10 Minute Charge for 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.