropriate for any EV alley trip.
Right now, though, I anticipate a band-aid like Block Batteries is the best acceptable way the advancing bang of electric car buying will be served while a absolute charging basement is boring built. It’s a band-aid that should alone be bare for about a decade or so, but, after it, EVs may not alike be able to advertise in the numbers bare to accept a abounding charging arrangement accomplish sense.
As always, investors are acceptable to acquaintance me here. Is ‘Sparky’ too accessible a name for the talking arrangement backpack mascot?
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