The World Hangs on a Charging Cable
It’s astonishing how a technology with so many serious drawbacks has now been chosen to save the world. But China is the biggest car market, and sets the standards and quotas; the EU, too, with its stricter CO2 limits, is also moving in this direction. And so, electric cars are to be principally battery powered in future. This is despite the limited resources of key metals (or unreliable access to them), environmental pollution due to the production and disposal of the batteries, long charging times and low range of the vehicles, as well as questionable experience with the lifetime and safety of lithium-ion batteries – not to mention the high battery weight.
On the question of weight, of the 3.44 million cars that the Federal Motor Transport Authority records were newly registered in Germany in 2018, SUVs, at 20.8 %, showed the strongest growth. The roadgoing cross-country limousines – just joking – now hold a good 18 % of the overall market – closely behind the compact class at 22 %. Even as gas-powered cars, these high-seaters are no lightweights. So with an electric drive, they can be expected to weigh in at least two and a half tons unladen. With a battery weight of 600 kg and more, can anyone still talk of lightweight construction with a straight face? Just remember, this was one of the great hopes for meeting emission targets!
The combination of elegance and performance that was often admired in premium cars could now be a reason to cast doubt on the intelligence of the human species – unless there is a breakthrough in battery technology pronto. Nevertheless, there is still hope – from another quarter: rumor has it that significant obstacles to the market ramp-up of long-range fuel-cell vehicles are currently being eliminated, e. g. through more cost-effective catalysts or the development of a lightweight hydrogen pressure tank of CFRP. We wish it every success!
Dr. Clemens Doriat
clemens.doriat <AT> hanser.de
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