For all car buyers, regardless conventional car or electric car (EV), convenience is a prerequisite. For EVs the charging of the battery is an important part of the convenience.
Even though for most the daily use of an EV there is enough electric energy stored in the battery, range has always been an issue. One solution is a series hybrid vehicle (plug-in electric vehicle, PEV) with a small reciprocating engine as an onboard battery charger. For pure EVs (battery only) the solution for range has been to equip the car with a large battery. Tesla has been a leader in this respect. Model S base model has a 60-kWh battery providing 200 miles’ range. There is also a 90 kWh option providing 300 miles. Nevertheless, for long distance driving that range may not be enough. More energy than what can be stored in the battery is needed. Tesla early recognized the importance of developing a proprietary network of fast chargers, called super chargers. Access to their super charger network, which until last year was free, has been a selling point. The power of the super charger has been increased to 145 kW. It can charge a 90-kWh battery to 50 % of its capacity in 20 minutes.
Four German automakers, BMW, Mercedes, VW and Audi, in 2016 announced the roll-out of “ultra fast” chargers for EVs in Europe. These chargers will deliver 300 kW of power. At a first glance that high amount of power may give the impression it will provide a very fast charge. However, it is not a given, since lithium ion batteries have limitations how fast they can be charged. In fact, fast charging is more about lithium ion chemistries than the power of the charger.
In 2015 Tesla sold 25 202 Model S in the USA and an additional 25 164 in the rest of the world. It made Model S the bestselling electric car worldwide and also the number one luxury car in the US. Elon Musk and Tesla have not only put electric cars on the map. They have made it a superior driving experience and a statement for customers to make. Very impressive accomplishments!
Nevertheless, as Sonny Wu, a venture capitalist, says: “The guy who’s making the $100 000 (electric) car is not changing the world. The guy who is making the $10 000 electric vehicle is changing the world.” So, is the world changing?
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