18 Feb Bigger Batteries and Faster Chargers Aren’t Enough To Make EV Commercially Viable
Electrification in transportation will have a profound impact on many sectors in the near future. Not only are governments tightening up regulations and corporations scrambling to find solutions that will allow them to meet new standards without retooling their infrastructure but the tide has also turned in the consumer market where the “green pressure” is on.
According to a recent Reuters analysis of 29 global automakers, they will be investing at least $300 billion in the development of electric vehicles and battery technologies in the next five to ten years.
The race to electrifying commercial fleets is heated as well, with Daimler Trucks North America delivering its first electric Freightliner to Penske where it’ll undergo testing in everyday commercial applications.
However, today’s technologies aren’t solving one of the major challenges in making EV commercially viable. The issue is inherent in the fact that these vehicles are powered by a “monolithic” battery — a big black box that doesn’t allow any flexibility in or control of battery behaviors or capacity.
Today’s EV Technologies Aren’t Competitive Enough
The reason behind the slow adoption of EV by commercial fleets is simple — they are just not yet competitive enough.
When you look at current EVs, the logistics of refueling (i.e., charging) isn’t compatible with existing operational processes and infrastructure, which are designed to handle liquid fuel (i.e., gasoline.)
Many ventures recognize the opportunity in making EV viable and are devising various (and invariably more powerful) charging solutions. However, they’re barking up the wrong tree because they aren’t getting to the root cause of the issue.
Most new battery or charging technologies are of the “more & bigger” kind, which are simply patching up the inflexibility of today’s EV battery design. In effect, these are band-aid solutions that don’t solve the inherent challenges posed by the “monolithic” battery.
For example, Canadian company Koben Systems has created a charging panel that can store power and then “dump” a large amount of charge into a battery when the car is plugged in so it can reach full charge faster.
But here’s why solutions like this are still getting us stuck in the catch 22 posed by today’s EV technology:
An EV’s range is proportional to the size/weight of its battery. If you want to eliminate range anxiety, you need a larger battery. Even with the most efficient battery chemistry, you can’t reduce the battery’s weight to the point where it’ll make a difference in energy-efficiency.
However, putting a big battery in every vehicle is problematic. Because of the “monolithic” nature of today’s battery technology, vehicles that don’t need to have the extended range will be carrying around a lot of deadweights. This will increase their energy consumption (and therefore, cost of operation) without any added benefit.
Not to mention, the bigger a battery pack, the longer it takes to charge. At the end of the day, the vehicle still needs to sit idle at the charging instead of being engaged in revenue-generating activities on the road.
In addition, today’s infrastructure isn’t built to support the volume or power output required for widespread electrification in transportation. We’ll still experience capacity issues, which put us at the mercy of the infrastructure available at individual charging locations — creating a bottleneck that neither EV owners, operators, or manufacturers can predict nor control.
Bigger “monolithic” batteries and faster EV chargers aren’t the answer to making electrification of transportation at commercial scale cost-competitive.
We Do EV Differently: Throw Out the Big Bad Battery
Let’s be smart about it… and stop banging our head on the same wall with a better helmet. We need a different approach and a new system that:
- Provides the power/capacity for the distance that each vehicle needs on each particular trip so we can minimize deadweight to optimize efficiency.
- Creates a refueling solution that doesn’t require the vehicle to sit idle at a charging station for any amount of time longer than it takes to fill it with gasoline.
- Offers a refueling solution that can fit into current operational procedures and infrastructure so the technology can be implemented quickly with minimal upfront costs.
Tanktwo’s patented liquefaction technology is designed with these key points in mind to overcome the biggest hurdle in making electrification commercially viable.
It allows our String Cells to be handled as a liquid fuel (i.e., gasoline) so used ones can be extracted from an EV and new ones put in for the time shorter than pumping gas.
Businesses won’t need to build large charging stations to accommodate a commercial fleet nor do they have to retool their infrastructure to fit new operational processes.
Learn more about Tanktwo’s patented liquefaction technology and how it’s designed to tie together technological advances in data management, wireless communications, internet, optimization algorithms, and more to make electrification viable for commercial fleets.