Monday, January 22, 2007

Chevrolet Volt: the ifs, buts and maybes

The uncertainties...
Some unanswered questions like: what if I travel at 160kph and discharge the batteries until 10%, can the ICE generate sufficient power to charge them with the energy rate I need? How should the discharge cycles be handled? How many full cycles will Li-ion batteries allow in the near future? How will car manufacturers adjust to a series hybrid shift… even if the mechanical simplicity and the fact that the ICE is kept should make them more friendly than if considering a pure electric vehicle? How will Big Oil react to this? What if a higher demand for Li-ion batteries triggers an increase in prices of its raw materials used for manufacturing. Do series hybrids present a challenge for the electrical grid? Is Big Oil going to buy electric companies?

But the biggest question remains? Can we really achieve the necessary robustness in future batteries? Make them last 10 years and be charged/discharged for more than 200 thousand kilometers and without safety/reliability issues? The next 3 to 4 years should give the answer to that.

Batteries are the weak link...

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