Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.

Jim Hilton pens a column on forestry each week for the Quesnel Observer.

FOREST INK: New batteries close to industrial level applications

The good news is the hope that this cost should come down each year

Before electric vehicles will make it into the industrial level of the forest industry they will need a lot more range and lifespan than the existing electric car batteries.

There is some encouraging news coming from a Canadian source. Dalhousie University has teamed up with Elon Musk and is claiming lab trials of a new battery with a range over 800 kilometres and above a million kilometres of lifespan. The race is on by all vehicle manufacturers to develop more robust batteries. Some of the most important features being worked on are the following: 1.) Eliminating the rare, expensive and controversial element cobalt from batteries is among the biggest aims. 2.) New battery technology must allow vehicles to go at least 800 kms between charges and lasting as long as 1 million miles. That could spur EV sales the same way the first 100,000-mile warranties on gas cars once did. 3.) Quick charging is also important, less than half an hour after reaching the 800- to 900-hundred-kilometre range. 4.) The price per kilowatt hour must be less than $100 to make the EV competitive with the gas vehicles.

The good news is the hope that this cost should come down each year which should make the newer electric cars even more competitive in the future. If customers are willing to live with a similar styled vehicle for a cheaper price this would be an improvement over the gas vehicles which seemed to be more complicated and pricey each year in an attempt to be more fuel efficient and less polluting.

READ MORE: Important factors for making branch wood chips

Not a problem with electric vehicles. You can go for a battery that’s bigger that will take you farther (between charges) or you can get a battery that’s optimized for a longer lifetime cycle.

If you want to go fast and have lots of money look at Lucid Motors which has a 1080 horsepower all-wheel-drive vehicle which has quarter-mile times under nine seconds based on 10 years and more than 32 million kilometres of real-world testing involved in the development of the battery.

Lucid also says it’ll be the fastest charging EV anywhere, offering up to 32 kilometres per minute on a DC fast charger that can support those speeds. That means 500 kilometres of range in a 20-minute charge. Extended range versions of the sedan will offer up to an estimated 837 kilometres thanks to a 113-kilowatt-hours battery pack.

Ford is trying to play catch up with this all-new electric utility will break new ground in 2020, with expected range of at least 480 kilometres on a single charge while maximizing capability. It’s the first of many new Ford offerings that will change the way you think about electric vehicles.

Now CEO Elon Musk says that they built Model 3 to last as long as a commercial truck, a million miles, and the battery modules should last between 300,000 miles and 500,000 miles.

This situation may change with the proposed introduction of “robo taxis,” long-haul electric trucks, and vehicle-to-grid applications along with electric buses.

One problem that needs work is the replacement of batteries on electric vehicles that have been on the road for five or more years and are in need of a battery replacement. It seems that the vehicles apart from the old technology batteries are still in good shape but manufacturers are not making it very easy to upgrade but would rather sell you a new car since the battery replacement is near relatively expensive. Hopefully some independent business will specialize in retrofitting old electric vehicles with modern more efficient batteries.

Jim Hilton is a professional agrologist and forester who has lived and worked in the Cariboo Chilcotin for the past 40 years. Now retired, Hilton still volunteers his skills with local community forests organizations.


 


editor@wltribune.com

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