Fast Company

The Future of Electric Cars, Summed Up in 10 Minutes

Electric Cars

Treehugger points us to this fantastic video from Peter Sinclair that explains the history, challenges, and potential future of plug-in electric cars--all in 10 minutes. If you're a renewable energy or EV buff, the video won't tell you anything new, but it's a great intro to show anyone who wants to know how EVs and smart grids can successfully work in tandem. Sinclair has an optimistic take on our potential future, explaining at the end of the video that "if we make the right decisions, we could be on the verge of the most prosperous period in human history". Check out the video below.

[Via Treehugger]

Add New Comment

8 Comments

  • Mell Gibson

    Nowadays fuel prices hike nonstop, so what people think? how to save money, I think there is nothing is better idea then electric cars. plug-in electric cars give comfortableness to your pocket and also save environment.

    www.ttcars.net

  • FR

    How come no one ever touches on the issue of cost. From what I see, each time such a venture fails it's because the consumer will always buy the cheapest vehicle in their liking. I will forgo the green vehicle I dream of for a cheaper car, even if it's a gas guzzler. The same way I'll forgo organic and natural foods for their cheaper pesticide sprayed ones, or I'll eat microwave and canned foods because it's cheaper than buying all the ingredients fresh and putting the meal together.
    No one has also touched on the subject of making these vehicles eco friendly, like with recycled parts. Look at all the dump sites we have. No vehicle seems to be recycable (forgive my spelling).
    It's typical of all sellers to never divulge the negative of anything. It's all about how much money they can get out of a person, regardless of the negative.

    When we stop being so greedy for money and trying to get the most for our items, then, maybe we'll start to advance as a society.

    If the green vehicle starts to sell for way cheaper than the cheapest vehicles around, I'll buy one, and maybe everyone else buys one, and then, the other competitors can start to make their better and cheaper to rule the streets. Don't try to sell me a vehicle for $20k+. That's not the majority of the population. There are more financially challenged people in this world than there are millionaires.

  • FM Stutz

    Picking up on Chris Reich's well-put comments... The current grid is barely able to handle its current load, and recent events (winter) have demonstrated how fragile it currently is. And this is more than just a hurdle--how will people in apartments and condos charge their cars? What would it take to retro-engineer our current(/fragile) infrastructure?

    There's also the issue of "choice" of electricity provider: how many people "choose" how their current electricity is supplied--some, yes, those who can afford to implement alternative sources (solar, etc.), but again, how do apartment and condos provide this choice?

    Finally, I'd add that I'm holding out for fuel cell technology--there are sizable issues to resolve, but they are resolvable (eventually). This, unlike Hybrids, is a truly disruptive approach. I understand that electricity is still required to produce the hydrogen, but in that respect and compared to Hybrids, I'd say the combination of fuel and the significantly greater range, and reduced infrastructure retrofitting requirements, this is where we need to putting our resources.

    As a last thought: if we don't fix our infrastructure as a whole, and start investing in mass transit technology (and R&D), this little debate is probably moot...

    At least, that's the view from here, your mileage may vary...

  • Gregory Ferenstein

    Do you think consumers' resistance to certain body styles or horsepower will be a significant barrier to electric car adoption?

    --
    @ferenstein

  • Chris Reich

    All very good indeed but this video ignores the biggest piece of the problem. What is most ironic and frustrating is the solution for energy need and climate change is well within the grasp of our technological ability but the cost of implementation is not.

    Let's say we can sell a gas-driven public and government (let the reader understand) on buying electric cars. At $20-$40k EACH, we'll need a lot of liquidity in the lending markets to finance the purchases.

    But that's only a start. We don't have a smart grid now. We don't have all those intelligent meters "talking" to our homes and potentially our cars. We don't have facilities to charge electric cars or to swap batteries when I'm on my way from San Francisco to San Diego, a trip just beyond the 300 mile range.

    So here's a thought.

    Let's assume the premise is correct. Electric cars will help the electric producing utilities because they can "borrow" stored electrons from my car when I'm not driving it.

    The only part of my $30,000 car that is actually helping the utility company is the battery in my car. So if we build a smart grid and then install intelligent meters at every point of consumption [homes, businesses], why not simply give me a battery or two? I can plug these in to the wall and store power for my utility. When the utility pulls power from my battery, they can spin the meter in reverse and give me credit for the energy I used to charge the battery.

    If we plan this correctly, these batteries could serve as a soft backup in the event of general power failure.

    Sure, this means I'm still using oil to power my 'real' car. But when I am able to afford a new car and as that technology improves, I might want an electric car. But today, right now, why can't I just start with the battery?

    Chris Reich
    www.TeachU.com

  • Nick Cord

    Nice video, thanks for sharing. Electric cars are the way to go as far as I can imagine. First of all it is clean and to generate electricity is easy. In the near future, those type of cars will be much cheaper and more powerful. If the process is going slow, this is highly due to the petroleum giants that do not want to lose their investments and profits.

    Nick Cord