Electric Cars, Cool. But When?

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It is great to imagine a future of efficient, enjoyable transportation that does less harm to our planet. But let’s be real: revolutions don’t come easy.

Today I will deal with some questions about readers This week I was interviewed by my colleague Neil Boudet about electric cars: When will cars have longer battery life and more charging options? And will there be danger from old electric car batteries?

Let me stress first: Most environmental experts say that moving electric vehicles can be combined with generating more energy, especially from renewable sources Make a big change In slowing the effects of global warming.

Where is the infrastructure? Readers, including Stacey Elvert from Stevens Point, Wis, from Venice, Fla., And Tom Rowe, had similar concerns: how an electric car could reach the charging point Not widely accessible And convenient, and when the limits are still too low what do petrol cars get per tank?

Brad plummer, A reporter from the New York Times climate team, explains what is happening to meet the challenges of charging and battery life:

Many new electric models, such as the Chevrolet Bolt and Tesla Model 3, can go well over 200 miles before recharging. This can be quite practical for most daily trips, but not for long trips or for people who There is no place to plug in their cars At home.

So some companies, such as EVigo, are now building Hundreds of high speed, Which can typically add a range of about 100 miles in 20 to 30 minutes. This is slower than refueling at a gas station, but it can make a road trip more remarkable. There is hope Battery advance ahead Can greatly speed up charging time. Automakers are constantly trying to improve the range.

Several Local government And electric utilities are also trying to build a network of public chargers, but this is a huge undertaking and many cities Are behind. This is the chicken-or-egg dilemma: companies are reluctant to invest in chargers unless there is a critical mass of electric vehicles. But some people are wary of buying electric vehicles without a better charging option.

Utilities may also take time Upgrade their grid To handle higher power demand.

In the short term, these challenges probably won’t stop electric cars from becoming more popular. Battery prices fall And more governments push away from traditional vehicles. By 2030, 20 percent of new sales of electric vehicles are expected in the United States, According to Bloombergneff analysts.

But, analysts cautioned, sales could eventually hit a bottleneck without a major build-out of the charging infrastructure. Expect charging to get a lot of attention in the coming years.

What happens when electric car batteries have outlined their usage? It came from Steven Permut in Tucson, Erie.

Lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones and other gadgets can be a threat to the environment and security. ()Fires in recycling centers There is a problem.) Electric cars actually have large lithium ion batteries. This seems like a potential disaster, if and when a large number of electric vehicles are eventually put out for grazing.

but Adam minor, A columnist at Bloomberg Opinion (where we were co-workers) and author of Two books on reuse and recycling, Told me that electric vehicle batteries can have a useful second life.

The old stuff, Minter told me, is “an incredible level of innovation – and you’re starting to see it with electric car batteries.”

he pointed out Ebay listings In which Tesla car batteries are used for hundreds or thousands of dollars. Vehicle batteries with some lifespan are refurbished or commissioned to convert conventional cars to electric in some countries Generator and energy storage, Minter said. And in China, the world’s largest car market, there have been large investments in recycling infrastructure for vehicle batteries. (Although Greenpeace recently said China was not nearly enough.)

Minter still has concerns about the potential environmental damage from manufacturing electric vehicles and their batteries. But, he said, “I believe there are good uses for spent batteries”.

()Listen to this episode of “The Daily” to reduce US emissions.)

Neil also told me about some young companies who think they are promising approaches to future vehicles – though they are far from guaranteed to succeed. Here is one of Neil’s three:

Rivian is a really interesting Seeing the company it plans to build its own software-powered electric cars like Tesla – it bought an auto plant in Illinois that closed. But Rivian is more practical and will follow a lot of car manufacturing steps established by Tesla Ignored and then repented by doing this.

Another company, Lucid, thinks it has found a way to squeeze out every last bit of energy emitted from the battery, and plans to drop a car that it says will run 500 miles at once . Lucid’s cars will probably be very expensive – $ 100,000 or more – but this is an interesting concept.

There is another company called Advent which is working Electric delivery vans and buses With a unique approach: Its vehicles will use huge plastic panels instead of sheet metal. Robots and workers will effectively assemble one vehicle at a time with simplified processes and parts.

Advent is also talking about manufacturing vehicles in “micro-factories” that are close to end-vehicle buyers. I don’t know if it will work, but it is an absolutely radical way of looking at things. This is not just another vehicle that does not use gasoline.

  • A tax law that is in more ways: Maryland is on the verge of approving the first-in-the-nation tax on my colleague David Knightbay, a digital ad by Google and Facebook Reported, And a legal battle over how far American communities can be taken in an effort to tax Big Tech is likely to begin.

  • A place for effective conversation, and awesome: Bloomberg news wrote Regarding Black medical professionals who found that the audio chat room app was an effective place to listen and misinformation about the clubhouse coronovirus, but the efforts also exposed them to harassment or bullying.

  • An unwanted plug for your local library: Public librarians and readers (including me) prefer the Libby app to borrow and read e-books. But protocol Reported Because e-books are regulated differently than physical books, they are costing libraries a fortune.

Big Bird introduces us Some of his cousins ​​worldwide, Including Flobie Abelardo from Mexico and little Garibaldo from Brazil. (Don’t worry. Bird Bird says he’s good.)

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