Archive for April 2013 | Monthly archive page

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It is widely accepted that driving is becoming increasingly automated. Indeed, we already have self- parking cars. (It’s not often that Jeremy Clarkson from BBC Top Gear is lost for words!)

According to a special article in The Economist, VW does not envisage a fully automated car within the next 20 years… but Google does! The internet company expects its driverless car technology to be ready in five years. Optimistic? Yes – but it’s probable that cars which self-drive will be mass produced in the 2020s.

Renault-Nissan’s boss, Carlos Ghosn, is also optimistic, although with a longer timescale: “I don’t see any impossible obstacle. I think this is something you are going to see on the horizon of 2020 because the technologies are getting mature.”

Driverless cars create a world of scepticism and opportunity… safety, cost and environmental savings for a start. The World Health Organisation states that 1.24m people are killed every year globally. An automated car would stick to speed limits, reducing crashes and the huge medical costs that go with them.

Of course there are many, many issues to work through, as discussed in The Economist’s report but look out – driverless cars are on their way!

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Millions of EV drivers worry about replacing their battery pack – or even their car – when the battery pack dies. But how long before they can expect this large expense?

Last week, owners and potential drivers of electric and hybrid vehicles using lithium-ion batteries were given peace of mind by scientists at the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

How? We know how long to expect our car’s battery pack to live.

“The battery pack could be used during a quite reasonable period of time ranging from 5 to 20 years depending on many factors,” said Mikael G. Cugnet, Ph.D., who spoke on the topic. “That’s good news when you consider that some estimates put the average life expectancy of a new car at about eight years.

Cugnet explained many factors affect battery lifespan, such as:

–      Battery temperature (over 86 F will affect battery performance)

–      state of charge (fully charged batteries are more vulnerable to losing power at higher temperatures)

–      charge protocol (draining then recharging or topping up)

One obvious saving is the cost of fuel over a car’s lifetime, but EV drivers should also think about the “second life” uses for batteries that could make them valuable even after they’ve lost too much power to be useful in cars. These applications include backup power for computers and medical equipment, for example. This form of recycling offers environmental benefits too.

To find out about financial support for buying EVs and charging points, please contact us.

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