There are still a lot of hurdles when it comes to using an electric car for the long run. Like the fact that the storage capacity of its lithium-ion battery pack gradually decreases after regular recharging.
Officially, car batteries are supposed to have a life span of 8 to 10 years, or at least tha’s what engineers are trying to achieve. They do have to admit that charge after charge, the battery is not the same any longer: for example, the Chevrolet Vol’s battery will probably lose about 60 to 65% of its initial capacity, according to GM. In fact, a closer scenario to reality is replacing the battery after approximately 5 years of usage to make it back the way it was.
This impacts consumers directly, as they won’t be able to drive their car for the expected range. This may not be as bad as it sounds: this means cheaper EVs and the batteries can always be used for something else afterwards.
As a financial aspect, one idea would have the car owner lease the battery. This way, both he and the company that he leased it to get their fair share of the bargain: each pays for the time they will have used the battery. So this is more efficient and more cost-effective.
So they will probably serve the community in another way: the batteries will find a place to fill in the electric utility grid, helping out at peak times or temporary suspensions of electric power. Two or three lithium-ion batteries would be put together forming a pack, and they would be able to store 25 to 50 KWh of electricity. This power is enough for 4-5 homes for a few hours. Again, it would be cheaper than purchasing new batteries for the utilities.
It seems that researchers are doing everything they can and exploring every option, just to see more electric cars hitting the roads, and they hope to make it a success. You can contribute too if you buy an EV!
[via The New York Times]