Full of electrons and go!


photo credit: EdoM Photography

What will be the futuristic propulsive solution for private transportation?

It is hard to say which one will prevail. The hybrid or pure electric perhaps, well aware of the current benefits and limitations of those innovative systems.

Beyond this, however, I believe that innovation must include an alternative to the traditional concept of car overcoming the paradox of more or less comfortable touring (either medium sized) vehicle under-used in its original destination and improperly used in low speed short transfer.

Whoever use the car in town needs to be offered compact “smart” vehicles (ecological, economical, reliable, safe and durable) and a second car for weekends and holidays with the family at the same time. To produce such product there is probably a need of leaner and more efficient industrial model than today. A model that would support, produce, distribute and sell quality vehicles at reasonable prices even without the perspective of gigantic numbers. Or alternatively to provide mobility services.

The hybrid solution can reduce fuel consumption and emissions but does not eliminate the problems associated with the internal combustion engine. The integration of these solutions form vehicles of a certain complexity with costs that are not always affordable.

The electric motor has high efficiency and excellent control with no direct emissions but needs a battery to ensure autonomy and the realization of diffused and intelligent infrastructure for charging.

A charging operation that lasts several hours, making shudder any driver at the thought of staying “dry” with electricity in the middle of the jungle town!

Who will be able to propose solutions breaking down those psychological “ghosts” will open up the market. And no doubt considering that innovation running and technology evolving under the pressure of imperative dictated by the environmental sustainability and the irreversible trend of oil scarcity.

There are already those who make our imagination flying, allowing the “full” of electricity as short as a full of gasoline. I’m talking about Paul Braun of the University of Illinois, the man who is making this dream real through the project of an innovative battery that reaches from zero to 90% charge … in two minutes!

It sounds like science fiction but is already an experimental reality. Through a special design of the cathode (negative electrode) and the mutual positioning of the electrodes, Braun was able to reduce significantly the path of electric charge in the battery fluid and thus speed up the charging time of 100 times compared to standard battery (for details see this article)!

This result is furtherly improved by innovating the shape and composition of the anode (positive electrode).
Of course those benefits are paid by an higher cost of the battery (20-30% more) and the need for an higher charging current available through a suited electrical infrastructure. The charging operation from the home network takes longer but we are willing to wait once we are back in our garage.

We are still in early testing but this certainly opens up a perspective that could accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles on our roads.

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