Friday, December 14, 2007

I Hate It When I'm Right

I go round and round with people about electric cars. I tell them that they will arrive in the marketplace this decade. I am scoffed at. I tell the that there is strong consumer demand. I am met with denial. I point out that electric cars are faster, torquier and more efficient than internal combustion engines. I get excuses, hyperbole and outright lies. The last arguments against the electric car were 1) Range has been insufficient to be practical and 2) charge times are too long. Since the Tesla, the average range of an electric vehicle is about 120 miles to the charge (the Tesla gets nearly 300) and charge times to 80% capacity (roughly 100 miles) were at or below fifteen minutes.

Then came Toshiba.

On the 13th of this month, Toshiba announced the virtual birth of the age of electric vehicles. They will begin manufacture immediately of a Lithium battery which charges to 90% capacity in five minutes and has a tested lifespan of ten years. Originally shipping to commercial interests in 2008, the consumer market will likely follow at an accelerated pace. Toshiba for it's part has already announced that high performance variations of this new battery are being developed for the automotive industry.

In the US, even at the fastest pump, it takes ten minutes to fill up a compact car (doubt me? check your watch next time you fill up). Virtually every automobile in the US is designed with a 300 mile range (mileage to tank capacity ratio). Given that the worst electric vehicle will have at least a 100 mile range, topping off your charge in five to fifteen minutes every 100 miles is no hardship. I have to pee virtually every 60 miles so the 100 mile issue isn't much of a stretch. Add to this the fact that electric cars out accelerate, out perform and will outlast internal combustion equivalents and the new Toshiba battery makes this a no-brainer.

Maintenance-free electric drive is almost like car porn to me.