What van / engine are you driving that gets 24 mpg ?
There is a hybrid option that might work for you: supposedly GM still makes the Tahoe and Escalade hybrid SUV's. My 2009 Chrysler Aspen was supposedly part of a joint venture with the Chevrolet Tahoe, Cadillac Escalade, and BMW X6. My Aspen has a 5.7 liter Hemi V8. I think the GM's have the 6.0 liter V8.
The problem is that these are more LUV than SUV = luxury utility vehicles, not really intended to be a truck or cargo van.
And as mentioned in other posts = Hybrids tend to be purchased by early adopters, as the hard calculations of ROI usually don't justify the premium price. Part of the premium price of early Prius' was the Nav / DVD / Sound system. My wife's 2010 Prius doesn't have 'all the toys'. which reduced the price to a palatable level.
45 years ago the Mallory Battery Company of Canada produced a highly specialized D size cell, the energy density of which at that time (1967) matched the lithium systems of today. It was a difficult cell to manufacture and was shelved because an alternative system provided a compromise solution for the application for which it was targeted.
An extrapolation of the technology today combining advances in chemistry; greater manufacturing sophistication and other advances made over the intervening years suggests that EV battery packs matching what exists today would be lighter, take up less volume and be about 53% less expensive.
I have a hunch that someone must be doing research on this idea, deux chevaux. As you point out, there are many technical issues to consider, but there are definite advantages to the idea. The biggest of those is the interior space challenge. Batteries that weigh 450-900 pounds inevitably take up too much cabin space because of the high floor. I've gotta think someone's looking into this, although I would imagine it would probably be a very long time before we would see it in concept form.
Hi Charles, I am not aware of anybody doing research on body panels as batteries. I was intrigued about the emerging battery powered cars over a decade ago and as a design engineer and want-to-be 'futurist' I tried to predict how the technology would evolve and design with it. From memory, I first predicted that batteries would become part of a chassis structure where their weight doubles as poor quality structure for efficiency and low centre of gravity. I have now seen this in picture 16. Next other non cosmetic areas like bulkheads would be utilised as batteries. Eventually as battery technology develops they could cosmetically be overmoulded into complicated body shapes. If battery life stays at about seven years then these modular panels can be replaced to a later design of body or battery. If the battery/chassis design remains then you could change your pick-up to a five seater for a growing family. These panels do not need to be batteries, more recent thinking from a few years ago would possibly have them as super capacitors with seperate smart electronic modules to discharge them in a useful way. The panels would be more easily suited to layer lay-ups in a capicator type construction. I consider capicitor technology as not being far away, today, from this application. Batteries or capicitors could possibly be self charging with an invisible solar panel coating. Obviously battery technology needs to progress in the correct path for this application. In an accident we cannot have battery acid that will dissolve occupants or an impacted pedestrian, or heavy metals that will long term poison them. We also cannot have people being shocked or electrocuted. The panels need to be light and structural too. The panels will likely be thicker so lightness is important whereas strength will be easier due to thickness. My wife worked in carbon fibre lay-ups for aircraft. This is a strong method of construction like plywood and is analogous to capacitor lay-ups. Carbon fibre is a potential conductor for the devices and could be possibly grown into a latice shape (in a body panel shape) using nano technology. This would give strength and excellent surface area to a liquid or gel electrolyte. This is a long blog so I will leave it here. Thanks Charles for your interest.
deux chevaux Appreciated your humor and mention of the fasinating Citroen 2CV chassis and lightweight body concept designed. Good NEW design is refreshing and should be rewarded as it was a short time ago when Tesla's JB Straubel received the Engineer of The Year Award.
The following is from the TESLA site bio on JB; thought you guys would like to read it.
"As Chief Technical Officer The story of JB's career started at a junkyard in Wisconsin, where, at the age of 14, he discovered a discarded electric golf cart and decided to rebuild it. Thus began a lifelong fascination with energy work and electric vehicles.
As a co-founder of Tesla, JB has overseen the technical and engineering design of the vehicles, focusing on the battery, motor, power electronics, and high-level software sub-systems. Additionally, he evaluates new technology, manages vehicle systems testing, and handles technical interface with key vendors.
Prior to Tesla, JB was the CTO and co-founder of the aerospace firm, Volacom, which designed a specialized high-altitude electric aircraft platform using a novel power plant. At Volacom, JB invented and patented a new long-endurance hybrid electric propulsion concept that was later licensed to Boeing. Before Volacom, JB worked at Rosen Motors as a propulsion engineer developing a new hybrid electric vehicle drivetrain based on a micro turbine and a high-speed flywheel. JB was also part of the early team at Pentadyne, where he designed and built a first-generation 150kW power inverter, motor-generatorcontrols, and magnetic bearing systems.
Armed with a bachelor's in energy systems engineering and an master's in energy engineering from Stanford University, JB left the cold winters of Wisconsin for good. He now lives in Menlo Park, Calif., where he continues to indulge his passion for electric transportation: he built an electric Porsche 944 that held a world EV racing record, a custom electric bicycle, and a pioneering hybrid trailer system. JB is also an accomplished pilot.
At last, a company is showing some sense with incorporating their batteries. TESLA seems to be using the batteries to replace the floor structure so it is the battery weight minus the floor weight (picture 16). This location makes sense since it gives a low centre of gravity, it is in an area that is acceptable to be flat and simple, and is air cooled from below with the option of cooling through the structure. (see citroen 2CV chassis and lightweight body concept designed before WW2 and produced in 1948) It can also provides underfloor heating for the cooler countries. Now all the car needs is a light aluminium or composite body strong enough to resist a roll etc. Next step is the bulkheads to be made into batteries. Eventually body panels would be the batteries. Replace your old batteries and upgrade the car design, colour and possibly battery design at the same time. I thought this was common sense over a decade ago so it is good to see it beginning to become reality. May the technology evolve. Exciting - isn't it?
WOW! So, y'all mean that when the CHEVY VOLT grows to the physical size of a 1959 CADILLAC SEDAN de VILLE BROUGHAM, we'll have enuf energy storage that we'll be able to go to the local grocery store & back w/ the A/C & radio turned on, on a single charge? I can't wait!!!!! In the mean time, I'll stick w/ my trusty, ALWAYS reliable, TOYOTA, which consistently gets 35 mpg, and I can park in my garage!!!!
o 52 mph - 2003 Prius with +90k miles (total approaching 150k)
o 52 mph - 2010 Prius with +26k miles
The trick is to maximize EV or coast in free-wheel operation until the engine reaches an efficient, thermodynamic temperature range. Then drive the Prius as you would any other car.
Traction batteries have their use but it is best applied to provide power until the engine reaches peak, thermodynamic efficiency . . . and then give the engine a break when it can't be efficient. Meet me at the gas pump if you have a different point of view. <grins>
I'd like to save money. I get 24 MPG in my vans and run them to around 240,000 miles. I would have to have them for longer trips even if I owned an EV. The way I look at it, the $40,000 for an EV would buy a lot of gas. Factor in the extra insurance and plates and you could have bought even more gas. A hybrid would be better if it had the needed cargo room. I could get by with one vehicle. Sadly, 240,000 miles comes out to a lot of batteries. Even recharging it for free, It would be hard to come out money ahead. This is not to say that there won't be some fantistic discovery in the world of batteries down the road. Look how far LEDs have come from indicator lights to lighting warehouses. Or maybe it will be a super capacitor or solar panels to power the electrolisis that will harvest hydrogen from water so we will have hydrogen for fuel cells.
We don't understand our taxing situations in Indiana either. Where did wheel tax come from? As if the plates didn't cost enough already. And if you put up a tent for an event in Elkhart, you pay tent tax. From my lips to God's ears.
I'm not down on EVs, I've built two but not for long trips. Regards, Pete O.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.