Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Jul 30

10 Minute Charge for Student-Built Electric Car

Posted in Electric Cars | Energy Inventions | Transportation

Student-Built Electric Car We are familiar with the better qualities of electric vehicles. They use alternative energy and leave less carbon footprints on the climate. But they are still not mass produced. They have many drawbacks and one has to find a remedy for such disadvantages. One of the hurdles in making them vehicles of masses is that they can’t be charged easily. They need lots of time to be charged fully. MIT students are trying to produce an alternative to fossil fuel driven cars. They are trying to build up a car that is clean and green but provides good competition to recent automobiles. They claim that their electric cars can be charged fully within ten minutes. Normally an EV vehicle takes overnight to get fully charged. Radu Gogoana is an undergraduate on the Electric Vehicle Team. He claims “Right now the thing that differentiates us [from car manufacturers] is that we’re exploring rapid recharge.” Each member is investing about 100 hours a week on the project called the eIEVen. The car is expected to be finished around the third quarter of 2010.

They are trying to achieve this feat with the help of a 2010 Mercury Milan hybrid and 7,905 lithium iron-phosphate batteries. Gogoana explains about the use of such batteries, “because they have very low internal resistance and they’ve also been on the market for about three years,”. The team’s press materials assured us that, “electrochemistry [of the batteries] is less volatile than that of other types of lithium-ion cells, which makes these batteries desirable in applications where crash safety is a high priority.”

They have designed a motor that is an oil-cooled, three-phase 187 kW AC induction motor from SatCon. This weighs 138 kilograms including its controller. This was initially intended for 15,000 kg electric buses. So when it was first installed in the 2,000 kg car in Milan it allowed the car to have a pick up from 0 to 60 in just 9 seconds and achieve a top speed of 100 mph at 12,000 RPMs. It should be noted that each ‘ten minute’ charge will give you a mileage of about 200 miles. This car will require a 350 kW of power to attain that ten minute charge time. But the good thing is that the vehicle can also use a regular means which would require an overnight charge. Gogoana opines, “That’s enough power [350 kW ] to blow the fuses on 20 residential homes at once.”

Currently some infrastructure is cropping up in USA for EVs. These initiatives are undertaken by some companies which are building charging stations nationwide. Currently USA can lay claim to 40 ChargePoint stations. The CT1000 ChargePoint can output 1.4 kilowatts, or 120 volts at 12 amps, but this will be useless for rapidly recharging MIT’s car. So if this car is going to be produced on a large scale it must be backed up by necessary infrastructure. Another obstacle that needs to be conquered is the cost of the battery array. Currently you have to pay $ 80,000. The MIT team is anticipating that cost barrier could be surmounted by mass production.

  • Steve Sweetman

    I have devised a method to provide clean a/c power from 12v source without power converter. Solar/wind combination to maintain batteries and provide power to operate a/c generator.Would love to have access to shop lab to make prototype. I think this would complement your fast charge system also.

  • pdq1966

    Can someone please inform me as to how an electric car produces less GHG’s than an ICE? I believe that the majority of the electricity produced in the US is from Coal (~80%) (of course this varies depending upon location). Unless the user has a non grid tied (yes, grid tied energy is owned by the utility) renewable energy installation, then I don’t see how emissions are reduced. It is also well know that transmission losses make electricity generated very inefficient. This is essentially shifting emissions from being direct to indirect for most users unless they purchase wind or solar energy from their utility provider.

    I am a fan of cellulose biofuels and maintaining the internal combustion engine along with electrical generation (hybrid). It is a proven technology. I am not opposed to electric cars, but I believe that more renewable energy needs to be installed prior to it being a viable solution for climate change issues. Although more efficient than ICE’s for moving a vehicle, it still will not surpass GHG emissions of biofuels until it is the energy transmission and portfolio issues are solved.

    Also – how much research has been performed for the LCA of batteries, inverters, electric motors, etc. that go into the car? I would be interested is seeing this. I realize that the operation of the car typically accounts for the majority of the emissions, but I still would like to see how it compares to a typical ICE.

    Great work! I really think that this technology does have some merit for those that have installed solar or wind turbines. For the majority of us this technology will be unsuccessful until the larger energy issues are solved.

  • MonkeyPower

    While it is true that EV cars can be mass produced with ease, the infrastructure must be there to accommodate them. From all the different renewable energy technologies being developed out there, I look forward to the day when they could all be incorporated into one single vehicle. For example, existing hybrids like the Toyota Camry uses kinetic energy to recharge the battery and new polymers that can absorb solar power are being developed so they can be mixed into car paints. If cars continue to recharge themselves, we may never need to plug them in – ever. Although I would still like the option.

  • fireofenergy

    The energy could come not only from vast desert mirrors, but from THORIUM fission in molten salt reactors which are about ~1,000 safer than the pressurized reactors of today

  • russ

    @Steve – Wow! now only a few technical details to work out remain! Like how many days to recharge.

    Of course you can – just like you can fill your gas (petrol) tank using an eye dropper.

  • Steve

    I could see a charging station like a car wash, send the car through and it comes out charge on the other side. This could safely apply the capacity needed to charge the sytem.

  • Boneheaded1

    Monkey, i think you are underestimating the power EV’s use. Covering the car with even the most efficient solar panels and parking them outside on the sunniest day would still take more than a day or two get a full charge. BUT, I still think it’s worth doing and can be done without adding to much cost/weight (if thin film was used, although it’s not the most efficient). What we need is infrastructure for the plug ins. Should be easy. Give companies/malls incentives to build “plug-in only” parking spaces that have a parking meter style charging station, charge for the electricity used in recharging. Everyone benefits.

  • Jan-Henk Welink

    Nice Project!!

    On the other side of the pond were into the same thing, check my mate Tim de Lange his work on

    Best regards,

    Jan-Henk Welink
    TU Delft

  • Pete

    You are still charging this with coal fired plants. If you take the battery and line loss the efficiency is about the same as a gas or diesel motor. You now have to contend with the manufacture and disposal of these batteries which will pollute the environment. What is the rush to electric cars? Al Gore wanted to use Lead Acid batteries, can you imagine what a fiasco that would have been. Just make lighter more efficient cars that run on oil or natural gas. This will solve the problem until technology catches up.

  • Richard Matthews

    Environmental concerns are fueling interest in electric vehicles (EVs). The world’s auto companies are racing to make affordable EVs that go farther on a single charge while decreasing the time it takes to recharge batteries.

  • Steve H

    Hey, I’m an automobile mechanic with 30 years experience, EV’s are coming ,although slowly, but they’re coming. They’re going to change my industry , they’re going to change a lot of things. It’s going to take a lot of upgrading of our “grid” to accommodate the demand of “mass” usage of EV’s. But for now I believe that the people who are pursuing these vehicles understand the draw backs and make concessions around them. I.e. charging the batteries over-night when there is less demand on the “grid” and the power plants have to keep running anyway. It’s good that more people are getting involved and sharing ideas and opinions,that’s going to make the whole thing a lot better when development really gets going. but if the “carbon” footprint is way less than fossil-fueled vehicles it’s worth going forward. We’ve been looking into building a couple EV’s at my job as well. It’s an interesting time to be in right now, wonder how it’s going to be a few years?

  • Paul Dickinson

    I absolutely love the idea of green cars!

  • Phil

    I think the idea of green cars is brilliant. I wonder why nobody is making a more replaceable battery. It’d be much easier to pull into a station and swap an empty battery with a full one. That way stations could be in control of safely charging a battery. I’d love to hear why this idea is not being talked about more.

  • solarwriter

    Electric cars are the ONLY green transport in terms of private vehicles other than a peddle byke. Any vehicle that has a combustion engine IE Hybrid is arresting the development of the technology.

    The issue of energy supply is a mute one. Every supermarket car park needs to be both a large point of popular EV charge up and also have an extensive solar energy system to offset the energy taken from the grid by sending the solar energy back into the grid.

    Solar and EV’s are a perfect match that does not place a heavy burden on the power plants and grid system. Once EV’s go mass production you will see batteries heading toward 1000 miles or more on a single charge.

    At that point petrol cars will be the ones with the filling up burden and the mute point about too many people charging EV’s from the grid is dissolved. Once you have a 1200 mile battery a huge number of people would only have to charge-up six times or less in a year. Most people drive moderate distances. We can do 600 mile batteries now only obstacle is the absence of mass production. Think 1980’s mobile phones versus today’s cell-phones.

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