Ask anyone who knows anything about electric vehicles, EV and the answer will be around mileage. How much is enough? It depends.
The gist is those who are somewhat educated about EVs understand the current limitations of battery technology and production. Those who don’t have exuberant expectations ranging from 400 to 600 miles, something most conventional gas cars cannot do. While the more realistic expectations are around 300 miles, the race is on for all car makers involved to break the barrier. So, who’s the closest?
Tesla Motors. Tesla Motors has a lot riding on its upcoming Model S. The company is not yet financially viable, nothing earth shattering considering its early age but is well placed to become the global EV leader… if they avoid the typical car maker mistakes. Its Model S, especially its higher end version boasts a 300 mile range. Considering current technology, this seems unlikely, but the company are working on new alchemy and technology.
Technically Speaking. EV have to work with a confronting problem. Unlike an internal combustion engine, ICE system where you can slap on a relatively larger tank to go further with little penalty, a battery operated drivetrain has to contend with exponential weight. Indeed, most EVs are tweaked to achieve a certain range with as little weight as possible. The more weight you add on with batteries, the less the range, thus the conundrum.
Using its strategic partnerships with Daimler and now Toyota, the company delivers battery packs to both, as well as chargers. Indeed, Daimler increased its orders for the Smart fortwo EV. This means added cash flow for the EV maker. The company’s financial results are optimistic and show increase over the following year. But what of its proprietary battery technology?
While the company is whithholding its trade secrets, it does give us hints, mainly that it is tweaking it current technology and is expecting to see 300kW with 400 Newton meters delivered by the electric motor, roughly 402hp and 295 ft-lb of torque through the judicial use of keeping the battery pack operating at top temperature efficiency. As far as we can see, the batteries will be the same as the ones used in the current Roadster, contrary to previous rumors of it developing a specific chemistry. Where the company innovates and breaks weight barriers is that the 300 mile version will carry no less than 7,000 cells. It also promises a quick charge feature to be used sparingly, as it lowers the overall life span of the battery pack to replenish 80% within 45 minutes.
In the meantime, Tesla Motors is still beating the drum of EV technology with its second win of the Fifth Monte Carlo Alternative Energy Rally. Not bad till we wait for the Model S, 4,600 people have already reserved…