Future Ecology Designed

Sustainable design theory manifested in products, infrastructure, and graphic representation. A utopian glimpse of a future New Zealand where environmental considerations are of tantamount importance, and society is designed to accommodate the native ecosystem.

Another look at Lithium-ion

There are already products on the market which prove the viability of this energy source. While the initial prices are high enough to effectively rule these out to the wider population (US$9500-12000 over the base Prius), with further investment and R&D the cost should fall. It is worthwhile instead to view these products as working 'proof of concepts'. The two major contenders are Hymotion and EDrive. What these systems do is add a Li-ion energy source which allows the vehicle to be plugged in, enabling the vehicle to run purely on electricity within a commuting envelope, with the IC engine as capacity back-up after battery range is up.

The exciting fact is that, with the EDrive system, at speeds of under 55kph a range of about 56km is possible. The Hymotion Li-ion polymer pack, which simply fits into the boot and is only 10cm high, allows 50km of driving at under 55kph. A good article with a comparison chart is available on Green Car Congress. Li-ion polymer batteries are up to 20% as powerful as equivalent weight Li-ion batteries. They involve adding gelled polymer electrolytes in the Lithium metallic Oxide cathode, enhancing conductivity.

It is worth noting that these specifications are for a 5 seat vehicle, with an IC engine, built in a conventional contemporary manner. As the Hymotion pack only weighs 72.5kg, the unit could easily be fitted solo into a small dedicated commuter vehicle. The cost would be significantly higher than conventional scooters, even after foreseen falls, so the vehicle would need to have a perception of quality and benefit in line with excellent small cars like the Fiat Panda or Honda Jazz- note that running costs would be far lower due to a more effcient conversion of the energy source and less mechanical complexity. Range and top speed could be increased significantly over a plug-in Prius, as weight and drag would be drastically reduced.

Li-ion batteries contain metals which can all be either recycled, or have safe disposal systems already in place. 12-15% will be Nickel, although safe production practices have been established in Japan and the USA, and it is worth recycling from used batteries. Cobalt (12-20%) is also economic to recycle, and Manganese (10-15%) and Iron (4.7-25%) are safe to dispose of. Overall, Li-ion batteries have less environmental impact than the materials required in fuel cells.

1 Responses to “Another look at Lithium-ion”

  1. # Anonymous gas motor scooter

    gas motor scooter  

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