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GOOD BAD ELECTRIC CAR

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It is enough to own an electric car. That is environmentally friendly thing to do and it is sufficient effort for any individual to be expected to do. You cannot do much more unless you make decision to stop moving at all.

If you drive electric car, this is good. It is so good, that we should all be happy consumers, right? Elbow out of the window and sunglasses on. If you are driving electric car, do not take this personally. It is a good initiative.  I just have not seen any critical comments on the design principles that are adopted to the e-mobile concept.

You may see criticism that the charging possibilities are too few. Or the charging time is too long. Or the battery operational range, which is too short. Hasn’t anyone been interested in the overall concept? I smell the same tendency as with mobile phones and windmills.

Industry delivers what it prefers to and consumer makes the comparison between given options. Old Nokia telephone lasted two weeks without charging. Why did we suddenly accepted to charge our smart phones every day? Is it not the same case with cars? 300 – 1000 km in one charge is un-practical and limits the use of the car. Nobody likes that. And when the limitations are coming with higher price tag, the combination is leading to the market situation where everybody tries to limbo under the costs level.

Of course, you buy what is available. That is the whole point! You do not expect that industry should tailor the solution only for you, according to your needs. That is just not done in automotive market. If someone would say to you that he wants to record your life and transportation history to optimize the automobile solution installed to your car, would you be ready to allow that?

It could mean that suddenly there would be standardized battery parks in your neighbourhood containing transferrable battery elements for cars in the area. Or that there would be a rail appearing to your home street. Maybe you could drive out of suburb by external energy source. First 300 m are always the same?

I joined ABB Marine in 1998 and my first task was to design two ships with diesel-electrical power plant and electrical propulsion. That was 22 years ago. At that time electrical system design had been already existing for a long time and to be honest, such ships are already driven into the scrapping yards, as the lifetime has been filled. Wouldn´t it make sense to take lessons learned from marine industry, who knows how to design a power plant?

In case we adopt the design model from demanding ship projects, the ideas start flowing and concept gets mind-blowing new perspective. Perhaps then in car concept, there would be a possibility to move with external energy. Then ‘the loose running’ is made with a combination of diesel, batteries (maybe 2 or 3) and fuel cell, all parallel to the power plant, from where the wheel propulsion is taking the power.

When not used for traffic, maybe the car could be used as a power source. It may be providing energy back to the network or it is making something, like acting as a power tool at my work. Parking lot full of worker’s cars could run energy peaks of a small factory production line and allow industrial development where ever car is able to go. All components would be very small, allowing operation always in the most optimum combination, without local pollution. Do you see, what I mean?

Stay safe!

Heikki

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Copyright Tiina Kovanen-Bergman

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Heikki Bergman

Heikki Bergman

I am expert on supporting conceptual decisions and pre-design in electrical ship concepts and modernizations. I have worked in power electronics since 1994, completely in marine since 1998. I have long and practical international experience.

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