Battery Swapping? Fire Risks? and Other Burning EV Questions

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From the September 2022 situation of Automobile and Driver.

What occurred to inductive charging and fast battery swaps?

EVs can profit from the kind of inductive charging that retains your cellphone topped off at dwelling, however the rollout of the tech has been sluggish. The aftermarket will finally provide retrofit options for particular purposes. However earlier than OEMs provide inductive charging as a manufacturing unit choice, the tech wants to indicate that it’s future-proof. Shoppers already balk on the value of home-charging gear, so the early adopters are prone to be within the non-public and authorities sectors. A giant logistics firm, equivalent to Amazon, may benefit from having employees park on wi-fi pads as a substitute of counting on them to plug in at evening. Michigan has introduced plans, together with ElectReon, to construct the primary electrified highway, the place a automotive will be capable of replenish its battery inductively because it drives. Tesla made some noise about battery swapping a few decade in the past, however it’s truly occurring in China and Norway. Whereas the method is viable, the logistics and enterprise model stay unsettled. A startup equivalent to VinFast might pave the best way because the model guarantees to promote the automotive and lease the battery.

What are firefighters’ considerations when taming an EV fireplace?

Lithium-ion-battery fires are troublesome to extinguish as a result of because the battery burns, it continues to feed the fireplace. Firefighters we spoke with are very involved about responding to battery fires as a result of they can not deal with them the identical as most. Dry chemical substances and fireplace blankets can assist comprise an EV fireplace, but when firefighters lack these instruments, the technique is an easy one: Look forward to it to burn out and hold it from spreading. As soon as the smoldering pile of steel cools, further precautions should be made as a result of even a slight jostle can restart the flames.

The place does the lithium come from, and the way a lot is definitely in a battery?

Australia is the world’s largest producer of lithium carbonate, the secure salt that’s refined into the extremely reactive lithium steel utilized in batteries. China is second in manufacturing, though South America has the most important reserves. Battery makers will not say how a lot lithium is in a cell as a result of that is thought-about proprietary, however an accepted estimate is about 160 grams of lithium steel per kilowatt-hour. However to get that 160 grams, about 850 grams of lithium carbonate should be mined. So, to supply the 212.7-kWh battery within the Hummer, about 400 kilos of uncooked lithium carbonate should be mined from the earth.

What’s going to condo dwellers do?

If the constructing does not have EV hookups, condo dwellers ought to in all probability follow their fossil-fuel-powered autos. Until the EV is pushed sparingly, operating an extension wire shuttling 120 volts will not recharge the battery sufficient to be sensible. And if a battery is subjected to quite a lot of DC prices, it can endure early-onset degradation. Even when a authorities mandates that new-car purchases should be electrified, landlords aren’t at the moment obligated to supply a charging resolution. House dwellers coping with such a dilemma might need to buy a plug-in hybrid to conform, however with out a place to cost, they’d by no means benefit from the full effectivity good thing about electrification.


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