An Electric Car Breakthrough? Building On A Good Idea

Open Source Innovation has moved – here is the new link to An Electric Car Breakthrough?  Building On A Good Idea.


9 Responses

  1. Bravo someone finally got my drift. If gasoline producers were as dumb as the battery industry there would be no gas stations yet. What is the big deal in making a standard battery pack with quick plug-in features on a slide rail auto-releasable. Not even a technical challange. It seams as though politics is the issue and the governament is the abused milking cow. Let just one politicien put his pants on and stand for the peoples rights. Over one hundred years of abuse by petro is enough. Petro protecters like Bush and MiniBush in Canada can find funds elsewhere for their personal needs. Now who can make this happen? We need to think for the future gereration and their quality of life, health and enviroment.

  2. Jean – there are challenges. The battery for an electric car operates at a higher voltage than a normal car battery so there is safety to consider. You’d have to engineer a universal adapter that is fairly idiot-proof and allows safe handling. Also you’d have to design the car with a readily accessible battery mounting area so that might create compromises in other areas. My point is that electric car designs are just like gas car designs for no reason other than that is the box they’ve locked themselves into. By doing this designers pass up opportunities for innovation in other areas like customer experience and business model.

  3. Hi All,

    This is an idea those of use who have been driving EVs for a while discussed a few years ago. It’s viable down the road, but the biggest problems have to do with getting all OEMs (carmakers) to standardize the battery packs and installation mechanics.

    Also, batteries have a cycle life and a calendar life. Cycle life is how many times they’ve been charged and discharged. For the Lithium Ion batts, this is in the thousands, so it’s not a big deal, but still, the batteries need to be tracked some how as to how many times they’ve been cycled.

    Calendar life is how old they are. No matter how many times they are cycled, they will die eventually from old age. This is typically not a dramatic end of life, but a slow loss of range over time. When someone going down the highway needs a pack that can take them as far as they need, they’ll want a pack that will not exhibit any degredation from cycle or calendar problems.

    From the perspective of one who uses a production EV for his daily driver (RAV4 EV), I can assure you we don’t need to make an EV that will serve the use of all occasions. Most daily driving is less than 50 miles per day. An EV with a range of 150 miles will be adequate for well over 80% of American drivers. If you need to go on a long trip now and then, just trade cars with a friend or neighbor, or rent a plug in hybrid.

    Anyone who needs to go long distances often should own a plug in hybrid. These are like EVs with range extenders. The GM Chevy Volt that is under development is a good example of this. Its battery pack holds enough energy to drive the car about 40 miles. This is more than most people drive in a day. You charge the pack at night on cheap off-peak power, and as long as you don’t drive more than 40 miles in a day, you never use gas. If you do want to drive across the country, your first 40 miles are electric, then the gas engine kicks in to charge the battery, and with a full tank, you can travel 640 miles before stopping for fuel. And if that tank is full of ethanol or bio-diesel, no petroleum at all is used.

    Studies show over 60% of American households have two or more vehicles. For these homes, the fully electric vehicle would be the main car, and the plug-in hybrid the second car. Almost all driving would be electric.

    For more information on this technology, please see and for more info on the fight to get plug in cars in the market, please see


    Paul Scott
    Plug In America

  4. Paul, thanks, I’ve written a number of articles that share most of those sentiments, feel free to browse the site. The big disadvantage to ‘you only need an electric car for short trips’ is that you have to convince people that leasing a minivan for long trips is viable, otherwise they’ll want to own a car that can do both, or want to own two cars. The big disadvantage to plug-in hybrids is that they will be expensive due to dual power infrastructure. If you solve the recharge/refuel problem with electrics you don’t need hybrids. This is one way to solve that problem.

  5. I agree. And I’m holding out hope that the EEStor ultracapacitor is for real, or at least 25% of what they claim it is. That’s the game changer.

    I also agree about PHEVs being complex. Those of us who have been driving these EVs know that the reluctance to pure EVs is only due to lack of knowledge. Once people try an EV, they’ll never go back to gas. Most everyone will realize how much easier it is to just charge the car in your garage than to go to a gas station.

    It’s important to look at the problem as not how many people “won’t” buy and EV because of such and such perceived limitations, but instead look at how many people “will” buy them.

    The problem is clearly the lack of product in the show room. I can gaurantee you that when Tesla begins shipping their WhiteStar, the cat will be permantely out of the bag.

    100% of the production EVs that are built to the specs of the Toyota RAV4 and the GM EV1 will be sold as fast as they can be made available.

  6. I am rather confused by that discussion. The key idea of EVs is to become even more flexible – we don’t need any stations at all! Parking meters, cafe and shopping mall parking lots will do that job. “Charge for free while shopping at Wall-Mart” will become the gold standard of customer satisfaction.

    New nano LiPo’s can be recharged very fast and ultra capacitors – almost instantly. Why bother replacing batteries? Why all that overhead?

    New solar panels promise us 40.7% efficiency (vs. today’s 13-21%) which means most cars with solar batteries on the roof will be energy POSITIVE (produce more energy then they can use).

    And while we are waiting for all that innovation to get to us consumers, small diesel/flex fuel generator in the trunk will do the job giving EVs extra 2,000 km range (check PML Flightlink).

  7. Alex – see one of my recent articles on EESTOR. Fast recharging batteries of the size needed for electric cars require HUGE power supplies. Swapping batteries would save the recharging stations the vast expense of installing multiple high power rechargers.

  8. Brilliant idea! I do think that however my “Dart-71” generator would be far simpler.
    I have built a box 6x9x27 inches @ 65 lbs that keeps my 96 volt battery bank at full power during operation & have put 530 miles on my vehicle in 8.26 hours of continueous driving at both city & freeway rates without having to “plug-in”, thus far without complication. I will be putting a blog about this soon and plan to unveil my invention after I receive patent. I also have an interstate coast-2-coast publicity trip in the works for around April of 2008.

  9. Solid site:D will visit soon=D

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