The green driving revolution is here, and it is now rare not to see an electric or hybrid vehicle when out on the roads. The majority of the main car manufacturers are now developing at least one of these vehicle types, and it only seems a matter of time before roads will be packed full of eco-friendly vehicles.
Whilst this growth in popularity is great for the environment and it looks set to continue, there are still many motorists who are reluctant to take the plunge. One of the major pitfalls of electric cars is that they take too long to charge, and particularly when you compare this to how long it takes to fill up the tank. An experiment showed that it takes just 90 seconds to put enough fuel into a diesel car to run for 1,000 kilometers, whereas when you charge an electric car for the same amount of time, the range is just 6 kilometers.
Although the storage capacity of the batteries in electric cars is improving, it still cannot compete as “the power grid is the weak link” because it struggles to charge thousands of cars at the same time. A solution has been discovered by EPFL researchers, however, and this could have enormous ramifications for the green revolution. This solution is intermediate or “buffer” storage, which could reduce electric car charging times to around 15 minutes.
Buffer storage is possible by using a lithium iron battery that is “the size of a shipping container” that is constantly charging at a low level of power. Without using the grid, the battery then transfers the stored electricity to the vehicle whenever a charge is needed. The use of this buffer would enable the “ultrafast charging of hundreds of electric cars with grid overload protection.”
Many motorists have steered clear of electric cars in recent years, but with many also being eco-conscious, this has resulted in the rise of hybrid cars. Despite a wide range of good looking hybrids, this innovative solution to electric car charging could see many decide to fully commit to green driving. Whilst it is still faster to fill a petrol or diesel car, 15 minutes is a drastically reduced time and requires less effort than filling a tank.