The rise of the eMachines: Part 6: All good things

By Tom Denton, Automotive Author

In this, the sixth and final article in my EV series, exclusive to Automechanika’s auto:resource, I will look in particular at the future of EVs! You may not agree with everything I say, and that’s fine, I may even be wrong – so let’s debate.

If you haven’t yet read them, catch up on parts 1-5 HERE

Figure 26 Inductive charging (Source: BMW Media)

Futurology

Earlier in this series of articles I speculated that we may be buying our EVs in the same way we now do for our phones. But how about taking the ideas even further?

How about we don’t own a car at all but just do a kind of PAYG? We already have rental companies that will deliver a car. Most also have easy to use apps for booking. We may need to plan ahead a bit, but a few taps and the car we need for the next few days or weeks turns up at the door. It can be exactly the right size and shape for our specific needs. It may or may not be an EV.

For short unplanned journeys to the shop, gym, cinema or pub, we just need to order an EV with a driver, which in most cases can be done at the last minute for unplanned events. Many years in the future it may turn up without a driver, but I will leave that for another series of articles! I do have an idea about what we could call this service however, we could call it a taxi!

For a lot of people who do a low mileage, this method would be cheaper than owning a vehicle.

Some figures

Taking into account depreciation, fuel, maintenance, tax and Insurance, the cost of owning a Ford Focus 1.5 TDCi Titanium, for example, is 42p per mile. This is doing 24,000 miles over 3 year. (Source: HPI)

The cost of a comparable EV, I estimate the per mile figure as 30p; we don’t have good data on depreciation yet, but this figure will be quite close.

Most of all though, there are two key reasons why EVs are, inevitably, the future:

  1. They are superior in every way to drive. Flat torque curve, smoother, quieter, pre-conditioning is easy and much more
  2. The efficiency of a pure ICE car, even with all the bells and whistles added to improve performance and reduce emissions, is much lower than an EV.

Battery update

At the time of writing (early 2021), a company called StoreDot has announced the availability of its first-generation, five-minute charge batteries as engineering samples. These are sample production cells, not prototypes from the lab.

The main breakthrough was overcoming three main challenges, battery cycle life, swelling and overall safety of the unit. This has been achieved by using graphite in the cell’s anode with metalloid nanoparticles.

Using available charging infrastructure, the company is aiming to deliver 100 miles of charge to a car battery in five minutes in 2025.

Figure 27 The five-minute charge – coming soon (Source: StoreDot)

The end

There’s nothing quite like having a fully fuelled car, ready to go at any time parked at our houses. But I wonder if we are coming to the end of this as a concept.

Time will tell, but for now as it is a sunny day, I think I may go and drive my car around for a bit, just because the fuel costs me nothing.

Figure 28 Photo voltaic panels hard at work on a sunny day in winter

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